Apple is the world’s biggest seller of music, but it has seen digital music sales plummet by 13% to 14% worldwide this year, according to people familiar with the matter, as cited by the Wall Street Journal.
Reports of falling digital music sales have been around since the year started, actually, and were one of the most cited reasons that industry analysts used to explain Apple’s decision to spend $3 billion on Beats Electronics and the music subscription service Beats Music.
Looking at just the US market, revenue from digital music sales dropped 12% in the first half of 2014, the Recording Industry Association of America revealed. However, the 23% jump in paid-subscription service revenue drove overall digital revenue to $2.2 billion during the same period of this year, says the WSJ.
So what are Apple’s plans for Beats Music? There were rumours — denied by Apple — that it would shut down the service. Currently, Apple is willing to go as low as $5 a month, but according to the WSJ’s sources, the days of Beats Music as a separate entity are numbered. It is part of the Apple family now, so it will go through a transformation process, as detailed earlier last month. The result: a brand-new iTunes that will incorporate the subscription service the company acquired.
The plummeting download numbers help illustrate why Apple bought the $10-a-month subscription streaming service Beats Music earlier this year, as part of its $3 billion acquisition that included headphone maker Beats Electronics. Apple is rebuilding Beats Music and plans to relaunch it next year as part of iTunes, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Until then, let’s hope iTunes Radio will finally arrive in Canada this year.