iTunes on Android?

We often say that certain things will never happen such as Apple releasing Android versions of it’s applications, but every now and then we are taken by surprise. One such surprise is the prospect of iTunes being released for Android. iTunes has long been an Apple only product with the exception of the iTunes version for Windows. However that could soon be about to change if recent reports are to be believed.

Currently Apple has iTunes radio which is a free ad-supported service that allows users to listen to music and create stations based on artists, song and genre. It doesn’t however have a streaming service. Apple is reportedly in talks regarding a streaming service like Spotify though it has been stated that talks are in very early stages.

If Apple were to release iTunes for Android it would certainly shake things up. Although Google does have a music service on Android it’s music collection is quite sparse when compared to iTunes due to licensing restrictions in certain countries. Extending the reach of iTunes would give other services such as spotify a run for their money.

Steve Jobs was dead against bringing iTunes to Windows originally and felt the same about Android. However with Tim Cook at the helm it seems anything is possible as he publicly revealed that he has "no religious issues" porting its software over.

I would personally just like to be able to get iTunes radio in the United Kingdom before worrying about on-demand streaming services. What do you think of the idea of iTunes being available on Android handsets? Is this a bold move by Apple or a terrible idea? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.


iTunes Match Expands to Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Apple has recently expanded iTunes Match availability to several Nordic countries, according to both reports on Twitter and tip from a MacRumors reader. 

iTunes users in Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden now have access to the service, which has a yearly price of 249 kr in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway and €24.99 in Finland. In comparison, iTunes Match is $24.99 in the United States and £21.99 in the U.K...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Apple Beefing Up iAd Team Ahead of iTunes Radio Launch

Apple has been working to expand its iAd team over the past month, posting job listings for dozens of positions just as the company prepares to launch its iTunes Radio streaming music service, notes Ad Age. Apple's iAd team is handling advertising for the new service and has reportedly already signed up a number of high-profile brands to advertise on the service from its launch...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Apple's iTunes Radio Terms With Record Labels Revealed

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple sent its iTunes Radio terms to independent record labels last week and the paper was able to review a copy of the contract. It dictates that Apple will pay record labels both in royalties on individual song plays, as well as how much advertising Apple is able to sell.

During iTunes Radio’s first year, Apple will pay a label 0.13 cents each time a song is played, as well as 15% of net advertising revenue, proportionate to a given label’s share of the music played on iTunes. In the second year, that bumps up to 0.14 cents per listen, plus 19% of ad revenue.

That's compared to the 0.12 cents -- $0.0012 -- that Pandora pays labels per play, although the paper says Apple will be paying publishers more than twice as much in royalties than Pandora. For streaming music, publishers and record labels are paid independently.

There are also restrictions in place that allow Apple to not pay royalties. Some song plays are unpaid if they are already in a listener's iTunes library or part of an album they own, tracks selected by iTunes for special promotion, or if listeners skip a song before the 20 second mark. However, Apple can only avoid royalties for two songs per hour per user.

And while these terms were sent out to independent music labels, the WSJ claims they are similar to the terms major labels like Universal Music Group and Warner Music have signed.

Apple doesn't expect iTunes Radio to generate much ad revenue, but hopes it will drive iTunes sales and help sell more iPhones, iPods and other Apple hardware. The company does hope it can help grow the iAd mobile advertising platform.

Finally, the paper says the terms include "several references to terms for the use of music in talk, weather, sports and news programming" on iTunes Radio and that Apple wouldn't have to pay royalties on music snippets used in those types of programming.

The WSJ believes it is "unlikely Apple will invest much in creating such programming, given that it has long shied from creating its own content".

The details offer a look into the terms long debated in the negotiation process between Apple and music labels. Apple reportedly agreed to higher royalty rates in early April, and then signed deals with the major labels in time to announce the new service at the Worldwide Developers Conference in early June.

Source: Mac Rumours

Apple Announces iTunes Radio, Ad-Supported, Free for iTunes Match Subscribers

Apple announced iTunes Radio today, a new internet radio service that is built into theMusic app in iOS 7. The new feature offers music discovery through featured and genre stations provided by Apple or through the creation of new stations based on a specific artist or song.

