In an interesting turn of events, Apple is reportedly considering opening up and launching their own streaming music service to compete with the likes of similar services like Spotify and the newly released Beats music. In addition to this they are apparently considering launching an Android app for the streaming service to go along with the launch of the service itself, all in an effort to attack the declining sales of US iTunes music downloads according to sources that are close to the matter. People still use iTunes? All jokes aside, it has been difficult for apple to compete with services that offer streaming music at a low price, as the music libraries are competitively similar in size, and listening is unlimited, all for a small monthly fee. Downloading the same number of songs through iTunes that you would have at your disposal with a service like Spotify would take massive amounts of money, even with most songs on iTunes being available as singles with most as low as $0.99 a hit.
It’s interesting to hear these possibilities as Apple and iTunes have always been known to be a partnered exclusive company and service. While Google’s popular Google Play Music is available on multiple platforms including Mac, Windows, Android and iOS, Apple’s iTunes is only accessible to those who use iOS devices or Mac computers. They have effectively closed themselves off from other possibilities for quite some time, and it used to work for them when they were the dominating force in digital music. With the iPod reaching its end of life though, and a myriad of subscription based music services available on virtually any platform you can think of, Apple will have to find a way to take the once reigning king of music services and transform it if they want to compete.
It’s not that music sales in the industry are down as a whole, but more specifically album and single song sales through iTunes that are taking the hits. Apple’s recorded US sales for digital tracks and albums are down 11 and 13 percent respectively, with tracks being down in sales from last year and album sales declining the week that ended March 9th. All the while, services like Spotify, Play Music All Access, and the newcomer Beats music streaming service have all grown and have been gaining subscribers. It looks like the time may come where Apple in some form may end up having to play with Google and Android on the play ground in a way they never thought they would. Apple’s decisions on whether they will begin to create and implement such a streaming music service that offers unlimited listening from a vast library of music is all in the early stages of discussion still, but would it really come as a shock to anyone if they decided to go through with it? Apple already has a streaming music service in a sense called iTunes Radio, but it’s more in line with Pandora and is also limited Mac and iOS, with limited control for the user on what types of music they want to hear.
If Apple ended up offering a streaming music service that would compete with Spotify and offered up the service to Android users, would it be something that you would consider? Or are you happy with the service choices that you already have available?