As rumored in the days preceding the Apple’s iPhone 6 event, U2 made an appearance at the highly anticipated keynote not only to perform, but also to announce that its latest album will be available as a free download to all iTunes users until October 13. What Apple didn’t specifically say is that it’ll force the download on all iOS devices – at least sort of – soon after the announcement, although in Tim Cook’s conversation with Bono, the CEO said that Apple could send the album to all of its iTunes subscribers, if “it gave it away for free,” thus making it the largest album release of all time. More →
It turns out that most of the U2 rumors were true, Apple did invite U2 to perform on stage during the iPhone 6 event and the band’s latest album will be available as a free download to iTunes users for about a month. Did Apple do it just because it has a special relationship with the band? Business Insider thinks it has figured out the secret reason for Apple’s decision to pay for the all the free U2 album downloads that will take place through October 13. More →
Apple is apparently working hard on improving iTunes content download speeds for users, Streaming Media reports, with the company having already deployed its own content delivery network (CDN) that’s already serving some digital content to users, and having inked interconnect deals with ISPs to make sure content delivery gets prime treatment. More →
We’ve covered enough smartphone concepts in the past few months at BGR to fill up the rest of the year, so we decided to mix it up today with what might be the best redesign for iTunes we’ve ever seen. Concept artist Brye Kobayashi has mocked up a concept for iTunes that does away with all the clutter of Apple’s recent updates while reconnecting the design style with previous versions of the software. The results are stunning. More →
Make It Rain: The Love of Money is the latest addictive iOS game that has gone viral in the App Store, Re/code reports, having been downloaded 1.6 million times and raking in $50,000 per day from in-app purchases and ads. The game lets users make money on their smartphones – lots of cash – but there’s a catch: It’s only virtual cash they can spend in the game. More →
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.