Decline of music downloads continues as on-demand streaming audio up 50 percent

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Apple’s presumed plans for an on-demand music service as part of its Beats acquisition is looking increasingly well-timed as Nielsen data shows that U.S. on-demand music consumption climbed 50.1 percent year-on-year, while music downloads fell by 12 percent in the same timeframe.

“With On-Demand streams surpassing 70 billion songs in the first six months of 2014, streaming continues to be an increasingly significant portion of the music industry,” says David Bakula, SVP Nielsen Entertainment …

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How-to: Unofficial tool allows you to import iTunes and Rdio Playlists to Beats Music

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While Beats Music will soon be owned by Apple, the music service does not easily integrate with iTunes. For instance, there is no official Beats tool to link your iTunes library for streaming from Beats Music. However, an unofficial tool called Beats Importer is a temporary solution that seems to work well for adding iTunes and Rdio Playlists to your Beats Music library. We’ve compiled a tutorial for importing your iTunes Playlists to Beats Music, below:

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Declining iTunes sales underline need for Apple to launch a subscription music service

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Declining iTunes sales highlighted by Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty and reported by Fortune appear to underline the need for Apple to move beyond sales of music downloads and into the subscription music business. iTunes sales are down 24 percent year-on-year.

While the slack is being picked up by app sales – a trend previously noted by Asymco’s Horace Dediu – that falling blue line reflects the wider shift in consumer behaviour from purchasing downloads to subscribing to streaming services noted last year by Billboard magazine …  Read more

Listen to Beats Jimmy Iovine talk about the future of music for 40 minutes

With reports that Apple is in final talks to close a $3.2 billion deal to purchase Beats Electronics, we thought it would be interesting to revisit a recent interview with the company’s co-founder Jimmy Iovine from just before the launch of Beats Music. The interview above was from the D: Dive Into Media conference back in February of 2013 and in it Iovine gives a lot of insight into his view of the music industry leading up to the launch of the company’s new Beats Music subscription streaming service.

You’ll also get a sense of just how important a figure Iovine is in the music industry, which might be why Tim Cook is rumored to be keeping Iovine on as a special adviser on creative matters through the Beats deal. Lots of topics are covered, but the interview as a whole gives great perspective into Beats’ mission with its new streaming music service.

Opinion: What is Apple’s thinking in spending $3.2B on buying Beats?

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Apple’s apparent purchase of Beats took everyone by surprise. I must confess that my immediate reaction was to be slightly appalled. As someone whose audio tastes run more to B&O and B+W, I’ve always viewed Beats headphones as over-bassed, over-priced fashion items. But then my tastes in music admittedly differ somewhat from those of the typical Beats customer.

Even so, it’s still a little baffling at first glance. Tim Cook himself said a year ago that Apple asks two questions when considering an acquisition:

Would it help us make a great product, and would the culture fit at Apple?

My immediate answer to both would be “no,” so why would Apple spend $3.2B on a headphone manufacturer with a small sideline streaming music service … ?  Read more

iTunes Radio beats Spotify to take 3rd place in U.S. music streaming, eyes up #2 spot

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iTunes Radio, launched alongside iOS 7 six months ago, has now overtaken Spotify to become the third most popular music streaming service in America – and looks set to take second place within the next quarter or two.

Reporting on listening data compiled by Edison ResearchElectronista estimates that iTunes Radio’s 8 percent market share gives it around 20M listeners, and says that it is the fastest-growing of the top three services …  Read more

Apps, rather than streaming music, may be responsible for ‘peak iTunes’ – analyst

We noted at the end of last year that iTunes music downloads appeared to be on the decline for the first time, a shift that was confirmed this month. The operating assumption has so far been that music streaming services are taking over, and that a growing number of consumers are now content to simply have on-demand access to music, rather than to own it.

Asymco’s Horace Dediu, an analyst who often has interesting things to say, has suggested an alternative explanation: that we’re actually listening to less music …  Read more

Apple Store goes down for updates in run-up to launch event (Update: iWork on iCloud goes down as well)

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As always in the run up to a launch event, the Apple Store has been taken offline for updates ahead of today’s iPad-focused event. Apple has also taken down iWork for iCloud, promising that it will be back in a few hours with “great new features.”

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Additionally, Apple has updated its homepage with a promo for the event …  Read more

Amazon Prime now available as a $7.99/month plan (Updated)

Update: An Amazon spokesperson says this is just a test (but you still can order this per month)“We are always looking at ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers. We are testing a monthly Prime subscription. Beyond that, we don’t have anything further to offer.”

It appears Amazon is joining Hulu and Netflix with a monthly subscription plan for its Prime video streaming service, according to a new pricing scheme found by Hacking Netflix. Some users are seeing the new pricing scheme come up, while others see only the $79/year options (compare right and above).

Amazon also offers a one-month free trial (Hulu free trial, Netflix free trial).

In addition to the free streaming video service, users of Amazon’s Prime get access to free two-day shipping on product orders (amazing to have for the holidays—especially on a month-to-month basis), as well as access to the Kindle lending library.

While Amazon’s streaming player isn’t yet available on Apple TV like Netflix/Hulu, its recent iPad app has impressed us. The $7.99/month price comes out to $95.88 per year. So, if you aren’t timid about joining Prime, it is probably better to jump on the $79/year plan.

9to5Toys.com deals: Get a new Toshiba Wifi-ready BluRay player with Netflix for $30, or a Toshiba 24″ 1080P slim HDTV for $150

With more and more first rate content, according to a recent Changwave/451 Group study, Amazon’s Prime streaming service is said to be gaining on industry heavyweight Netflix (graphed below): Read more

iTunes Match rolling out in Poland, Hungary and others today?

We received several tips that Apple started rolling out the iTunes Match service in Poland, Hungary, and possibly a few other unconfirmed markets. Apple’s official list of availability for iTunes Match by country has not been updated to include Poland, Hungary, or any additional markets, but currently lists 55 countries with access to the service. Local reports claim the service is available for 24.99 euros in Hungary, which is on par with pricing in other markets.

Let us know in the comments if you notice iTunes Match available in your country.
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MOG unlimited music hits the iPad ahead of Spotify

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MOG is a Spotify-like service that streams 14 million songs to your devices and allows you to download music for offline viewing. The free version allows you to stream music against advertising. Meanwhile, the $4.99 version allows you to not only listen to ad-free music but also download music. The $9.99/month version allows unlimited downloads on mobile devices. Today, MOG added one new big device to its list: The iPad.

The iPad version (not universal?) hit the App Store today joining the earlier iPhone version. Perhaps, if you like your music on a native iPad-sized app, it is time to move to MOG (14-day free trial here with unlimited downloads).

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