References to 'iTunes Subscription' pop up in iTunes, could point to rumored streaming service

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited April 2015
References to a heretofore unknown "iTunes Subscription" service showed up in the iTunes desktop client on Friday, potentially revealing a few details of a rumored Apple-branded streaming music solution said to launch sometime this year.




The new section, seen in a screenshot above, was spotted on Friday by reader Doug, who was running the latest iTunes 12.1.2.27 version released on April 9. Specifically, on the Account Information page, which dynamically pulls in data from Apple's servers, management options for iTunes in the Cloud revealed an "iTunes Subscription" subsection.

While mere speculation, iTunes Subscription could refer to an unannounced iTunes streaming music service that allows users to download songs on up to five devices for offline play. This would be two devices more than the current limit imposed by Apple's Beats Music.

On the other hand, iTunes Subscription could simply be a case of misplaced or residual files spilling over to active iTunes account servers.
You can save songs for offline use and download purchases from iCloud on up to 5 devices.

You are currently using 0 devices.

You can only remove all devices once a year. For further assistance, contact Apple Care.
The text above could be the result of a simple bug in Apple's system, though a number of details don't seem to add up. For example, current iTunes Match subscriptions allow downloads on up to ten devices, limiting only the number of linked computers to five.

Device provisioning data for iTunes Subscription is seemingly generated independently from iTunes Match and iTunes in the Cloud. In the screenshot above, three devices are assigned to this user's Apple ID and none to iTunes Subscription, ruling out a potential mixup with existing iTunes services. Additionally, while the "Learn More" button next to iTunes Match leads to an informational webpage, the button labeled "Remove All Devices" next to iTunes Subscription is seemingly inactive.

Interestingly, the informational text is not present in a screenshot embedded in an official Apple Support Document regarding hidden iTunes purchases last updated on Thursday. Further, a test iTunes login session performed on Friday saw the Hidden Purchases section disappear altogether.

Rumors of an Apple branded subscription service first appeared last September. At the time, it was reported that Apple was looking to rebrand Beats Music as an iTunes product, affixing a lower monthly price tag to better compete with services like Spotify and Pandora.

Subsequent reports claimed the supposed product will lack a free tier so as not to interfere with a revamped iTunes Radio service headed up by D.J. Zane Lowe. According to the most recent rumors, Nine Inch Nails frontman and former Beats executive Trent Reznor is in charge of the for-pay streaming project.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    h3nrchh3nrch Posts: 11member
    Makes sense. Although I wonder if this could be Apple TV related - where you could subscribe to individual channels.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    asciiascii Posts: 5,833member
    Yes, it could be a subscription to the whole of iTunes. Sort of an all you can eat Netflix type thing but covering songs, tv and movies.
  • Reply 3 of 11
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ascii View Post



    Yes, it could be a subscription to the whole of iTunes. Sort of an all you can eat Netflix type thing but covering songs, tv and movies.



    At that point, Netflix / Hulu / Spotify et. al. can close up shop. The only ways to profit by then would be providing the content or the Internet access.

  • Reply 4 of 11
    asciiascii Posts: 5,833member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by UncommonAsian View Post

     



    At that point, Netflix / Hulu / Spotify et. al. can close up shop. The only ways to profit by then would be providing the content or the Internet access.




    Exactly. Apple didn't need to buy Beats to kick all their butts. It just needed to offer a unified subscription, first of it's kind.

  • Reply 5 of 11
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member

    At that point, Netflix / Hulu / Spotify et. al. can close up shop. The only ways to profit by then would be providing the content or the Internet access.

