Apple might extend iTunes to Android

iTunes Android 300wAlong with rumors that Apple is mulling a subscription music service, reports are swirling that Apple might consider creating an Android app for iTunes, distributing the world’s largest music store outside of the Apple ecosystem for the first time. The original report comes from Billboard, citing unnamed sources.

The news (if it can be called news) is a significant indicator of Apple’s openness to business paths that contradict firm distribution and branding policies created and enforced by Steve Jobs, late CEO and creative visionary of the company. The Google-owned Android mobile operating system is Apple’s fierce rival. Android-powered phones and tablets represent about 80% of marketshare, with Apple’s iOS platform comprising less that 20%.

Download music sales have dropped in recent years. Streaming music, representing consumers flocking to access instead of ownership, grew to 21% of total U.S. music-business revenue in 2013, according to a recent RIAA report. An extension of the iTunes Music Store to Android devices would presumably bolster sales, allowing iTunes customers who own Android devices to consolidate their music buying regardless of what screen they are looking at.

Brad Hill