According to a new report from Billboard, Apple is considering launching an iTunes Store app on the Android platform to combat declining music sales on the digital platform. The report also says that Apple execs are in talks with high level label executives to discuss debuting an on-demand streaming service.
Apple has opened exploratory talks with senior label executives about the possibility of launching an on-demand streaming service that would rival Spotify and Beats Music, according to three people familiar with the talks. Apple is also thinking about adding an iTunes App for Android phones, the Google rival that has been growing faster than the iPhone, these sources said.
The move to an on-demand streaming service could transform iTunes Radio from the Pandora-like radio model to the more robust on-demand model used by Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music, and others. The iTunes Store is currently available on Apple’s OS X and iOS platforms as well as Microsoft’s Windows operating system, a move that made the iPod a viable product for PC users, but the mobile version is only available to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users.
Back in 2011, Steve Jobs was confronted with this very proposition as Android was proving to be a viable platform and serious competitor to iOS.
“We thought about whether we should do a music client for Android. We put iTunes on Windows in order to sell more iPods. But I don’t see an advantage of putting our own music app on Android, except to make Android users happy. And I don’t want to make Android users happy.”
But that’s not to say that the move is impossible. Tim Cook has made comments that effectively left the door open for such a move:
“Apple has no religious issue porting an iOS app to Android if it made sense.”
The report comes as iOS and OS X users await more widespread iTunes Radio expansion as the service is currently limited to customers in the United States and Australia leaving Canada, the United Kingdom, and others without the service. It’s also no secret that iTunes Radio has offered a less diverse experience than competing services as some users note repetitive stations and the lack of on-demand consumption.
Earlier this month, our own Mark Gurman reported that Apple is considering pulling iTunes Radio out of the standard Music app on iOS and promoting it to a standalone application. The move would be just one step to give iTunes Radio more visibility in a move to compete with Pandora, Spotify, and similar music streaming services.