iTunes Digital Music Sales Fall 13 Percent as Apple Prepares Beats Music Refresh

Apple's digital music sales continue to spiral downward, falling more than 13 percent worldwide thus far in 2014, reports The Wall Street Journal. Last year, digital music sales dropped for the first time since iTunes opened in 2003, falling 5.7 percent year-over-year.

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This continued decline is likely one of the reasons behind Apple's $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music earlier this year. Apple may be hoping to offset this drop in digital music revenue with increased subscription revenue from Beats Music.

The plummeting download numbers help illustrate why Apple bought the $10-a-month subscription streaming service Beats Music earlier this year, as part of its $3 billion acquisition that included headphone maker Beats Electronics. Apple is rebuilding Beats Music and plans to relaunch it next year as part of iTunes, according to a person familiar with the matter.

To attract a broader customer base, Apple is rumored to be revamping Beats Music with an expected relaunch of the service slated for next year. The Cupertino company also is pushing for an industry-leading $5 monthly subscription cost that may increase the number of subscribers willing to pay for a premium service.

Apple is not new to the streaming music business, having launched iTunes Radio last year alongside iOS 7. The Pandora-like service has reportedly failed to achieve its goals of spurring listeners to purchase tracks from the iTunes Store despite being bundled on millions of phones in its available regions, and has yet to expand beyond the United States and Australia.

Tag: wsj.com

Top Rated Comments

MacOSXI Avatar
95 months ago
Maybe because people want high-quality music, not outdated AAC 256 kb/s crap :)
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OriginalMacRat Avatar
95 months ago
Bought it All

Everything worth buying from the 80's has already been purchased.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
95 months ago
Maybe because people want high-quality music, not outdated AAC 256 kb/s crap :)

That's a minority. Subscription streaming is where it's at. If Apple can negotiate something that includes music you can't find on Spotify (e.g Beatles) I'm in.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
avanpelt Avatar
95 months ago
Why wait until next year? Every month that passes, Spotify gets more money from me...
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FriendlyMackle Avatar
95 months ago
audio

Is there a difference between what I download and what I can rip from a CD?

EDIT: In case you are assuming I am mocking you, I am not. This is a legitimate question.

There is a huge technical difference.

You can rip songs in Lossless format from the CD - variable bitrate conversion usually yield between 900 - 1300 kbps audio. Then you are future-proofed against audio player quality improvements.

Honestly, I don't know that I can really hear the difference between a 320kbps audio mp4 and an 1100kbps audio file - even with my best in-ear headphones. I think that may relate to the audio-processing chip in iDevices. Perhaps with a high-quality stereo/amp/speakers, one would notice more of a difference. I rarely use my stereo anymore (I prefer headphones).

Also, you have the CD as an archive to use if you were to ever suffer a media storage catastrophe. :) Also, I find that the overall price is the same.

I'm not someone who buys just one or two songs from an 'album'.

I guess I'm showing my age, but I prefer having the entire album/CD/artist's experience as designed for listening.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jonblatho Avatar
95 months ago
Maybe because people want high-quality music, not outdated AAC 256 kb/s crap :)

Yep! Every time I hear my family and friends talk about iTunes, the first thing I hear them mention is that the music just isn't high-quality enough.

Oh, wait. That never happens. :)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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