Apple Computer Inc and major record labels are expected to launch an online music subscription service within several weeks, entertainment industry sources said.
The service would allow Apple users to buy and download digital music for their Macintosh computers or iPod portable music players, the sources said on condition of anonymity. Apple spokeswoman Lynn Fox would not confirm whether the company was preparing to launch a music service, which was first reported Tuesday in the Los Angeles Times.
Fox characterized the story as "speculation." More than a dozen recording industry executives have seen a demonstration of the service by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, the newspaper said. The service will use a high-fidelity format called Advanced Audio Codec, which delivers higher quality sound than the MP3 format and prevents copying between computers. Phil Leigh, a digital music analyst at research firm Raymond James, said a subscription service was a logical step for Apple, given the popularity of its iPod portable players.