iTunes sales down 13% this year as Apple plans to rebuild, rebrand Beats Music subscription service

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited October 2014
Sales from Apple's iTunes Store have fallen significantly thus far in 2014, helping to push forward the company's alleged plans to revamp the recently acquired Beats Music and make it part of the iTunes brand.




Citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that sales from Apple's iTunes Store have fallen between 13 and 14 percent so far this year. That's much worse than last year, when global revenue from music downloads fell 2.1 percent.

The report also reaffirmed an earlier rumor claiming that Apple may be looking to end the Beats Music brand, and instead repackage the service it acquired as part of a $3 billion acquisition of Beats earlier this year. It's been said that the branding change would more closely align the property with Apple's other first-party offerings, such as the iTunes Store and iTunes Radio.

According to the Journal, Beats Music will relaunch next year completely rebuilt, and integrated into iTunes.

radio


The report comes on the heels of a fresh rumor this week that claimed Apple is looking to cut the price of its subscription music service to $5 per month. Currently, Beats Music costs $9.99 per month on a month-to-month basis, or $99.99 if users are willing to sign up for a full year.

The acquisition of Beats Music represented Apple's entrance into a key subscription market where iTunes Store downloads and iTunes Radio streaming service did not compete. The subscription Beats Music service allows on-demand streaming of tracks and albums, as opposed to the randomized nature of iTunes Radio.

Streaming has become increasingly important in the music industry as sales of digital albums have been declining. Many users who previously purchased music have been migrating to services like Spotify and Pandora.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 80
    Since my family switched to Google Play Streaming, we haven't purchased any music off iTunes. That was almost a year ago. $7.99/mo and we all share the same subscription.
  • Reply 2 of 80

    iTunes has become a bloated mess in every sense of the term. It has become the kind of unmitigated disaster that Microsoft was famous for. I simply avoid it whenever I can.

     

    Way past time for Apple to thoroughly re-imagine and re-create what is still perhaps the most important, valuable piece of software in the iOS ecosystem.

  • Reply 3 of 80
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by patpatpat View Post



    Since my family switched to Google Play Streaming, we haven't purchased any music off iTunes. That was almost a year ago.

     

    Exactly. Nothing comes close to Google Music All Access. Especially since the recent integration of Songza built into it. By far the best streaming music app I've ever used.

  • Reply 4 of 80
    about 5 yrs ago, owning physical media for digital content (i.e. CDs) seemed antiquated.

    now owning digital content itself seems antiquated.

    just let me access anything at any time either via the cloud or local cache
  • Reply 5 of 80
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    I wonder if this is why the iTunes Radio rollout is stalled? It launched in the US (of course) and then later in Australia. You would expect it to have reached Canada and the UK by now, but no. One explanation is legal hurdles, but maybe another is that Apple themselves have deliberately stopped it because it will be replaced by iTunes Beats in the near future.

  • Reply 6 of 80
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    iTunes has become a bloated mess in every sense of the term. It has become the kind of unmitigated disaster that Microsoft was famous for. I simply avoid it whenever I can.

     

    Way past time for Apple to thoroughly re-imagine and re-create what is still perhaps the most important, valuable piece of software in the iOS ecosystem.




    I think their lead designer/architect is Rube Goldberg.

     

    It can be daunting to actually use it while saying a few prayers that you can find something. You have to feel for the people who have not been around using software all of their lives try to use iTunes.

  • Reply 7 of 80
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    iTunes has become a bloated mess in every sense of the term. It has become the kind of unmitigated disaster that Microsoft was famous for. I simply avoid it whenever I can.

    Way past time for Apple to thoroughly re-imagine and re-create what is still perhaps the most important, valuable piece of software in the iOS ecosystem.

    Hopefully that's what they're doing with Beats. Though Beats has nothing to do with TV or movies.
  • Reply 8 of 80
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    iTunes has become a bloated mess in every sense of the term. It has become the kind of unmitigated disaster that Microsoft was famous for. I simply avoid it whenever I can.

