Apple considering iTunes for Android, on-demand streaming service

By , Mar 21, 2014

iTunes on Android

Apple is contemplating launching an iTunes app for Android devices to bolster its digital music sales, according to a new Billboard report. The company is also said to be in exploratory talks with senior label executives about rolling out an on-demand streaming service that would rival Spotify and Beats Music. These two moves are part of a broader strategy that would help the Cupertino-based company combat double-digit drops in iTunes downloads in the United States… 

These discussions are somewhat surprising, given that late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs never believed that consumers would subscribe to pay for music. Jobs also saw little benefit in launching an iTunes app on Android, telling author Walter Isaacson that it would only make users of the Google platform happy. Considering that Jobs wanted to wage “thermonuclear war” against Android, that was something he had no interest in.

An excerpt from Isaacson’s biography about Steve Jobs from a few years ago:

“We thought about whether we should do a music client for Android. We put iTunes on Windows in order to sell more iPods. But I don’t see an advantage of putting our own music app on Android, except to make Android users happy. And I don’t want to make Android users happy.”

Spotify Beats Music Rdio

Nearly three years have passed since Jobs passed away, however, and the digital music landscape is changing. U.S. digital album sales have declined 13 percent year-over-year, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry claims that streaming music services have experienced a 51 percent growth in revenues worldwide.

Spotify, Pandora and YouTube generated $1.4 billion in subscription, advertising and licensing revenues in the U.S. last year, up 39 percent from 2012, while downloads revenue were down 3.2 percent to $2.9 billion.

I for one much prefer listening to on-demand music versus paying for individual songs on iTunes. The latter is both time consuming and expensive compared to simply using platforms like Spotify or Rdio. You might not have access to every song ever released if you use streaming services, but convenient access to hundreds of albums and songs is far more valuable to me than spending money on iTunes.

The discussions are still in the preliminary stages:

“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.”

An iTunes spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

iTunes Radio (three-up, iPhone 5)

Apple already offers a streaming music service in iTunes Radio, similar to Pandora, but the platform gives users limited control over what music they can play. The ad-supported service consists of DJ-curated and genre-focused streaming radio stations, rather than giving the user full control to search for specific songs and albums. Multiple reports suggest that the company could spin iTunes Radio into a standalone app in the future.

As these talks are still in the early goings, don’t hold your expectations too high for the launch of iTunes on Android or an on-demand streaming service any time soon. But if Apple is actually looking to diversify its business model beyond its own products, something it is often hesitant to do, this could mark a significant change in the company’s direction.

Do you see value in iTunes for Android or an Apple-run on-demand streaming service?

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  • Virus

    I was wondering if iTunes was ever gonna come to Android seeing as it’s on Windows

  • Decio Arruda

    Apple, be proud of your ecosystem because that’s the biggest advantage iOS devices have. This move would be a good move financially but in the long run it would make it easier for people to switch to Android which is bad for a business such as Apple’s

    • Al

      Agreed!

      Eventually Apple will start thinking about selling iOS and Mac OS X to other OEM.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        I can see this with OS X (especially since the recent revelations that Steve Jobs wanted the Sony Vaio laptops to run OS X) but I doubt we’ll be seing iOS on other peoples hardware any time soon due to the fact that Apple likes to control the hardware, the software and the services. If they gave iOS to other manufactures it would become just another OS to stick on cheap smartphones and flood the market with like what is happening with Android and Windows Phone…

  • David Gitman

    Smart move apple

  • CAS

    I don’t like streaming services, I like to have all my music in my iPhone, and since I don’t have much data, streaming is not for me.

    • blastingbigairs

      I agree, I just can’t fit all 15K songs on my iTunes on my iPhone, that’s why I use Google Play. It’s pretty awesome.

  • jocastro

    interesting to see how that would play out.

  • jocastro

    lol maybe they should just merge apple and android and make a super phone

    • Andrew Roth

      That would be so sweet. iOS/Android mix on a phone made by Apple, Samsung, LG, and Sony… That would be great… Probably $10,000 to. :)

    • Kash Gummaraju

      So you’re one of those people. I thought your kind was extinct or had evolved a while ago. Really? Do you think that Android is a company? It’s an operating system owned, managed, and developed by Google. Of course there are other companies that make their own versions of Android. So you’d have to be specific with which company you’d like to see Apple merge with(that’s highly unlikely). There already many “super” phones out there. No need for another oversimplified phone with a lack of polished features that serve the functionality aspect of a smartphone.

