I find it fascinating to watch all the posturing going on in the digital music delivery business. It all started with iTunes – who ruled the legal, digital download space for years. Multiple services (ZUNE, Rhapsody, Napster, etc…) have tried, and failed to take more than a tiny amount of market share from Apple.
But that's all changing because of Spotify, Deezer and a little company called Google. The article below opened my eyes to why.
In an interesting turn of events, Apple is reportedly considering opening up and launching their own streaming music service to compete with the likes of similar services like Spotify and the newly released Beats music. In addition to this they are apparently considering launching an Android app for the streaming service to go along with the launch of the service itself, all in an effort to attack the declining sales of US iTunes music downloads according to sources that are close to the matter. People still use iTunes? All jokes aside, it has been difficult for apple to compete with services that offer streaming music at a low price, as the music libraries are competitively similar in size, and listening is unlimited, all for a small monthly fee. Downloading the same number of songs through iTunes that you would have at your disposal with a service like Spotify would take massive amounts of money, even with most songs on iTunes being available as singles with most as low as $0.99 a hit.
Itâ€™s interesting to hear these possibilities as Apple and iTunes have always been known to be a partnered exclusive company and service. While Googleâ€™s popular Google Play Music is available on multiple platforms including Mac, Windows, Android and iOS, Appleâ€™s iTunes is only accessible to those who use iOS devices or Mac computers. They have effectively closed themselves off from other possibilities for quite some time, and it used to work for them when they were the dominating force in digital music. With the iPod reaching its end of life though, and a myriad of subscription based music services available on virtually any platform you can think of, Apple will have to find a way to take the once reigning king of music services and transform it if they want to compete.
So I did some quick research to see how Apple's iOS competes with Google's Android market share for portable device sales.
… If you look at the raw numbers for sales market share between Android and iOS devices, Google seems to be dominating the space. In Q4 2013, Gartner reported that Android had 77.8% worldwide market share while iOS had only 17.8% share. One quarter prior, Android had 81.9% and iOS took second place with 12.1%. It is worth noting that, according to ComScore, iOS market share in the lucrative US market is about 40%, while Android accounts for around 50% of US sales. The problem with these numbers is that the do not take into account the fragmentation that Google has allowed with the Android platform.
What goes around…comes around
One of the legacies of Steve Jobs was his/Apple's decision to keep iTunes exclusive to iDevices (there is no iTunes App for an Android phone). While this worked to Apple's advantage for years, they now find themselves becoming uncompetitive now that Spotify and Deezer have Apps for both iOS and Android phones.
So what does this mean for you?
Choices, lots of choices for digital music coming with fewer restrictions on how you'll be able to build, share and then deliver great music to your classes. Many of us found Spotify to be revolutionary – it completely changed my views about renting vs. buying music. But now Spotify is SOP (standard operating procedure). I'm guessing that a few years from now we'll be using a music service that doesn't even exist today and we will access it using a device none of us has even seen.
And we can't wait to help you understand how you'll use it in your class 🙂