Apple is apparently planning to go head-to-head with music streaming service Spotify next year, re-launching iTunes with some fresh Beats Music branding.
Apple’s iTunes update will reportedly allow users to stream as much music as they like, as well as being able to purchase songs and albums.
Apple acquired Beats Music, known largely for its headphones and other audio hardware, for $3 billion last year. Now it appears that the purchase could have been an attempt by Apple to bolster its music portfolio after digital sales through iTunes dropped by 14% in the last 12 months.
With the rise of music streaming, especially as a result of Spotify’s free, ad-supported option, it’s no surprise that album sales are dipping – shockingly, the only album to exceed one million sales in 2014 so far is the Frozen soundtrack. Comparably, a year ago saw six albums pass the golden million mark.
However, according to reports, Apple has no plans to offer a free service to rival Spotify directly, and will instead charge users $10 per month for the privilege. That said, Spotify doesn’t offer a full-featured free mobile streaming option either (instead letting users ‘Shuffle Play’ their favourite artists and albums), charging users £10 per month for their all-access service.
It’s interesting that Apple is now having to find fresh ways to compete in the market, after its digital music sales were largely blamed for the decline in CD sales. It just goes to show that even the worlds heavyweights aren’t immune to the changing face of consumerism.
Whether Apple users will abandon Spotify in favour of a native app on their device remains to be seen, but it’ll be interesting to see if Apple dangles some sort of sexy carrot to entice users to their service when it launches.
With predictions being for an early 2015 worldwide launch, we should all soon see if Beats Music is worth the subscription fee.