Apple is diving into music streaming at the right time

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Vinyl may be hot among hipsters, but it's clear that streaming music is the mass market trend. Photo: Jim Merithew/ Cult of Mac

Apple is preparing a complete revamp of Beats Music that will directly integrate the streaming service into all of its products. The timing could not be more perfect, because streaming subscriptions like Spotify have finally overtaken CD sales.

Sales from streaming music providers like Spotify and Rhapsody hit $1.87 billion in the US in 2014, according to The Financial Times. That’s a 29% increase from 2013 and 27% of the entire music industry’s revenues.

CD sales, on the other hand, dipped 12.7% to $1.85 billion in 2014. Thanks to its newfound trendiness, sales of vinyl nearly doubled, but still only accounted for $315 million.

Because of the iTunes Store, digital downloads have been the music industry’s main breadwinner for the past decade. But those sales have been on a steady decline since 2012. They now account for just 10% more of the music industry’s revenues than streaming.

The writing has been on the wall for a long time that streaming is the future. Now it’s time to see if Apple can do what it did with the iTunes Store a decade ago and make itself the leader again.