Can iTunes stay relevant in the era of Pandora and Spotify? That’s a key question that Apple is trying to answer as it mulls a major overhaul of its iconic digital music store that has seen revenues from music sales drop in recent years while streaming services have grown ever-more popular. MacRumors points us to a recent rumor posted by music blogger Robert Hutton, who says that Apple is planning to introduce 24-bit lossless audio files to the iTunes Store, which would vastly improve the sound quality of any songs you buy through it. More →
Back in the days when MP3s were all the rage, Apple’s iTunes Store was the go-to place to pick up music for your iPod. But now that streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify have made it cheaper than ever to just stream music to our devices, people have stopped shelling out money for MP3s. This is a problem for Apple, which has seen digital music sales steadily decline even after it launched its iTunes Radio streaming service last year in an effort to get more people to buy music they like. More →
Less than a decade ago, digital rights management (DRM) debates were as common and heated as online privacy debates are today. Apple’s iTunes was, of course, the biggest digital music distribution center that utilized DRM, but in 2009 Apple finally caved and ditched its digital file-protection solution. But what about all the music people purchased before 2009 that is digitally locked to just a few devices? As it turns out, dumping the DRM on your old iTunes purchases is remarkably easy. More →
Apple is apparently working on various music-related products meant to counter the effect of dropping download sales, with the company currently being rumored to consider both launching a Spotify-like service, but also a standalone iTunes application for Android. Billboard reports that Apple has opened exploratory talks with senior label executives about launching such services, although nothing is official just yet. More →
Although iTunes doesn’t let users stream video as Netflix and Hulu do, it’s still the favorite digital video platform in the United States. A new survey conducted by analytics firm ForeSee shows that Apple’s iTunes has the highest customer satisfaction out of any major video platform, followed very closely by HBO GO, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. While this may seem counterintuitive since iTunes forces users to download the shows they watch onto their computers, ForeSee says that “users want fast page loads and are dissatisfied when error messages or playback issues occur,” which helps iTunes because it “bypasses… performance issues” normally associated with video streaming. ForeSee’s full press release follows below.
Despite the rise of new competitors, Apple’s dominance of the market for digital songs remains the same. AllThingsD points out that new research from Asymco shows that Apple’s iTunes generates around $6.9 billion in revenue from digital music each year, which is 75% of the $9.3 billion that consumers spend on digital music annually. This means that while music streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify have shown rapid growth recently, they still can’t match the revenue generating powers of the iTunes store. iTunes’ popularity also shows us why Apple was able to successfully play hardball with music labels when negotiating a deal for iTunes Radio — its clout in the digital music realm means that record companies are willing to take less per-song revenue if it means they’ll be exposed to a much wider audience.
Apple revealed earlier this week that its iTunes music store is now home to 575 million users. Horace Dediu of Asymco noted that the company is adding roughly a half-million new accounts on average per day. At its current rate, Apple will add another 100 million iTunes accounts by the end of 2013. The analyst found that while more consumers are using the service, revenue per account has actually decreased over the past few years. He explained that each of the 575 million accounts generates about half as much revenue, or $3.20 per month, as Apple’s 100 million iTunes accounts did in 2009. Dediu doesn’t think Apple is in trouble, however. He notes that customer satisfaction and loyalty is still high, and the number of new customers is increasing at higher rate than the decline in spending.
Apple’s iTunes has long dominated the market for online music purchases and it seems that it holds a similar stranglehold on the market for online movie and TV show purchases as well. New data from the NPD Group shows that iTunes accounts for 65% of all online movie downloads and 67% of all online TV show downloads, putting it significantly ahead of both Amazon Instant Video, which accounts for 10% of movie downloads and 8% of TV show downloads, and Xbox video, which accounts for 10% of movie downloads and 14% of TV show downloads. NPD analyst Russ Crupnick says that iTunes has stayed on top of the online video market because “Apple has successfully leveraged its first-mover advantage and of iTunes, iOS and the popularity of iPhone and iPad” to secure an enduring market advantage.
New licensing agreements with Google Play, Microsoft (MSFT) and other services helped musicians generate more royalties in the U.K. from digital music services than radio for the first time last year, The Guardian reported. Songwriters earned a total of £51.7 million in the U.K. (roughly $77.7 million USD) in digital royalties, an increase of 32.2% from £39.1 million in 2011. Digital music services are now the single biggest source of income for musicians in the U.K., surpassing radio and live events. Online licensing revenues have doubled in the county since the arrival of download and streaming services such as Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes Store and Spotify in 2008.
Apple (AAPL) shares have fallen more than 35% since hitting a record high last September. The tech press has declared that Apple is doomed. On the defensive. Unable to compete with Samsung (005930). Never mind that the company only pulled in $13 billion in profit last quarter, and only has $140 billion in cash, and that Apple has the best-selling smartphone in the world. There is one thing that Wall Street analysts have forgotten in their reports, models, and projections — Apple has 500 million iTunes accounts with credit cards. More →
Yes, it seems that Steve Jobs knew what he was doing when he decided to launch the iTunes store all those years ago. Apple (AAPL) announced on Wednesday that it has now sold more than 25 billion songs over iTunes, an astonishing figure for the online store that has changed how people buy and listen to music. For the record, the 25 billionth song downloaded was something called “Monkey Drums” (Goksel Vancin Remix) by Chase Buch, which was downloaded by a German man named Phillip Lüpke. To celebrate his remarkable achievement of downloading a song, Apple is giving Lüpke an iTunes gift card worth €10,000.
Apple (AAPL) announced on Thursday its iTunes Store is now available in 56 new countries including India, Russia, South Africa and Turkey, bringing the company’s digital store to a total of 119 countries. All customers will have access to music available in DRM-free format with high-quality 256 kbps AAC encoding as well as iCloud. Along with popular international artists such as The Beatles and Coldplay, Apple says the new iTunes Stores includes music from local artists including “Elka in Russia, Sezen Aksu in Turkey, AR Rahman in India, and Zahara in South Africa.” Movies for rent or purchase are available only in the four aforementioned countries. MacRumors also has a great breakdown of every single new country that now has the iTunes Store. Apple’s press release follows below.
With just one day to spare, Apple (AAPL) on Thursday released the latest version of its popular media hub, iTunes. Announced this past September and reportedly delayed due to engineering issues, Apple promised that iTunes 11 would launch in November and now it finally has. Highlights include a completely redesigned player view, a new library view, a new recommendation system, a redesigned store, enhanced iCloud and iTunes Match support, and a new feature that finally saves the position of a video or audio book if you pause on one device and continue playing on another. iTunes 11 is available immediately for both OS X and Windows, and it can be downloaded via the source link below or using Apple’s software update feature.