People love music, it’s a universal fact, and Apple practically saved the music industry when they launched iTunes way back in early 2001, making it easy for people to buy digital files. The thing is, iTunes hasn’t really aged well. In a world where you can spend $10 per month and get unlimited access to roughly 20 million songs, paying $1 per track seems a tad bit ridiculous.
Some will say that when you buy your music on iTunes you own it, versus simply renting it via a streaming service, and those people are definitely right, but there’s a whole other issue that’s not being discussed. It’s music discoverability.
If you have to pay for each individual track, then you’re likely not going to explore new artists since you might buy something you never want to listen to again. With streaming services, you can listen to whatever you like, and if you don’t like it, then the only thing you’ll have wasted is your time.
Is there a middle ground between paying per track and paying for access? Yes, it’s radio. Pandora is hugely successful because it helps people find new music simply by playing tracks it thinks you might like. If you hear a song you fancy, boom, hit the buy button and it’s yours.
Apple is looking to launch a service called iRadio that’s pretty much a Pandora clone, but they’re running into some snags. In order for them to launch the service, they need to pay the people who own the music. Translation: Record companies. Two companies Apple is currently negotiating with are Sony and Warner Music.
When and if those deal close, then you’ll get your iRadio. Until then, enjoy Spotify.