      • http://facebook.com/kurtlewisart Kurt

        Hi troll. The “lol” at the beginning of the statement from @jocastro let’s readers know that what follows should be taken as sarcasm. Definition of sarcasm can be easily found at dictionary . com or any other fine sites offering similar services.

      • Kash Gummaraju

        Hurp Derp what’s sarcasm?

      • Yujin

        Android is the new windows with all of its issues. Just mobile.

      • Kash Gummaraju

        Totes, I sooo agree with that. Are you dumb? What issues? I don’t even get any issues with my PC either. The only cause for issues is the user’s own mistakes. Such as downloading uneeded and/or shady software. Going to shady sites. Messing around with the internal and core files without actual knowledge of wtf to do. I like to have control over my phone, PC, and tablet. I don’t want another third-party strictly defining what I can and can’t do. I like options and having the freedom of choice( ‘Murica).

  • Sam Khan

    What? Go home Apple, You are Drunk

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Yet another cross-platform competitor…good. Though, barely have any interest in these streaming services with ads, I just listen to my local collection.

  • Frank Anthony

    People with wrong assumption as if they don’t know how Apple really work. iTunesRadio is never coming to Android like EVER. They can only improve the service for Apple users. But android have -0% chances of seeing iTunesRadio. This is a Cupertino giant we’re speaking of & not S.Korean Conglomerate. No matter how profitable this may be, Apple will never extend iTunesRadio outside their ecosystem. NEVER SAY NEVER but I’M SAYING “NEVER” on this one. Android users sorry!

    • iOS for life

      Still in early talks mate. No need to stress.

    • Yujin

      This is all rumors. This is how bloggers, analyst and attention whores get their fix.

  • Franklin Richards

    Would be fun to see Apple take a bite out of Google in their own ecosystem for once.

  • WisdomSeed

    Not a good move. The only reason iTunes is on Windows was to sell iPods.. It worked. I don’t think putting ITunes on Android would have anywhere near a similar benefit. On the other hand iTunes Radio for Android isn’t as bad of a thing since streaming music is new to Apple. The question is what could they do to iTunes radio that would shine some of that Apple halo into the Android world. But as it is, I am glad that there are no Apple Apps available outside of the Apple ecosystem.

  • BozzyB

    if they provide a music service with unlimmited access and offline playing like google play music – and all this for 4,99$/month – they can compete and it would make sense. If not, they shouldn’t even think about it because it is too late to enter the market with all this competitors. But this time I don’t think Apple can put this pressure on the music industrie like they could back then with itunes…

  • Marcus Gomita

    “I don’t want to make Android users happy.”

    -Steve Jobs, lol

  • http://www.apple.com St3vè Jb

    Really sad… iTunes has gone installed to Suck Platform like Android

  • anonymous

    something that should’ve been done a long time ago to maximize profits, sometimes its strange how corporates with so much brains in its department just take time to come up with an idea just so simple and yet completely profitable.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/PrsnSinghHD Prasoon Singh

    This is madness!

  • Techius

    I just can’t see this happening anytime soon.

  • @dongiuj

    Now I realise there are 2 kinds of fangirls. The ones that think logically (a rare breed) and the rest which are the mentally weak minded brainwashed kind.

  • Yujin

    Don’t think apple will do an app for android. What they could do is make the switch from android so easy people will jump faster. Now with iPhone 6 this year and iPad mini with cellular (iPhablet). They will have more reasons to celebrate.

    Hardware sales are up and iTunes revenue is also up. Music sales have slowed cause what else is there to sell? Really everyone that pirated music already has everything they wanted and bought some iTunes tracks. The real issue is that music sucks today. No real great artist and those that are good don’t have a huge impact on sales.

    Performing and merchandise is where the artist make their money now, not music sales.

    • Kash Gummaraju

      Whoa hold your horses. Not every artist sucks. There are plenty of bands and singers out there. Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons, Coldplay, etc..Imagine Dragons is now really mainstream, but there are so many semi-mainstream artists for people to enjoy.

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Apple should focus on getting iTunes Match available internationally and perhaps making it available through iCloud. On top of this the iTunes store is still littered with DRM that should be removed as soon as possible. If Apple does all of the above (which are things that really, really, really needs to be done IMO) then they can perhaps consider iTunes for Android…

  • Ernie Marin

    And this is why I never believe all the court and suing crap they are always talking about, one day those two will merge and make 1 single phone, in 20 different models.

  • Laszlo Gaspar

    I don’t see it happening because it would boost revenue but hurt sales of devices.