Apple said to be considering ‘dramatic’ overhaul of iTunes music store

iTunes Radio (three-up, iPhone 5)

Apple is considering the most dramatic overhaul of its iTunes music store in more than a decade, according to a new report by Billboard. Citing sources familiar with the company’s deliberations, the outlet claims Apple is actively looking for ways to combat declining music downloads.

We saw a similar report from Billboard last month, which claimed that the Cupertino firm was mulling over an Android version of its iTunes store, as well as an on-demand streaming service of sorts. It’s clear that Apple is facing increasing competition from Spotify, Rdio and other services…

Here’s the latest report from Billboard:

The failure of iTunes Radio to halt the decline of music downloads has prompted Apple Inc. to consider the most dramatic overhaul of its iTunes music store in more than a decade, according to executives familiar with Apple’s internal deliberations.

iTunes Radio, which launched in September with much fanfare, so far only sees about 1%-2% of listeners clicking the buy button, while overall music downloads have been declining upwards of 15%, according to several label executives. 

As a result, Apple is being forced to consider options that would have been out of the question a few years earlier – an on-demand streaming service, an iTunes store for Google’s Android devices and negotiating download sales windows that favor Apple as first reported by Billboard.

In March, a report from Edison Research said that iTunes Radio had become the third most popular streaming music service in the US, behind Pandora and iHeartRadio. The problem, though, is that with only 1-2% of users clicking the ‘Buy’ button, the service isn’t making any money.

iTunes Radio (teaser, iPod touch, iPad, MacBook Air, Apple TV)Apple is reportedly considering a standalone iTunes Radio app in iOS 8

Apple has seen 2/3 of its high-value customers move to subscription services over the past 3 years. “This has been a huge eye-opener for them,” one source told Billboard. The rise in these streaming services has also, as you’d expect, reduced Apple’s influence over the major record labels.

But Eddy Cue and company reportedly have a plan. With Apple introducing an on-demand service, it would essentially cover all of the digital music bases: radio, individual track and album purchasing via iTunes, and an all-you-can eat streaming service. The question is: are they too late?