    Do you think those services are only accessed using Apple devices?
  • Reply 6 of 11
    ascii wrote: »

    Exactly. Apple didn't need to buy Beats to kick all their butts. It just needed to offer a unified subscription, first of it's kind.
    Kind of like the public library, actually. ????

    dasanman69 wrote: »
    Do you think those services are only accessed using Apple devices?
    Well not currently. But should Apple introduce such a service I would think a lot of people will switch to it in droves, not just existing Apple users but people from Outside (of the ecosystem) too. After all an Apple TV is quite cheap nowadays. A couple of years later will see incumbents struggling to hold subscribers, as the rumoured $40-50 gets you far more then the ~$30 you get for Hulu+Netflix+Spotify. I suspect the extra fees won't be much trouble if only because it'll be much more convenient (only one source) to access desired content.
  • Reply 7 of 11
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member
    Well not currently. But should Apple introduce such a service I would think a lot of people will switch to it in droves, not just existing Apple users but people from Outside (of the ecosystem) too. After all an Apple TV is quite cheap nowadays. A couple of years later will see incumbents struggling to hold subscribers, as the rumoured $40-50 gets you far more then the ~$30 you get for Hulu+Netflix+Spotify. I suspect the extra fees won't be much trouble if only because it'll be much more convenient (only one source) to access desired content.

    And buy another device? How many millions of people access Netflix/Hulu via a smart TV, a Blu Ray player, a Roku, or another streaming device? Are they all suddenly going to stop using those devices? Are they going to give up the unique programming offered by those services?
  • Reply 8 of 11
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    And buy another device? How many millions of people access Netflix/Hulu via a smart TV, a Blu Ray player, a Roku, or another streaming device? Are they all suddenly going to stop using those devices? Are they going to give up the unique programming offered by those services?
    Well I don't think the winds of change will sweep overnight, so to speak. Apple already have hundreds of millions of iOS devices (plus a lot of Macs and Apple TVs, so it'll be those people who'll be the early birds.

    But once the majority of those do, all their friends will be envious of the seamless experience an "iTunes Subscription" offers and will be tempted to make the switch. In fact I think that Netflix et. al. won't be able to sustain their business model with just people from Outside. Especially since everyone in the industry knows it's Apple users that make the most money.

    This would cause content providers to raise prices or pull content, which would only hasten the demise of the streaming services. I suspect they (or Netflix at least) know this hence why they are focusing $300m on original content.

    The streaming services can survive but they'll have to careful with how they proceed. That being said, I can wax poetic on Apple's dominance of media and streaming all I want but it's a moot point if this "iTunes Subscription" thing doesn't come to pass.

    P.S. iOS autocorrect seems to recognise the the phrase iTunes Subscription. Hmm, interesting.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    chelinchelin Posts: 52member
    Netflix is a content producer nowdays, IMHO a very good one too. HBO is a content provider, would it it by the above definition also be eliminated by the same reasoning?

    It is pretty obvious though that the message strongly refers to 'songs'. It would be interesting to see how this is going to work in relation to the Family concept.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,963member
    Well I don't think the winds of change will sweep overnight, so to speak. Apple already have hundreds of millions of iOS devices (plus a lot of Macs and Apple TVs, so it'll be those people who'll be the early birds.

    But once the majority of those do, all their friends will be envious of the seamless experience an "iTunes Subscription" offers and will be tempted to make the switch. In fact I think that Netflix et. al. won't be able to sustain their business model with just people from Outside. Especially since everyone in the industry knows it's Apple users that make the most money.

    This would cause content providers to raise prices or pull content, which would only hasten the demise of the streaming services. I suspect they (or Netflix at least) know this hence why they are focusing $300m on original content.

    The streaming services can survive but they'll have to careful with how they proceed. That being said, I can wax poetic on Apple's dominance of media and streaming all I want but it's a moot point if this "iTunes Subscription" thing doesn't come to pass.

    P.S. iOS autocorrect seems to recognise the the phrase iTunes Subscription. Hmm, interesting.

    Let's just agree to disagree, because you'll never convince me otherwise. Netflix/Hulu are here to stay.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    chelin wrote: »
    Netflix is a content producer nowdays, IMHO a very good one too. HBO is a content provider, would it it by the above definition also be eliminated by the same reasoning?

    It is pretty obvious though that the message strongly refers to 'songs'. It would be interesting to see how this is going to work in relation to the Family concept.
    If Netflix and HBO can continue its stronghold on original content (like with House of Cards and Game of Thrones) then I think they'll be ok.

    Now that you point out, it does seem to refer to songs. Maybe it'll be like the iTunes Store. First there was music, then movies, then TV.
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