First records died, then cassette tapes, then CDs and now, downloads. That's right, we're all but officially
in the age of streaming services. Apple might operate the largest online music store in the world, but the
Apple Store's iTunes digital music sales have fallen about 13 percent this year, a source familiar with the
matter tells the Wall Street Journal. The writing is on the wall.
Meanwhile, Spotify is surging ahead. The music streaming service hit 10 million global paid subscribers
in May, up from 6 million paid subscribers in March 2013. Throw in people who use the service but don't
pay, and Spotify's now lays claim to 40 million active users, up from 24 million in March 2013.
Then there's Pandora, the Internet radio service with 80 million users, which dominates the streaming
music industry. Those numbers have steadily increased, up from 70 million in May 2013, and listening
hours have continued to increase too. Of course, there's a big difference between the Apple Store on the
one hand and Spotify and Pandora on the other. Apple's iTunes makes mountain of money, while Pandora
occasionally turns a little profit and Spotify isn't even profitable yet.
Nevertheless, Apple apparently sees which way the wind is blowing. As speculated in earlier reports, Apple
will be relaunching and rebuilding Beats Music -- the existing $10-a-month subscription streaming service
under its own brand. You can soon say goodbye to the days when download was king.
Source: Huff Post