U.S. Music Fans Continue Shift to Streaming Services as Apple Readies Beats Revamp

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Paid music downloads, which have dominated the digital music market for years thanks in large part to Apple's iTunes Store, showed accelerating weakness in the United States last year as music streaming services like Spotify and a resurgence of vinyl record sales exploded in popularity.

    According to Nielsen SoundScan (via The Wall Street Journal), streaming music grew a remarkable 54 percent in 2014, moving from 106 billion songs in 2013 to 164 billion in 2014. That growth contrasts with traditional song downloads that dropped off significantly from 2013. Paid downloads for full music albums declined 9 percent in 2014, with individual song downloads seeing an even larger 12 percent drop-off. Overall, according to SoundScan, Americans bought 257 million albums in 2014, 106.5 million of which were downloaded digitally.


    Amid the digital shift from individual downloads to streaming, an older technology also saw a resurgence in 2014 with vinyl record sales at their highest levels since SoundScan began tracking music sales in 1991. Nielsen's tracking shows 9.2 million vinyl records sold, representing a 52 percent overall increase in sales from 2013.

    With lackluster overall digital music downloads mirroring a similar drop in iTunes Store sales, Apple has been looking at ways to improve its positioning in the music market. Apple's initial effort with iTunes Radio to offer a Pandora-like experience that also seeks to drive iTunes Store purchases has had a less-than-stellar reception with availability in only the United States and Australia. That weak entry likely spurred Apple to pursue last year's acquisition of Beats Music for a full-fledged subscription streaming service.

    Recent reports have indicated that Apple will be pursuing a major revamp of Beats early this year that may see prominent integration of the paid streaming service into iOS and iTunes, perhaps including a rebranding under the iTunes name.

    Article Link: U.S. Music Fans Continue Shift to Streaming Services as Apple Readies Beats Revamp
  2. Cayden macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2014
    Please just keep iTunes Radio free with ad support
  3. matamoris macrumors regular

    Sep 3, 2011
    How else would they be downloaded? I'm wondering why downloadable movies, games, and music are being referred to as "digital" downloads as opposed to just "downloads" or something more sensible and less redundant.
  4. sundog925 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 19, 2011
    My iTunes match and pandora do everything I need them to, which is why I will never pay for a premium radio streaming service. There's too many carbon copies of the same product.
  5. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    Apple has some huge opportunities in this area. Streaming is here to stay.

    The resurgence of vinyl is interesting. Probably a trendy flash rather than a long-term outlook.
  6. The Barron macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2009
    iTunes Store Credits Future

    Having received a few iTunes gift cards, I redeemed them on iTunes and now have over $100 in credits.

    I wonder if these will be able to port over to Apple's music streaming service, assuming there will be fees associated.

    Normally I use the iTunes store for renting movies when I travel or purchasing a few songs occasionally.
  7. The Barron macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2009
    Interesting Point

    I have also received iTunes gift cards and wonder if the iTunes store is going to be changed due to the Beats streaming being started. Hmmm
  8. Zxxv macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2011
    Its amazing how parents have failed to educate their children in regards paying for what amounts to a glorified radio station.
  9. HyperliteG4 macrumors regular


    Jul 18, 2002
    Southern California
    I hope the roll Beats into the iTunes Radio and/or replace iTunes Radio with Beats. I really liked the mixes that Beats had being that they were all hand selected. I feel these mixes had a much better flow than some computer's algorithm, which is why I don't necessarily like Spotify or Pandora. Rdio was good but since I have so much invested in the iTunes experience with my iTunes Match, etc, I don't want to spend money with another service.
  10. xlost6 macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2011
  11. unobtainium macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2011
    Are you referring to Spotify? Because that's not what it is. You can download and save any album to your devices. Their music catalogue has almost everything. The monthly fee is less than the cost of *one* album per month. What's not to like? Spotify is incredible.
  12. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    With 164 billion songs streamed, consumers clearly value access and convenience. It is fine to have a different philosophy regarding your consumption of media, but summarily dismissing those with a different view doesn't make any sense.

