Universal said to be prepping music service

Universal said to be prepping music service

Label may be planning iTunes rival

Universal Music may be preparing a rival to iTunes after its public falling out with Apple.

A report in Business Week suggests that Universal is seeking to start a subscription service, and has received a commitment from Sony BMG to partner on the initiative.

Universal Music did not return a request for comment, and Sony BMG declined to comment.

Relations between Apple and Universal have been on the rocks since July over a long-term deal to sell Universal's music on the iTunes store.

Jean-Bernard Levy, chief executive of Vivendi, which owns Universal Music, said in September that Apple's revenue sharing terms were "indecent". Apple reportedly pays record labels 71 cents of each 99 cent iTunes purchase.

If Universal does launch a competing service, it would be the second time in recent months that Apple has lost a major content provider for iTunes.

TV network NBC ended its contract with iTunes in August after failing to reach a deal on pricing and moved to Amazon's Unbox service. NBC was responsible for nearly a third of all iTunes television purchases.