 "iTunes Radio is an incredible way to listen to personalized radio stations which have been created just for you,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “It’s the music you love most and the music you’re going to love, and you can easily buy it from the iTunes Store with just one click.

iTunes Radio keeps track of all of the songs listened to for easy access later for purchasing or repeat listening. iTunes Radio will also be available on Mac and PC through iTunes and Apple TV. 

iTunes Radio will be available in the fall for free with ads while iTunes Match subscribers get an ad-free experience. The service will be available starting in the US only at first.

Source: Mac Rumours



Apple Updates iTunes to Version 11.0.3 With New MiniPlayer and Improvements

Apple has released an update to its iTunes music and media application, bringing it to version 11.0.3.

The update updates the compact MiniPlayer, adding album artwork and a progress bar, as well as better support for multi-disc albums and large iTunes libraries. This version of iTunes comes with several new features and improvements, including:

New MiniPlayer. MiniPlayer now includes a beautiful new view that showcases your album artwork. In addition, a progress bar is now built right into MiniPlayer. 

Improved Songs View. You can now enjoy your album artwork while in Songs view.

Multi-Disc Albums. Albums with multiple discs now appear as a single album.

This update also provides performance improvements when searching and sorting large iTunes libraries. It weighs in at 187.50MB on the Mac, and is available through the Mac App Store, Software Update, and direct from Apple's Software Download Page. The last update to iTunes was released back in February.

Source: Mac Rumours

iTunes Now Home to 850,000 iOS Apps, 350,000 iPad Apps

Apple just announced its fiscal second quarter 2013 earnings and, on the earnings call, revealed some information on its iTunes App Store. Apple said it now offers more than 850,000 iOS applications and that 350,000 of those applications are specifically designed for the iPad. The company also recognized $2.4 billion in revenue from iTunes, up 28 percent from the same quarter last year.

The growth is not necessarily a surprise considering Apple’s iTunes range. Apple offers 35 million songs in 119 countries, 50,000 movies in 109 countries and 1.7 million iBooks. The app store is also available in 155 countries, which Apple says covers more than 90 percent of the world’s population.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

iTunes maintains its music download dominance as Amazon plays catch-up

Nearly 10-years after the iTunes Music Store first opened up for business, iTunes remains the market leader in digital music downloads.

According to a research report published by the NPD Group earlier this week, iTunes accounted for approximately 63% of all digital music downloads in 2012. Trailing behind is AmazonMP3 with a somewhat respectable 22% share. While Amazon has a ways to go before even getting close to Apple, the world's largest online retailer has been making significant gains in that regard. In 2011, Amazon's share of the digital music download market checked in at 15%, representing a solid 50% increase year over year.

"Since the launch of Apple's iTunes store, digital music downloads have become the dominant revenue source for the recorded music industry and iTunes continues to be the dominant retailer," said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "There's a belief that consumers don't need to buy music because of streaming options, when in fact streamers are much more likely than the average consumer to buy music downloads."

The report adds that 44 million Americans downloaded a digital song or album last year.

To help contextualize the raging success that is the iTunes Music Store, Apple in early February announced that consumers had downloaded over 25 billion songs. That averages out to about 15,000 songs downloaded per minute.

The iTunes Music Store currently offers over 26 million songs to choose from and is available in 119 countries.

[Source: TUAW]

GTA radio hits Spotify and iTunes

The company has now re-created a massive array of its iconic in-game radio stations as playlists for both Spotify and iTunes.

Eight different Grand Theft Auto titles are represented, from GTA III to Liberty City Stories, Vice City and, of course, GTA IV. Sadly, you won't get the fake in-game advertising, but Rockstar suggests people check out its Advertising Council Repository if you need that particular trip down nostalgia lane.

However, Rockstar noted: "This is all the music from these stations that's currently available on each service — some songs don't yet exist on either Spotify or iTunes, but we're hoping to be able to add the original songs within our control where possible, soon."

For a full list of all stations broken down by game, click here. The page also has direct links for the playlists in both Spotify and iTunes.

[Source: CNET]

Are iTunes Links Being Downranked by Google?

Searching for direct links is a popular way to locate apps, but it appears that Apple's App Store links are being downranked by Google. As TechCrunch points out, a search for "Whatsapp iTunes" or "Whatsapp iPhone" would normally rank the target URL high on the search results page, but that doesn't seem to be the case any longer. 

