Apple has acquired online music streaming company Lala - a move which gives weight to suggestions that iTunes could soon launch a streaming service to fend of rival Spotify.
Lala says on its website that users in the US have access to over 8 million tracks for free, with music from major labels and indie labels, all legally licensed.
For unlimited access to a track, music fans must pay $0.10 for a version that can be played online repeatedly or $0.79 or more for a copy that can be downloaded.
Apple officials refused to provide details on cost of the deal, and wouldn't reveal how Lala's technology could be integrated into its own products. "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not comment on our purpose or plans," said an Apple spokeswoman.
Streaming music services have become increasingly popular. Both Facebook and Google struck deals with Lala in recent weeks to let users stream songs.