Apple could be preparing to bolster its iTunes business by unleashing an iTunes Radio app and iTunes Store app in the Google Play Store.
News about a possible iTunes Radio and iTunes Store apps for device’s running Google’s Android operating system first surfaced last week in a report from Billboard. According to that original report, Apple has just entered early stage talks with music rights holders to bring both apps to Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and all-new HTC One.
It’s been less than a year since Apple formally announced and revealed iTunes Radio, the automated music playlist and audio streaming tool including in its iOS 7 update. iTunes Radio itself was seen as a small feature designed to take on the streaming services of Spotify, Pandora and Xbox Music. iPhone and iPad users get to listen to automated streams based on their tastes absolutely free of charge. Users who pay for an iTunes Match subscription get to listen to iTunes Radio streams without any ads.
No doubt, Apple announcing Android versions of any apps and services that are exclusive to its devices sounds farfetched. Though Google usually offers its apps in the iTunes Store, Apple has stayed away from the Google Play Store. Under former CEO Steve Jobs the company stuck to hoarding its experiences for users of its own hardware. The theory was that Apple could use those features to create a great user experience and make more money on selling the smartphones, tablets and Macs themselves than if they actually made each individual app or service like iTunes available to other users. That’s a strategy that’s worked in the past, users don’t just buy the iPhone for its great design, many flock to the device because they simply can’t get things like the iTunes Store on any other device. It also helps that most content purchased through the iTunes Store won’t open on non-Apple devices.
An Android version of the iTunes Store and iTunes Radio could be a boon for both users and Apple. Though it has plenty of rivals, the iTunes Store is one of if not the most well-stocked digital stores in existence. The iTunes Store boasts music, music videos, television shows, movies, books, college lectures and audiobooks. No other store has matched the iTunes Store’s shear array of different media types and making that available to more users would surely boast the iTunes Store’s profile.
How an Android version of iTunes Radio would play is a bit unclear, the service is definitely cheaper than paid offerings from Pandora, Spotify and Xbox Music. On the other hand, we don’t yet know how many users have paid the $25 annual price of iTunes Match to disable ads in iTunes Radio. It could be that the service just isn’t as robust a music subscription service as Apple hoped it would be. Competing with subscription services is key since iTunes Music Store sales have fallen thanks to subscription music services.
Today’s report indicates that talks are ongoing, meaning users won’t see an iTunes Radio or iTunes Store app for Android in the immediate future.