According to a report from Billboard, Apple is considering a Spotify-like on-demand streaming service. The service would be a part of a larger strategy that may include an iTunes app for Android.
Apple has opened exploratory talks with senior label executives about the possibility of launching an on-demand streaming service that would rival Spotify and Beats Music, according to three people familiar with the talks. Apple is also thinking about adding an iTunes App for Android phones, the Google rival that has been growing faster than the iPhone, these sources said.
For the first time ever since the iTunes Store opened in 2003, Music sales fell 5.7 percent in January from 1.34 billion units to 1.26 billion. Recently Apple has attempted to attract more customers by offering exclusive albums on iTunes, like Beyoncé’s fifth album.
Apple introduced iTunes Radio last year, but it is station-based like Pandora, which limits the number of songs users can choose. A service similar to Spotify or Beats Music would allow users to choose all of their content, which may be accessible on non-Apple platforms like Android.
“They are feeling out some people at labels on thoughts about transitioning its customers from iTunes proper to a streaming service,” says one major label source. “So when you buy a song for $1.29, and you put it in your library, iTunes might send an e-mail pointing out that for a total of, say, $8 a month you can access that song plus all the music in the iTunes store. It’s all in the ‘what if’ stage.”
The on-demand streaming service would serve as a potential source of revenue for the company, as well as increase the number of music downloads.
The idea that Apple may offer Android users access to iTunes seems pretty far fetched. Currently, the company does not offer any of its major mobile apps or services on Android, and a decision like this could encourage iPhone users to switch to Google’s mobile operating system.
Industry executives say that the fast growth of Android is also affecting the sales of iTunes music downloads. The launch of the Android app and streaming service would be a way for Apple to try and make up for the decrease of music downloads.
Apple is in talks with record labels about the possible expansion of iTunes Radio, but talks are reportedly still in the early stages. It is still unclear if and when Apple will launch these services.