Searching for Whatsapp's iTunes link with those aforementioned phrases does not return an iTunes URL on the first page of results, and the same goes for many other popular apps like Facebook and Twitter for iOS. Even Apple's own Keynote and Numbers apps do not show up on the first page of results with search terms like "Keynote iTunes."

When searching for "Numbers iPhone," in fact, the iTunes link does not show up until the eighth page of search results. The results can vary slightly depending on whether one is logged in or out of Google, but for affected apps, the links remain low in the rankings. 

Not all apps appear to be suffering from the search bug. For example, a search for “Temple Run: Oz iPhone” returns a top ranked iTunes link, as does a similar search for Minecraft: Pocket Edition. 

Both TechCrunch and The Next Web have gone through several other examples of apps that appear to be suffering from downranked search results. There's no specific workaround for the search result mystery, but as noted by TechCrunch, adding "iTunes" to queries usually works to provide the proper links, though as seen above, that's not always the case.

For most apps, adding "iTunes" works to deliver the iTunes URL results, whether logged in or out. It's the other types of queries that are difficult, and it's difficult to pinpoint an exact time when these changes began. Because Google is constantly refining its algorithms, and many users are on Google while logged in, tweaks to search rankings are rarely spotted immediately, unless it's a case where a URL has been banned entirely, whether or purpose or by accident.

According to AppsFire co-founder Ouriel Ohayon, the search issue began recently, possibly just today. While Google has been contacted, the company has yet to issue a response on the odd search results. 

Update: A Google spokesperson issued the following statement to The Verge: "We've been having some issues fetching pages from the iTunes web servers, and as a result some people may have had problems finding iTunes apps in search easily. We're working with the team there to ensure search users can find what they're looking for."

[Source: MacRumors]


New 'in-app purchases' warning on iTunes, after furore

Remember that family whose son racked up £1,700 worth of in-app purchases in 10 minutes on his dad's iPad? Apple is taking steps to ensure that kind of thing doesn't happen again, by introducing a warning on iTunes for apps that encourage you to spend once you've downloaded, the Guardianreports.

Any such app now bears the warning "Offers In-App Purchases", as you can see from theTemple Run 2 icon here. But is it enough?

Initially, the warning only appeared on the desktop version of iTunes, so if you were browsing on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, it didn't show up. It was quickly extended to mobile devices, however, and a good thing too -- more than two thirds of iTunes downloads go directly to iOS devices.

The Cupertino company has been in hot water recently over in-app purchases (or freemium apps). As well as reimbursing the family whose five-year-old spent £1,700 on Zombies vs Ninja, Apple has settled a US lawsuit concerning similar cases, agreeing to shell out £66 million in refunds to disgruntled parents.

Apple has said it's up to parents to familiarise themselves with the parental controls on its devices, which you can do here. Parents can turn off in-app purchases in the settings.

I think a large burden falls on the parents to monitor what their kids are up to on their devices, but obviously this isn't possible at all times. Apple should get tighter on what's allowed to be sold in-app. Virtual items costing £70 a pop, in a game suitable for nine-year-olds, for example, seems frankly ridiculous to me.

And it's not just apps on iTunes that let you rack up a huge bill either -- Android's app emporium isn't completely innocent either.

[Source: CNET]

iTunes is more than earning its keep

As writer John Paczkowski notes in an AllThingsD article today, iTunes was originally "conceived as a low-margin 'break-even' operation intended to drive hardware sales" -- in particular sales of iPods. Now that the iTunes Store is used to sell more than just songs and videos, it's turning into a "significant profit center for the company".

Paczkowski was commenting on numbers from Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, who notes that now that Apple has folded its in-house software group into iTunes, Apple software is having "significant implications for iTunes margins." The software, including items like iWork, iLife, Final Cut Pro, Aperture and more, has much higher profit margins than traditional iTunes items like music, books, video, and apps.

Dediu deduced that Apple sold about US$3.6 billion worth of its software products in 2012, and that profit margins for software is usually about 50 percent. If that's the case for Apple -- and Dediu is usually correct in his assumptions -- then iTunes is generating operating margins of about 15 percent on gross revenue. That's about $2 billion in profit for 2012, or as Paczkowski so eloquently put it, one "hell of a way to break even."

[Source: TUAW]