Tomorrow Apple makes it jump into subscription streaming with Apple Music, but iTunes downloads remain a significant part of its business and, more importantly, the record industry’s business. In our Music Ally Report last week, we estimated that iTunes generated $2.5bn for labels last year – equal to 15% of the total recorded music business globally. Downloads might be declining in major territories, but this is still a huge market.
There is going to be a (possibly very bumpy) period of transition, but Apple is extending the storage capacity for its iTunes Match service from 25,000 songs to 100,000 as part of the iOS 9 upgrade. This is also going to be baked into an Apple Music subscription, meaning Apple is going full “belt and braces” here as it guides its users from an ownership-led idea of music to a cloud-based one (i.e. let users upload and access their existing digital files from the cloud and eventually – possibly – switch completely to gain access to 30m+ tracks via a subscription).