Apple is reportedly eyeing the online music service Lala for acquisition, according to sources close to the situation. Lala lets users listen to any song on the site once free, after which customers can buy the track for $0.10. The catch is that users can only listen to the purchased songs on the Web. Tracks are stored in the "cloud" rather than being downloaded to the user's computer.

Lala offers access to some 8 million songs, including content from EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. This compares to the 11 million songs available through Apple's iTunes service, which operates in 23 countries and is claimed to be the world's largest music retailer.

Details are scant, but sources suspect that Apple may be moving toward the introduction of a subscription model. "The Lala is somewhere between the two, of permanent ownership" and a subscription model note Larry Kenswil, a former Universal Music Group exec.