Apple's digital music revenues are declining, but could it really bring iTunes to Android?
As Apple's revenue from music sales on iTunes continue to decline, the company is considering the previously unthinkable — an iTunes app for Android. According to a report from Billboard today, Apple is looking to fill the gap left by declining traditional music sales through iTunes by both expanding the store to Android and launching a paid music subscription service. Google brought its own Google Play Music service over to iOS, but it'd be an entirely different situation if Apple did the same for Android.
Apple makes up roughly 40 percent of the U.S. digital music market, but the market as a whole is seeing double-digit declines in sales in recent years. It currently has a free, ad-supported radio service in iTunes Radio, but makes a vast majority of its profits in media from the standard single and album sales through the iTunes Store. The move to a flat rate subscription music service could be a new revenue stream for Apple, but it probably wouldn't close the gap and put it back on a growth path in digital music revenue.
Expanding out to Android would open its store to potentially hundreds of millions of new devices and users who would otherwise not shop at iTunes for music, but that doesn't make this an automatic slam dunk. Google and Amazon have pretty well entrenched themselves in the digital music sales on Android devices, not to mention the intense competition in the subscription music arena with the likes of Rdio, Spotify, Pandora, Beats Music and of course Google itself.
Most think that hell would freeze over before iTunes came to Android, but it may just be the way that Apple continues to expand its music revenues. The purported talks to make these new apps a reality are in very early stages, so it could be some time before our suspicions are confirmed.