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iTunes sales down 13% this year as Apple plans to rebuild, rebrand Beats Music subscription service

Sales from Apple's iTunes Store have fallen significantly thus far in 2014, helping to push forward the company's alleged plans to revamp the recently acquired Beats Music and make it part of the iTunes brand.




Citing people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that sales from Apple's iTunes Store have fallen between 13 and 14 percent so far this year. That's much worse than last year, when global revenue from music downloads fell 2.1 percent.

The report also reaffirmed an earlier rumor claiming that Apple may be looking to end the Beats Music brand, and instead repackage the service it acquired as part of a $3 billion acquisition of Beats earlier this year. It's been said that the branding change would more closely align the property with Apple's other first-party offerings, such as the iTunes Store and iTunes Radio.

According to the Journal, Beats Music will relaunch next year completely rebuilt, and integrated into iTunes.

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The report comes on the heels of a fresh rumor this week that claimed Apple is looking to cut the price of its subscription music service to $5 per month. Currently, Beats Music costs $9.99 per month on a month-to-month basis, or $99.99 if users are willing to sign up for a full year.

The acquisition of Beats Music represented Apple's entrance into a key subscription market where iTunes Store downloads and iTunes Radio streaming service did not compete. The subscription Beats Music service allows on-demand streaming of tracks and albums, as opposed to the randomized nature of iTunes Radio.

Streaming has become increasingly important in the music industry as sales of digital albums have been declining. Many users who previously purchased music have been migrating to services like Spotify and Pandora.