As rumored, Apple has created a store for downloadable music, which ties in with a new version of iTunes.
They apparently have a library of 200,000 tracks from the five big labels. So far so good. They’re charging $0.99 per track. Not good. In terms of an hour’s-worth of music, this works out to be about as much as buying the CD, perhaps more–except you don’t get the CD, booklet or full-quality audio for that matter, but do get restrictions on how you can use your downloads (although the restrictions are admittedly pretty liberal, and easy enough to circumvent).
This does seem like an improvement over some of the existing for-fee music-download services, and the integration with iTunes looks pretty slick, but the pricing is outlandish ($0.25 per track would be my limit), and the pay-per-track pricing model is a bad idea. A monthly-fee all-you-can-eat model is one that I could get behind.