Apple may finally have to put down the velvet rope and let other users such as Android into the iTune party if they want to keep up digital album sales. The latest sales tracking reports indicate that iTunes sales decreased by 13 percent this season, but music streaming services are improving.
In today’s economy, it appears that more people are renting than buying even when it comes to the music industry. The concept of streaming music involves delivering music by a service provider to a device, whether it is a mobile operating system or computer. Users pay a monthly fee to “rent” music as long as they are subscribed members. They are able to pick and choose any music they want. They can choose single songs, albums, artists full album collections, collaborations, live albums, remixes and more. They can also create playlists. Members are more than welcome to download any song or playlist they create, but they have to purchase each song. It turns out this isn’t as popular a choice for streaming service subscribers. Renting the music is far more popular than buying, therefore, Apple is finding a need to either invite Android to the party to hang onto iTune music sales or get on board with the popular streaming music wave.
Steve Jobs never was a believer in subscribing to music services. He felt people would always want to own music not pay a fee and risk losing it if they stopped payments. Apple ruled the digital music world with the invention of iTunes and iPod. A decade later it turns out that Steve Jobs projection was wrong. Subscribing to music is the wave of the future and companies such as Spotify, that is the most popular streaming service, and Pandora, which has over 125 million users, are ruling the music listening world. Reports have indicated that revenue of streaming services rose 51 percent worldwide while sales for downloads had a 2.1 percent loss. Rumor has it Apple is talking to various labels about the switch from the iTunes of today to an iTunes streaming service in the future. Customers can still buy a song but they could be informed via email that all of iTunes music content would be available for a monthly subscription fee. This could be incredibly beneficial to iTunes as it has the potential to not only be a music streaming service but with their app store, tv, film, books, podcasts, etc…offered on their iTunes store it could potentially be the Amazon of subscribed streaming for many different entertainment venues.
If Apple still wants to draw major crowds to the iTunes store, it may have to invite other mobile operating systems such as the Android to the party. If Apple wants to continue to sell music and insist that their product be used with their own devices it may continue to cause even more of a decrease in sales due to the overwhelming popularity in music streaming services. Ideas for a streaming service may have to be brought to the table if Apple wants to remain competitive in the changing music market.
By Christina Thompson