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Apple overhaul of iTunes to focus on iCloud, music sharing?

Major retune of Apple's music store expected to be unveiled by the end of the year, sources tell Bloomberg.

Apple is planning one of the biggest overhauls of its iTunes music store since its launch nearly a decade ago, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

The revamp will increase integration with the company's iCloud storage service, allowing for greater access to stored content such as music, videos, and apps on mobile devices, these sources said. Apple is also planning to launch new features for music sharing with the new store, which is expected to be unveiled before the end of the year.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

Social sharing appears to be a major goal of the iTunes Store overhaul. Earlier this month, after years of being at odds, Apple announced it would more closely tie Facebook into iOS 6, the company's mobile operating system. Apple has also reportedly been in negotiations with major record labels to establish a system in which users could share songs with friends, while the labels have been pushing for a music subscription service similar to Spotify.

Apple has tried its hand at social music networking before with Ping, with mixed results. The feature lets users post music tracks and albums to a feed to which other users can subscribe, viewing them from within iTunes on the desktop and on iOS devices. But the music-centric social network within iTunes 10 is widely considered one of Apple's recent missteps and is expected to get the ax in the next version of iOS.

iTunes is also key to Apple's expansion plans in Asia, where the company extended access to 12 new countries on Tuesday. The company also quietly released a standalone app that breaks out the podcast listening and downloading feature from the iOS version of iTunes into its own app.

Since Apple launched the iTunes Store with 200,000 music tracks in 2003, the store has expanded to include video content and audio books, as well as off-shoots like the iBookstore, and App Store, which use the same architecture. The store, which offers more than 28 million songs, 45,000 movies, and 650,000 apps, has been a contributing factor in Apple's success, generating nearly $1.9 billion in revenue last quarter -- a 30 percent increase over the previous year-ago period.