Evidently, Amazon thinks it’s up to the job. Published reports indicate the online retailer is talking with the four major labels about its plans for a subscription digital music service that might debut as early as this summer.

How can Amazon succeed when other services have barely made a dent in iTunes’ dominance of the fledgling download market?

Brand name, for one. For many online shoppers, Amazon represents their first cyberspace shopping experience. Of all the online stores, Amazon is probably the most trusted name in the biz, and that trust could very well translate into an online store capable of chipping away at the iTunes mountain.

However, as the last few years have shown, selling songs online isn’t what drives iTunes sales. Instead, it’s the iPod that brings music lovers back for more. In order for Amazon to compete, the company will need a player to go with its service. Something less expensive than an iPod, yet carrying enough features to seriously compete.

Amazon will introduce an Amazon-branded, discounted player to compete with Apple’s iPod when it rolls out its new service, according to Reuters. Furthermore, Amazon is expected to take a page from the cell phone play book by using its subscription service to subsidize the player’s cost, much like phone companies sell, or give away, low-cost phones that are funded in part by long-term subscription plans.