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Apple rumoured to launch Spotify competitor

Katharine Byrne
24 Mar 2014
iPod Touch
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On-demand streaming service could have Android app

Apple could be launching its own streaming service to rival Spotify and Beats Music, according to Billboard.

On top of rumours about a potential 12in MacBook Air this weekend, it's been reported that Apple is supposedly in early talks with senior label executives about launching its own on-demand music service.

Billboard also reported that Apple may be contemplating an Android version of iTunes as well, which would open up the service to a much larger audience than ever before.

This comes as a surprise, as the late Apple founder Steve Jobs was widely known to be against the idea of a subscription service, and was quoted that he didn't "see an advantage of putting our own music app on Android, except to make users happy" in Walter Isaacon's biography.

Citing sources, Billboard suggest this new strategy could be in response to the deteriorating state of music download sales in the US. In 2014, digital album sales are down 13 per cent and digital track sales are down 11 per cent from this time last year, while revenue from streaming services is on the rise.

"They are feeling out some people at labels on thoughts about transitioning its customers from iTunes proper to a streaming service," says one of Billboard's major label sources. "So when you buy a song for $1.29, and you put it in your library, iTunes might send an e-mail pointing out that for a total of, say, $8 a month you can access that song plus all the music in the iTunes store. It's all in the 'what if' stage."

Apple already has a streaming service in the form of iTunes Radio, which launched last September, but this is currently only available in the US and Australia and users have limited control over the songs they can listen to.

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