Apple Could Offer Permanent Backup For iTunes Downloads

Apple is reportedly in talks with US music industry heavyweights to allow iTunes users to back-up their digital music downloads.

People familiar with the talks said that Apple is expected to announce the feature in the middle of this year, according to Bloomberg.

The iPhone maker is courting Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment to introduce a new cloud based locker-like feature that would allow iTunes users to store and access their digital music downloads on iPad, iPhone and iPod devices linked to the same iTunes account.

The move is critical for Apple and the music industry as it would allow them to maintain the demand for digital music downloads as streaming services like Pandora and Spotify are becoming more popular.

Apple, which controls 69 per cent of the US digital music downloads market, has emerged as a ray of sunshine for record companies which are struggling amidst slow music CD sales. A Nielson report had earlier revealed that digital music sales had grown by 1 per cent while CD sales had declined by 12 per cent in 2010.

Bloomberg sources said that an announcement could be made by the middle of this year but it could also be delayed. Apple usually makes iTunes and iPod related announcements around September time.