Apple CEO Steve Jobs is set to unveil the company’s cloud service offering iCloud at an event in San Francisco today, potentially providing the “final nail in the coffin” for some high street music retailers in the UK.
The product is set to further change the way people consumer music, potentially allowing them to stream Apple-hosted music to various devices, be it computers, smartphones or touchscreen tablets.
Neil Saunders, Consulting Director at Verdict Research, said that if the speculation surrounding the product is true it will “inevitably accelerate the trend towards digitalisation of music and film”.
Companies such as ailing entertainment retailer HMV, which has issued profit warnings this year and is currently in the process of refinancing in order to secure the future of the business, will face competition from this new digital alternative to CDs and DVDs.
“If you go back just ten years, only 5.8 per cent of music and film sales were made via the internet, the vast majority were purchased in physical form from shops on the high street,” Saunders explained.
“Today, almost two-thirds of music and film purchases are internet based, a figure which is already posing problems for high street based music stores.”
He added that systems like Apple’s iCloud will remove concerns people may have regarding the safety and portability of their online music data. When combined with the fact smartphone and tablets are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, there are now fewer reasons for shoppers not to consume their music digitally.
Indeed, Verdict estimates that by 2021 the music and film market will be worth £2.95 billion, with 95 per cent of these product sales made via the internet.
Saunders remarked: “Cloud-based music and video services do already exist, however, the power of Apple’s brand and the fact that their service will be an integral part of their already popular devices, will give a significant boost to this type of system.”
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which runs throughout the week, will also see the unveiling of the electricals specialist’s new version of its mobile operating system which powers the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.