     

    Way past time for Apple to thoroughly re-imagine and re-create what is still perhaps the most important, valuable piece of software in the iOS ecosystem.


    That is way, way overstated.  iTunes is a mess because it tries to do too many things.  Microsoft apps are a mess because they never saw a feature they didn't include or a parameter they didn't want the user to be able to set.  I use iTunes to manage my music collection and it works just fine.  And in recent years the integration with the music store has become downright seamless.  It's not elegant and beautiful, but it's not that bad.

     

    Having said that, yes Apple should re-imagine it and blow us away.

  • Reply 9 of 80
    ibeamibeam Posts: 322member

    I don't buy music anymore. I prefer streaming curated DJ mixed style internet radio for my favorite genres. I never joined Beats but that sounds like the best approach to me. All my favorite bands from my young adult era are ripped from CDs and on my device.

  • Reply 10 of 80
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    Of course its the best.  Seeing that Google does not make any money on it accept the data it collects from you.


     

    It's a $9.99 per month paid service, although, I only pay $7.99. I also don't really care about if they know what music I'm listening to as, over time, it get me better search results for better music discovery. No big deal to me. I get ask about what type of music I'm listening to all the time and freely say it. No issues for me.

  • Reply 11 of 80

    I have zero issues with iTunes and have used ever since it was SoundJam. Now on Windows it's god awful but on my Mac it works great. I also use iTunes Match to listen to my music elsewhere and it works great as well. Don't use iTunes Radio as much but I turn it on when I don't feel like picking out my own music.

     

    With that said, I've been saying for years that there is simply too much content out there to expect customers to pay for everything they want. The streaming model is the future and is great for consumers, not sure about artists though.

  • Reply 12 of 80
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,147member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    iTunes has become a bloated mess in every sense of the term. It has become the kind of unmitigated disaster that Microsoft was famous for. I simply avoid it whenever I can.

     

    Way past time for Apple to thoroughly re-imagine and re-create what is still perhaps the most important, valuable piece of software in the iOS ecosystem.


     

    Bullshit. It has become LESS bloated in the latest version. The UI is much, much simplified, cleaned-up, and many functions (such as ebooks) have been offloaded to other apps. "Um-mitigated diasaster"? Wow, talk about sensationalism. Do you have any specific complaints, besides baseless comparisons to Microsoft software? Or ideas of how it needs to be "re-imagined"?  iTunes works perfectly for me, and hundreds of millions of others. 

  • Reply 13 of 80
    My 2 cents.. hopefully I won't get trolled like every other time I post on AI:

    The year for music hasn't been that great from artists. There have been a few really good artist releases, but not enough to stave off a lower sales year from the industry. There are still big albums being released closer to Christmas, so 13% for the year off might not end so low after another month. Taylor Swift's album is expected to sell 800,000 in the first week. That has to factor in somewhere for Apple's revenues.

    Then, there's the whole vinyl hipster crowd, that is buying new records in a non-digital format. It's not likely that those people will buy in vinyl and digital.
  • Reply 14 of 80
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    iTunes has become a bloated mess in every sense of the term. It has become the kind of unmitigated disaster that Microsoft was famous for. I simply avoid it whenever I can.

     

    Way past time for Apple to thoroughly re-imagine and re-create what is still perhaps the most important, valuable piece of software in the iOS ecosystem.


    I've been using iTunes for awhile now and I've enjoyed using it, and that even on Windows 7, and now Windows 8.1.  Of course it isn't perfect but I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as techies make it out to be.  There's like what, 500 million users of iTunes now?  They can't all be wrong.

  • Reply 15 of 80
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by malax View Post

     

    That is way, way overstated.  iTunes is a mess because it tries to do too many things.  Microsoft apps are a mess because they never saw a feature they didn't include or a parameter they didn't want the user to be able to set.  I use iTunes to manage my music collection and it works just fine.  And in recent years the integration with the music store has become downright seamless.  It's not elegant and beautiful, but it's not that bad.

