Apple To Breathe Life Into Drying Music Downloads With iTunes Store Redesign

iTunes Store on iPhone

photo: Jim Merithew, Cult of Mac

When iTunes Radio was introduced, it was clear that Apple hadn’t made the true Spotify competitor everyone had hoped for. Instead, it was designed to get people to buy more music from the iTunes Store—hence the buy button at the top right of every song.

Sadly, iTunes Radio hasn’t helped drive music downloads for Apple, so the company is considering a “dramatic overhaul” of the iTunes Store.

The report comes from Billboard, which recently said that Apple is considering iTunes for Android and an on-demand streaming service more akin to Spotify and Rdio.

In a poll of Cult of Mac readers, the majority wanted Apple to make an iTunes app for Android devices. Billboard notes that “Apple is being forced to consider options that would have been out of the question a few years earlier.”

Apple To Breathe Life Into Drying Music Downloads With iTunes Store Redesign

The iTunes Store still accounts for 90% of the music retail business, but downloads have been on the decline lately. Only around 1%-2% of iTunes Radio listeners buy music, according to the report. That’s pretty damning.

Apple has tried streaming music before, ala iTunes Match. Hasn’t worked. If it can’t make something that is more appealing than Spotify or Rdio, then maybe paying more attention to the existing iTunes Store will work?

While plenty of cosmetic changes and additions have been made, the iTunes Store has not undergone a significant redesign since it was introduced more than a decade ago. Whether it’s a streaming service, iTunes for Android, or a new iTunes Store, something clearly needs to be done.

  • Ben Klaiber

    It’s like cult of Mac has a stroke before writing this stuff..

    iTunes Store is owning 90% of all digital music sales? That’s a clear win after ten years of competitors using everything under the sun and failing.

    1-2% of iTunes Radio users buy music? That’s not a fail, that’s a damning reality call about that demographic of user. They don’t spend. There don’t buy music. They want every song on earth for $5 a month. That’s a losing customer base to be pursuing. Apple isn’t going to chase the freeloaders.

    The majority of cult of (android with a little Mac stuff written on the side) users (who obviously all own android phones, which explaines the daily dose of you shoving cultofandroid articles down our throats) want iTunes on android? Why? So they can demand apple stop selling music and provide it all free, destroying the music

    • ChanceDM

      “That’s a clear win after ten years of competitors using everything under the sun and failing.”

      That is impressive, but I wonder why the Amazon MP3 store isn’t doing better. Is it really that lop-sided? I buy pretty much all my music on Amazon just because of the price difference – I rarely pay more than $7 for an album. The only advantage I can think of with iTunes is that it’s easier to purchase and directly download to my phone, but if I’m spending half as much on music (about an album per month), the extra work to download to my Mac then sync via iTunes is worth it.

      Is there something I’m missing, as to why iTunes is dominating Amazon?

      • ChanceDM

        I may have answered my own question. If people are mostly buying individual songs, price is not as much of an issue and it’s mostly with albums with which Amazon is cheaper.

  • Aannddyy

    Apple should simply work on keeping paying customers happy. People who will put up with advertising in order to listen to music for free are not going to help deliver the kind of revenue that keeps Apple flush with cash. Premium experience for those who can afford it. It doesn’t cost that much to buy the music you really like.

  • http://www.feastofbeast.com DJBabyBuster

    Vinyl is killing the digital music industry.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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