Apple Inc. is reportedly negotiating with record labels over a deal that would offer free access to unlimited music for iPod and iPhoners, according to The Financial Times (via CNN, actually -- thanks to Natasha Kaminsky for the heads up.).
What the CNN article says is:
Apple Inc. is negotiating with record labels over a deal to give iPhone and iPod customers free access to the entire iTunes music library if they pay extra for the devices.
To me, if you pay a fee, it does not equal "free." But whatever. CNN is reporting that The Financial Times is reporting that "unnamed music industry sources" are reporting that no one's sure what Apple would pay the labels for unlimited access to their massive vaults. Any deal would, naturally, hinge on that figure.
No one's reporting which record labels. (Personally, I would be thrilled with negotiations between Apple and Northside Records, North America's premier source for Scandinavian music.)
As well, there's no indication of the fee might get passed along to consumers. I'm also not certain what this means for people who already own iPods and iPhones. Thankfully, no one's iPod will last long enough for it to matter.
An update from my previous iPod-related news: my iPod's battery now works for five seconds.