Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is planning a major overhaul of iTunes for its next release, including the inclusion of a new song-sharing feature designed to make it easier to discover music—and fight back against its more social competitors.
The reports suggests that Apple is currently in talks with major labels to extend their rights agreements, so that users can listen to songs shared by friends for free. Currently the only way to share music is via the company's doomed Ping—which is being axed—but that only provides 90-second snippets. If things go to plan, the new concept will allow people to listen to the whole thing.
Elswhere, the report suggests that Apple is planning to replace its half-assed, Twitter-inspired social system, Ping, with deep Twitter and Facebook integration instead. That makes sense given Apple's decision to integrate Twitter and Facebook firmly within iOS, and would be a damn sight better than their current attempt at social music.
Finally, Bloomberg also suggests that iTunes will include deeper iCloud integration. It's not obvious what that might mean, but previous rumors have suggested that it could be a cloud-based control pannel, from which it's possible to manage devices.
Bloomberg suggest that the new version of iTunes should launch by the year's end. Regardless of what materializes in the release, it sounds like Apple is hoping to target the likes of Spotify more directly than in the past. [Bloomberg via Verge]