    Apple is going to follow the market. There's no reason not to.
  13. NightFox macrumors 68020


    May 10, 2005
    Shropshire, UK
    Cause or effect?
  14. Rychiar macrumors 6502


    May 16, 2006
    Waterbury, CT
    ugh just goes to show how little people these days care about music. I want to OWN the music i listen to and just have my albums as always
  15. iStrikeRx macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2014
    In all honesty, they could quite easily roll iTunes Match, Radio, and Beats into one service.

    iTunes Plus?

    They already have AppleCare Plus, and iPhone 6 Plus, so it'd fit right in with their silly naming patterns.
  16. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    Phoenix, USA
    Does beats have anything like Spotify Connect?
  17. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    A change in the consumption model does not inherently indicate that people value the product less. Consumers are not dictating the terms, rather reacting to the available methods of delivery and voting with their wallets.

    We need to stop blaming consumers for enjoying a model that was put in front of them to use. If artists and labels don't like it, then they should dictate better terms for themselves. Taylor Swift understands this.
  18. StevieD100 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2014
    Living Dangerously in Retirement
    More money than sense perhaps

    sure it is convenient but only if you are connected to the mothership and prepared to may thoe sometimes silly mobile data charges.

    So you go to Europe on holiday and suddenly you are into hundreds of $$$ in roaming charges. Opps!
    What price convenience now?

    I travel all over the world. My music collection fits nicely on my iPod 64Gb.
    Apart from the U2 freebie, I buy it all on CD.
    Even better convenience methinks.
    But there agaion, I'm not 21 any more. If I was, I'd have seen Hendrix's last gig on the Isle of Wight in the last 6 months. I'm clearly not the taget market for streaming and as long as the Music Moguls don't forget that in many western counties there will soon be more wrinklies than youngsters all will be fine.
  19. nburwell macrumors 601


    May 6, 2008
    I'm in the same boat. I have close to $100 iTunes credit on my account, and I don't download any music since I have Spotify. Thankfully since I have ATV, I put the credit I have towards renting movies, along with reupping my iTunes Match subscription as well.

    I'm sure that Apple would allow us to use iTunes credit for their streaming service, especially since I paid for iTunes Match last via my store credit.
  20. genovelle macrumors 6502a

    May 8, 2008
    All these articles talk about the number of streams, but fail to mention how many streams per user. That would be a better metric as the same users could just increase their streaming, like giving access to other people they know
  21. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    There appears to be a lot of misunderstanding of how services like Spotify and Beats actually work.

    If you need tracks available to you offline, you simply download them to your device and listen to them as desired. This is no different than syncing your iPod with tracks that you purchased in iTunes. The added benefit is that if there is a song you forgot to bring along you can get it at any time if you so choose. In our increasingly mobile world, this model is rich with value to a large percentage of the market.
  22. Solomani macrumors 68040


    Sep 25, 2012
    Alberto, Canado
    And they will be paying on a regular basis, like month-to-month, year after year, forever/indefinitely, or until they stop paying for the service, whichever comes first…

    … at which point the music becomes silent.
  23. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    I agree that the metrics could be improved, but that's no reason to discount the 164,000,000,000 number. That is a lot of streams no matter how anyone attempts to dismiss it.
  24. ghostface147 macrumors 68030


    May 28, 2008
    Is there a streaming service where I can stream any song at any time?
  25. avanpelt macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    Let's see...$10 a month and you can be your own "DJ" and listen to anything on Spotify as much as you want.

    By comparison, $10 *might* get you one full album on iTunes. "Rent" virtually anything for $10 vs. owning one album for $10. From a purely economics standpoint in terms of quantity, Spotify makes a lot of sense to me.

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252 January 2, 2015