BBC Worldwide has confirmed reports that it is looking to set up a streaming and download music service using its extensive collection of studio and live recordings.
The proposed site would allow visitors free streaming of radio and TV sessions, while charging for downloaded tracks that could be kept on users' PC and mobile devices.
The service would distribute only BBC versions of tracks and not original studio recordings.
Despite this, considering the extent of the BBC pop and classical musical archive, and Nokia's recently launched mobile music service in partnership with Carphone Warehouse, Apple can expect even more competition to its iTunes service.
A BBC spokesman confirmed the planned service to industry mouthpiece MusicWeek.com. He said, "We are looking at setting up in the direct-to-consumer arena a website which utilises the BBC music archive, but at this point no such launch has been approved."
BBC commercial arm BBC Worldwide, however, is said to have already struck a deal with EMI to use recordings of its artists on the site, and is in talks with the other major record labels about doing do.
If the site does get off the ground, it is expected that free streaming of tracks will be supported by advertising.