An unlikely pair, iTunes for Android could be a great thingAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Rumors from the rumor mill are churned out all the time here, some of them less shocking than others. If you happened to be keeping tabs on mobile news yesterday, you were likely to find a surprising gem of a rumor fall into our laps: iTunes for Android, with an added possibility of iTunes offering a streaming music service. While there are plenty of music applications already on the market for Android, iTunes is probably one of the oldest music services out there - one of which we never thought would actually be ported for use on Android.
Although just a rumor at this point, it’s an interesting one. Many people have been using the iTunes media player for more than a decade on their computers, using the service to store and purchase music in a way unlike any other. Before iTunes, if you wanted a song you either bought the entire album or jumped through hoops to pirate the music illegally. When iTunes came along, though, previewing and purchasing individual songs from an album was not only a possibility, but easy to do. For just $0.99 a song, you could create your own playlist without the unwated fluff. The program ended up being wildly successful, especially once the iPod was brought into the picture.
Apple has been holding onto iTunes as an Apple exclusive in the smartphone era, and for a while it seemed that they could do that without any repercussions. After all, the iPhone was as popular as ever at the start, and for a long time other platforms weren’t seen as a threat. People who used iTunes and the iPod were inclined to get the iPhone as well for easy iTunes syncing. But as Android started picking up the pace and a variety of successful third-party music applications hit the market, iTunes was starting to look irrelevant as it was left unchanged. The big thing these days? Streaming music applications.
The thing about iTunes was that it was easier for its time. Paying $0.99 for individual songs worked out for a lot of people who didn’t want to pay $10.99-$15.99 for a full album if they just wanted one or two songs. However, if you have a whole bunch of individual songs that you want to buy, it wouldn’t take long to start racking up a playlist of 500 or more songs, and that’s a lot of money. So what’s the solution? Streaming music players, which gives you the option of creating your own playlists for a premium subscription each month, or stream for free with commercials in between. With streaming music playlists, there are virtually no limits. It’s something that the massive iTunes library could offer and probably be successful with.
iTunes would have its own benefits that would set it apart from other streaming music applications as well, given that iTunes also offers a variety of e-books, magazines and videos that people can purchase. If iTunes were to tier its subscription services to include these alternatives as well, with the addition of being offered on Android, Apple could find itself the new favorite among streaming services (most of which solely offer music).
It would also be interesting in the sense that Apple is typically not known for sharing its services with Google. You see Google services all over the iPhone, but you hardly ever see the reverse. Android doesn’t offer Apple Maps, iMessage, iCloud or iTunes; however, iPhone users do have the option of using Google Maps, Hangouts, Drive and Google Play Music. Although I don’t expect that Apple would start handing over all of its services to Google, it would be a start, and likely a good one at that.
It’s just a rumor right now, of course, but it’s an interesting one for sure. It might be nice to start seeing some Apple services pop up on the Play Store for a change.
Readers, what are your thoughts on iTunes for Android? If it turned out iTunes offered streaming music, would you try them out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!