solo2 beats

The future of digital music is anything but certain, even less so given that fewer and fewer people nowadays choose to buy MP3s and physical CDs amid the proliferation of streaming services spearheaded by Spotify, the popular music-streaming service hailing from Sweden.

Of course, Spotify is but one in the sea of local and global music sources vying for your attention.

On top of Spotify and the likes of Pandora and Rdio are incumbents such as Apple, Amazon and Google that offer both à la carte song downloads and all-you-can-eat subscriptions. We’re interested to learn about our readership’s favorite music sources and are kindly inviting you to jump past the fold and cast your vote.

Here’s the poll.

Various reports have indicated that Apple’s been hard at work integrating Beats Music with iTunes and the Music app on the iPhone and iPad.

According to one report, Apple’s Music app in iOS 9 will let you stream songs from both iTunes Radio and Beats Music. You’ll be able to mark specific tracks to store on your device, or keep all songs solely in the cloud.

The Playlists, Activities and Mixes features of Beats Music will carry over into the iOS Music app, bringing Beats’ human-curated playlists to fit various activities.

Beats Music

Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac learned that the Cupertino firm will update Beats’ social networking features, “allowing people to follow other users and artists as they did with the failed Ping social music network.”

I became a big proponent of iTunes immediately following its debut more than a decade ago. Whereas the iTunes Store’s then revolutionary 99-cent-a-song model provided instant gratification, it’s gotten old in the tooth now.

The music purchasing decision comes down to the simple choice: do I burn ten or more bucks on a single album download or put my money toward a streaming service like Spotify to stream millions of songs to my heart’s content, for the monthly price of an album on iTunes?

Speaking of streaming, I fear that a true subscription music-streaming service from Apple, even if based on Beats technology, would be way overdue. The company has made a big mistake sitting on the sidelines, watching how the streaming thing would unfold before finally deciding to join the fray.

iTunes 12.0.0.97 Beta (Music)

It’s too late now.

Spotify has become a platform and therein lies a major hurdle for Tim Cook & Co. Spotify is now supported across dozens of popular third-party apps and services like, for example, Algoriddim’s djay which tremendously boosts its value proposition, appeal and ubiquitousness.

I just don’t see Apple opening up its music catalogue to third-parties and turning iTunes into a platform anytime soon.

Thoughts?