Record labels reportedly underwhelmed by iTunes Radio, want more change from Apple

iTunes Radio

There are two places in the world — the movie and record industries — where it's apparently permissible to be stunned that people will stop paying for something when they can get it for free. That's where the record industry is today, reportedly disappointed by the lack of revenue coming their way after the launch of iTunes Radio. The report comes courtesy of Billboard:

"The a-la-carte consumption model is 11 years old and at this point the decline in the U.S. download sales seems unstoppable; it doesn't seem like the store is refreshable," says one label executive, who went on to suggest Apple has no choice but to embrace the subscription model." But that executives believes that while digital sales will continue to deteriorate over the next 9 months, he says that some consumers will still prefer to stick with the download model, leaving Apple to service three channels--the download store, iTunes Radio and a premium subscription model--to reach music fans.

There's no denying that subscription services have taken off in recent years, and the licensing fees paid by those services are adding to the labels' bottom lines. Bloomberg quotes one independent label as saying that their revenue has gone from 70% from iTunes in 2012 to 50% today. Record label executives are said to be pushing Apple to revamp the iTunes Store and launch a premium subscription service, but if Apple is planning on doing so, they're not letting on any signs that such a play is in the cards.

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Derek Kessler

Managing Editor of Mobile Nations, occasional web designer, Army musician, armchair pundit, news addict, all-around nerd, professional ranter, and user of many phones.

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Reader comments

Record labels reportedly underwhelmed by iTunes Radio, want more change from Apple


iTunes Radio is complete trash! At least the paid version is as that is the only thing I've ever requested a refund from Apple in 5 years. Paid version isn't completely ad free.

I have iTunes Match and have never heard a commercial in iTunes Radio. And I don't consider Radio a paid service. I'm paying for my music in the cloud, and commercial free Radio is just a bonus. I love the service.

And music industry? I don't care.

I paid for Match because I wanted zero commercials but after every 3-5 songs I'd hear an advertisement for some album I could care less about being sold on itunes. I cancelled and went back to Pandora.

we need a subscription service. I've had a subscription service since I first bough my zune, then on my windows phone, then recently on my android, now I'm here, and there is not a good one I've found yet, I want to use the native music app, not a third party app.

I agree, it would be great to have an iTunes music subscription service instead of the Rdio one I'm paying for now. I was disappointed that iTunes Radio wasn't a subscription service ever since they've launched it and haven't used it.

Maybe if iTunes Radio did something similar to Spotify then they could see more revenue. It's the randomized streaming (and lacking music library) that makes iTunes Radio so dismal. I like it for NPR and a few Indie channels I made but the hip-hop categories are awful: basically playing older hip-hop that's somewhat new, so instead of like classics it plays rap from like the last year or two. Basically sucks.

But record labels will always lose in this aspect. Maybe if Apple did a subscription aside from iTunes Match, they could reap the revenue from that?

Sent from the iMore App

You know who else is underwhelmed by iTunes Radio and hence iTunes in general? iTunes users.

Sent from the iMore App

I also think there is no one perfect solution that's why I use several of them to keep the mix fresh. Between free streaming services and my own collection I'am never disappointed.