     

    Having said that, yes Apple should re-imagine it and blow us away.


    I am glad it's working out for you. I have about 10,000 songs, dozens of playlists, and have found that, with 10.9.5 + 8.1, there are an unbelievable number of little bugs. Moreover, iTunes Match does not seem to sync well with the current version of iTunes. I have often found many missing playlists, and some recently ripped albums don't even show up. Or, when they do, they suddenly pop up days afterwards. 

     

    Basically, for me, it is not syncing properly with my iPhone 6 or with iTunes Match.

     

    I really wonder if there some other music management/syncing software out there....

  • Reply 16 of 80
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

     

    iTunes has become a bloated mess in every sense of the term. It has become the kind of unmitigated disaster that Microsoft was famous for. I simply avoid it whenever I can.

     

    Way past time for Apple to thoroughly re-imagine and re-create what is still perhaps the most important, valuable piece of software in the iOS ecosystem.




    To this I agree.   Although I was thinking IBM/Lotus Notes as the unmitigated disaster (the app everyone has to use and everyone hates now that a real internet model has come to fruition).

     

    Apple needs to decouple and build an 'app family' 


    • Books

    • Movies

    • Music

      • stuff I've bought/uploaded/downloaded...

      • stuff I desire/could-desire to listen to...

      • curated/genned streams of music [pseudo radio]


    • Real Radio (streams of OTA/Satellite radio)

    • TV Shows

    • Pod casts

      •   audio

      •   video


    • etc. etc.

     

    all need their own app set... maybe one DB in the back end,  and a 'department store' mega app (like ITMS is now) but with boutique app-stores built around the end user and the end product

     

    That's what I understand the Beats Purchase was supposed to do on the 'front end'

    (the back end was to use Jimmy to swing the deals that Apple's corporate aura couldn't schmooze  out of the labels and artists)

     

    [And stuff like syncing and device management... build that into the Mac System Preferences layer (preferences on how to manage 'your' iOS ecosystem)]

  • Reply 17 of 80
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

     

    Bullshit. It has become LESS bloated in the latest version. The UI is much, much simplified, cleaned-up, and many functions (such as ebooks) have been offloaded to other apps. "Um-mitigated diasaster"? Wow, talk about sensationalism. Do you have any specific complaints, besides baseless comparisons to Microsoft software? Or ideas of how it needs to be "re-imagined"?  iTunes works perfectly for me, and hundreds of millions of others. 


    Good for you. Perhaps your needs and expectations are lower than mine.

     

    But see post #17 above.

  • Reply 18 of 80
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CanukStorm View Post

     
    There's like what, 500 million users of iTunes now?  They can't all be wrong.


    Is there an alternative? 

  • Reply 19 of 80
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,072member

    I still buy music and always will. I have hundreds of LP albums from my youth as well as CDs and purchased digital content. Since I generally eschew pop music for classical I love having multiple performances of various works and artists. I also wind up with recordings from European labels that you won’t find on iTunes or some ‘curated’ streaming service. Subscription/smorgasbord services just don’t do it for me.

     

    And I sure as hell don’t consider iTunes to be a bloated mess. It’s a great app and does what it advertises and does it well. I love it that Apple usually never listens to the perpetually underwhelmed and whining crybaby crowd. 

  • Reply 20 of 80
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Sales from Apple's iTunes Store have fallen significantly thus far in 2014, helping to push forward the company's alleged plans to revamp the recently acquired Beats Music and make it part of the iTunes brand.





    Citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that sales from Apple's iTunes Store have fallen between 13 and 14 percent so far this year. That's much worse than last year, when global revenue from music downloads fell 2.1 percent.

     

     

    This article really needs to clarify that it's music sales from the iTunes Store that are down whatever percent.  That's the headline and text of the WSJ article.  The iTunes Stores hasn't been the iTunes Music Store for many years.  I have no idea if movie and TV sales/rental are up or down, but let's not misreport what the WSJ article says.

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