A new report claims that Apple is pondering a massive overhaul of iTunes due to the declining fortunes of its influential music service.
Traditional music downloads have been in decline in recent years as customers switch to all-you-can-eat subscription packages like Spotify and Google Play Music All Access.
Apple responded by launching its own music streaming option, iTunes Radio, alongside iOS 7 in September 2013. It was angled towards boosting traditional iTunes download numbers, but reports suggest it hasn’t exactly been the smash hit Apple was hoping for.
“iTunes Radio hasn’t solved the problem of refreshing the iTunes store,” one senior label executive has told Billboard. “While listeners are clicking the buy buttons, the traffic it is driving is in the low single digits of listeners.”
According to the report, this has prompted Apple to consider sweeping changes for the complete iTunes service. In fact, it’s being described as “the most dramatic overhaul of its iTunes music store in more than a decade.”
The result is that Apple is considering options that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. One such option, as we reported on last month, is the possibility of an iTunes store for Android.
It’s also been rumoured that Apple could spin iTunes Radio off into its own stand-alone app to boost visibility.
Another possibility, this time provided by Billboard, is for Apple to negotiate download sales windows that favour Apple.
All of this is currently being “hotly debated” within Apple and amongst its content partners, according to the report. But there is a sense of urgency as Apple continues to fall short in the growing streaming market.
“They know iTunes has to change radically, but they still don’t know which way it will go,” said another industry executive. “But it will be completely different in three to five years.”
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