WALLED GARDEN CONTENT VENDOR Apple is considering launching a digital music service to extract more money from its loyal fan base, according to an online report.
Billboard reported on the rumour this weekend. It said that the Cupertino company is planning the Spotify-like system because music industry reports show a decline in digital music sales.
Billboard pointed to two recording industry reports, one from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that showed an increase in digital streaming revenues, and another from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which found that streaming revenues have increased globally.
While Apple declined to comment on the report, Billboard claimed to have sources that are ready to say what is happening and where it is going down.
"They are feeling out some people at labels on thoughts about transitioning its customers from iTunes proper to a streaming service," said one unnamed person described as a "major label source".
"So when you buy a song for $1.29, and you put it in your library, iTunes might send an email 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."
Spotify is emerging as a leader in the music streaming market and this year it picked up Echo Nest, a music recommendation system that some people said could shake up the industry.
Already rival firms have announced that since the Spotify deal they have decided to end their relationships with Echo Nest and its technology. In a statement, both Rhapsody and Napster announced their departure.
"The Echo Nest has been a good partner for us, but we have never been completely satisfied with recommendations from any third party. As the number two music streaming service globally, we decided now is the time to invest heavily in personalisation based on our experience as a pioneer in streaming music for over 13 years," said Paul Springer, Rhapsody chief product officer and SVP for the Americas.
"Customers shouldn't notice any interruption and over the next several months they will experience a more personalised listening experience across both the Rhapsody and Napster applications."