FORTUNE -- Apple's (AAPL) No. 4 revenue stream -- after the iPhone, iPad and Mac -- is a line item the company calls iTunes, Software and Services.
The category is something of a hodgepodge -- a grab bag where the company tosses, to quote from a footnote in its SEC filings, "revenue generated by sales on the iTunes Store, the App Store, the Mac App Store and the iBookstore, plus revenue from sales of AppleCare, licensing and other services."
Everything, in other words, that you can't drop on the floor. Let's call it iTunes, for short.
The good news is that iTunes is a large and growing business in its own right. It generated more than $16 billion in revenue in fiscal 2013, which would put it somewhere between General Mills (GIS) and The Gap (GPS) in the Fortune 500.
The bad news is that iTunes has never experienced the exponential growth rates of a pure Internet play. And according to the 29 Apple analysts who submitted iTunes estimates in our quarterly earnings roundup -- 16 Wall Street professionals and 13 amateurs -- its growth rate is less than half of what it was last year.
On average, our sample of analysts expect Apple this week to report quarterly iTunes revenue of $4.55 billion, up 10.6% year over year. In Q2 2013 iTunes revenue was growing at the rate of 26%.
Not even our most optimistic analyst -- BNP Paribas' Alexander Peterc -- expects a repeat of that kind of growth. The Braeburn Group's Sunil Shaw, our biggest pessimist, is looking for iTunes revenue to fall by nearly 3%.
We'll find out who was closest to the mark when Apple reports its earnings for fiscal Q2 2014 after the markets close on Wednesday, April 23.
Below: The individual analysts estimates, with the pros in blue and the indies in green. Thanks once again to Posts at Eventide's Robert Paul Leitao for pulling together the Braeburn Group numbers.
Amazon is creating TV shows, movies, and games, but it left music streaming to partners Pandora and iHeartRadio.
FORTUNE -- Today Amazon (AMZN) revealed Fire TV, a streaming video box for television entertainment. The $99 unit, available for sale today, is part of the ongoing fight for the living room between the tech industry's largest players. Fire TV competes with Google's Chromecast, Apple's Apple TV, Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's Playstation, and MOREErin Griffith - Apr 2, 2014 2:15 PM ET
Acquiring The Echo Nest, closing its app program, and offering student discounts are just the beginning of a plan for streaming domination.
By Courtney Subramanian
FORTUNE -- The music-streaming service Spotify rolled out a discount for U.S. college students on Tuesday, offering its $10 premium service for half the price. The announcement seemed fairly simple: The discount gives students a chance to experience an ad-free platform with offline access on any device. MOREMar 28, 2014 11:11 AM ET
Why would Apple put its music on Google's platform?
FORTUNE -- Billboard reported Friday that Apple (AAPL) was "thinking about" about adding an iTunes App for Google (GOOG) Android phones. Some of the instant analysis on Twitter was pretty smart. A few one-liners that caught my eye:
@stroughtonsmith: iTunes won because it made owning easier than piracy. Subscription services will invariably win because they're easier than owning.
@reneritchie: I'd much rather have iTunes for MORE
And at 34% year over year, it's growing slightly faster says Asymco's Horace Dediu.
FORTUNE -- Is Apple still a growth company? With the Wall Street Journal's question still hanging in the air, Asymco's Horace Dediu has found a novel way to highlight a source of growth within Apple (AAPL) that is often overlooked.
In the attached chart, he's stacked the revenue categories of Google's (GOOG) core business (i.e. without Motorola and MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 11, 2014 7:50 AM ET
Music downloads are down. Apps are through the roof. Should Hollywood be worried?
FORTUNE -- Asymco's Horace Dediu, who created the attached chart from data Apple (AAPL) released Tuesday, doesn't buy the accepted wisdom about what's going on.
To state the obvious: iTunes music downloads are down while downloads of apps are up sharply: 35% year over year and 50% in December alone.
It's tempting to suggest, Dediu writes in a post called MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 8, 2014 7:07 AM ET
iTunes, Software, Services has become Apple's fastest growing revenue stream.
FORTUNE -- Analysts tend to think of the iTunes store as a metaphor. It's a "moat" that protects Apple (AAPL) from competitors. Or something "sticky" -- like honey or flypaper -- that keeps fickle customers from flying away.
But since Apple reclassified its revenues in January and consolidated iTunes, Software and Services into one line item, it's become clear that iTunes is MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 21, 2013 7:32 AM ET
As the number of accounts grows exponentially, revenue per account is falling. Why?
FORTUNE -- In a post titled "What's an iTunes user worth?" Asymco's Horace Dediu used the number of iTunes accounts Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook announced Monday -- 575 million -- to draw the graph at right. It shows user accounts growing nearly six fold since 2009 -- a growth rate of nearly half a million per day, or 44% MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 15, 2013 12:40 PM ET
iTunes radio will work a lot like Pandora, but is the company too late to the big music party in the cloud?
By Ryan Bradley, senior editor
FORTUNE -- The short answer to the above question is no, the longer answer is maybe, and -- if you really want to speculate and think long-term -- the ultimate answer may be that iTunes, in terms of music listening, is irrelevant. Let's back MOREJun 11, 2013 12:57 PM ET
"iRadio" is reported to launch next week. What we know (and don't), and what we should be asking.
By Ryan Bradley, senior editor
FORTUNE -- It's a Pandora-killer; it's going to take on Spotify; it will be streaming and almost certainly free.
1. Apple upended the music industry once, can it do it again?
Probably not. The company is late to the streaming game and, besides, music -- once the core of iTunes MOREJun 4, 2013 1:04 PM ET
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