TECH
10/24/2014 05:07 pm ET Updated Oct 24, 2014

Downloading Music Is Quickly Going Out Of Fashion

Blixt A./Flickr

First records died, then cassette tapes, then CDs and now, downloads. That's right, we're all but officially in the age of streaming services.

Apple might operate the largest online music store in the world, but the Apple Store's iTunes digital music sales have fallen about 13 percent this year, a source familiar with the matter tells the Wall Street Journal. The writing is on the wall.

Meanwhile, Spotify is surging ahead. The music streaming service hit 10 million global paid subscribers in May, up from 6 million paid subscribers in March 2013. Throw in people who use the service but don't pay, and Spotify's now lays claim to 40 million active users, up from 24 million in March 2013.

Then there's Pandora, the Internet radio service with 80 million users, which dominates the streaming music industry. Those numbers have steadily increased, up from 70 million in May 2013, and listening hours have continued to increase too.

Of course, there's a big difference between the Apple Store on the one hand and Spotify and Pandora on the other. Apple's iTunes makes mountain of money, while Pandora occasionally turns a little profit and Spotify isn't even profitable yet.

Nevertheless, Apple apparently sees which way the wind is blowing. As speculated in earlier reports, Apple will be relaunching and rebuilding Beats Music -- the existing $10-a-month subscription streaming service -- under its own brand.

You can soon say goodbye to the days when download was king.

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