Apple once dominated the digital music market with the iTunes Store, but the rise of both Android and music streaming services apparently has Cupertino running scared. A recent report from Billboard claimed the company was considering several new strategies including iTunes Radio and iTunes Store for Android, now the music magazine is back with another story suggesting big changes to iTunes could be coming even sooner than expected.
While Apple generally prefers to rollout gradual changes in its software and services, declining music sales and disappointing results for iTunes Radio are reportedly pushing the company to move quicker than usual. “They know iTunes has to change radically,” an anonymous record lab executive told Billboard. “They still don’t know which way it will go. But it will be completely different in three to five years. They are committed to making that happen.”
The company is also holding out hope that iTunes Radio could grow in parts of the world where competing services like Pandora haven’t really caught on. The online radio service is still only available in the U.S. and Australia, but Apple is reportedly eyeing new markets including Russia and Brazil for the near future.
There’s no clear sense of how Apple plans to change the iTunes Store and iTunes Radio, but Billboard’s sources suggest the traditional download store could become overshadowed by both free and subscription-based streaming options. It’s also uncertain if we’ll see any dramatic changes to the iTunes Store this year, though a recent report suggests iOS 8 could introduce iTunes Radio as a stand-alone app.
Apple may discuss its music strategy at WWDC in June, since that’s where it usually discusses software. We’ll find out in just a few months.