According to sources speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s digital music sales have declined by up to 14-percent in 2014, a worrying slip compared to the 2.1-percent drop last year. Apple’s crumbling music empire could be the biggest indication yet the streaming model is more popular among consumers—services like Spotify, Pandora, and others. Luckily, Apple may have a back up plan in the form of Beats Music.
The WSJ cites a report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which says there’s been a noticeable increase in revenue from ad-supported and subscription streaming services. So it’s not that people are listening to less music, they’re just finding different ways to do it. I’ve been a happy subscriber of Google Play Music All Access (I got that early adoption price), giving me little reason to purchase music from iTunes. Seems other people are in similar situations.
That’s where Beats comes in. Prior to Apple’s surprise acquisition of the headphone maker earlier this year, Beats officially launched a subscription-based streaming service that relied heavily on human curation. There have been rumors claiming Apple has plans to re-brand the service in the future, and maybe even offer subscriptions for as low as $4.99 a month, which would undercut the competition.
The WSJ says the service will be re-built and relaunched as part of iTunes next year. When, exactly, is unclear, but Apple will no doubt want to get the service out as soon as possible. If it can hit that $4.99 price, it’ll no doubt attract a lot of users, especially with Apple’s immense iTunes ecosystem backing it up. Don’t expect anything to launch in the near future, though we could see something crop up in February, according to an earlier report from Re/code.