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Op-Ed: How Apple could lift iTunes music sales in 1 simple step

Op-Ed: How Apple could lift iTunes music sales in 1 simple step

October 28, 2014

People just don’t buy music anymore, as Apple has finally admitted in a recent SEC filing. Year over year, iTunes music sales are down nearly 14 percent. Thanks to streaming music services, that trend is likely to continue. However, there is something Apple could do to make iTunes better, and in the process, at least stabilize music sales.

Rumors suggest that Apple will roll the Beats Music service into iTunes sometime next year. When they do, the service is likely to cost $4.99 per month for unlimited streaming. Currently, a Beats Music subscription costs $9.99 per month.

Pushing prices down alone isn’t going to right this ship. Competing services such as Spotify and Rdio will simply match Apple’s price, thus maintaining the status quo.

Instead, Apple needs to think outside the box and offer an enhanced package. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll call this iTunes Music Extra, and base it on Amazon’s audio book service, Audible.

Benefits to membership

Benefits to membership

Amazon offers various membership levels for Audible. For $14.99 per month, for example, a subscriber can purchase one book; for $22.99, they receive two titles, and so on. An Audible membership also includes a 30 percent discount on audiobooks and programs not purchased with audio credits.

With iTunes Music Extra, subscribers would get unlimited streaming, plus have the opportunity to purchase a certain number of albums per month based on their subscription level. In the process, they would also receive additional albums at a discount, for as long as their membership is maintained. These discounts could also be used to “Complete My Album.”

Naturally, something like iTunes Music Extra would require the backing of the music industry to even get off the ground. However, Apple is the one company that could probably convince the industry to move in this direction. Otherwise, as Apple would strongly suggest, music sales would continue to dive.

See also: Apple’s App Store tops 85 billion downloads with year-on-year revenue up by 36 percent.

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