Apple (S AAPL) executives are looking for ways to deal with declining digital music sales, and options discussed with record label executives apparently include the launch of a Spotify-like music subscription service as well as the idea to use — gasp! — Android (S GOOG) for iTunes music sales, according to a Billboard report. Billboard cautions that these currently are just ideas being floated, but both would break with long-held beliefs within Apple.
Steve Jobs famously argued that people don’t want to rent music, and the company has steered clear of any subscription offering ever since. However, in the face of double-digit declines for digital music downloads, subscriptions may look like an increasingly attractive option. Sales of digital songs are down 11 percent year-over-year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Apple made a first step towards music services when it launched iTunes Radio last year, but a paid subscription service would go significantly further.
The idea that Apple would build an Android app for iTunes seems just as controversial. Sure, Apple did bring iTunes to Windows, but that move was largely meant to increase iPad and iPhone sales. An Android app wouldn’t have such a clear purpose, and be more of an admission that around the world, Android handset sales have been stronger than iPhone sales.