For a change, Apple is playing catch-up in a technology market.
Last year revenue for Ascap—the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers—surpassed $1 billion for the first time. Ascap also tracked 500 billion performances of songs last year. A big part of the success: streaming music. The actual streaming of tracks surged 54 percent from a 106 billion songs in 2013 to 164 billion in 2014.
If Apple's download-based iTunes empire isn't finished yet, it's certainly threatened. Consumers are showing a willingness to make the switch—and psychological shift—from actual ownership of music to subscription-based streaming. And Apple knows it.