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Apple Looking to Break Chains Binding iTunes Users to Single Downloads

Further indications Apple wants to use its $1 billion data center to stream media to its family of mobile devices, such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod. The Cupertino, Calif. company reportedly is pressing music publishers to allow repeated downloads of music purchased through the iTunes store.
The move would alter current iTunes policy, allowing consumers to re-download music despite the originals no longer stored on connected devices. An agreement could be reached as soon as the middle of this year as Apple preps its North Carolina data farm this spring by iTunes and MobileMe.

The tech giant reportedly is in discussions with several music publishers, including Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Group. In the past, Apple has used the buying power of iTunes as a cudgel, causing music labels to drop objections to DRM-free downloads in exchange for prices higher than the standard $0.99. Apple also has inked a deal expanding iTunes music previews to 90 seconds, tripling the previous 30-second limit.
This time, according to Bloomberg, Apple may be “a step closer to universal access to content centrally stored on the Internet,” talk supporting rumors that the firm wants to turn MobileMe into an online “locker” and let iTunes owners stream music to their devices.