The Wall Street Journal reports digital music sales in Apple's iTunes will be down 13 to 14 percent in 2014. That's a huge hit to the recording industry's brightest spot.

As the recording industry has flailed since illegal music downloads basically made paying for music optional, iTunes has helped slow the hemorrhaging. But after a 10 year run, digital music sales started to decline as well, most likely as a result of new streaming music services. Why the heck would you buy, when a $10 month subscription gets you basically all the music in the world? Indeed, Apple may have undercut its own sales when it launched iTunes Radio last year, which gave users a free way to listen to music.

Given the drop in digital music sales, Apple's Beats acquisition starts to make more sense. According to the WSJ, Apple plans to relaunch Beats Music next year as part of iTunes, which might help generate a little revenue. It's not the first time we've heard that about Apple's plans to roll Beats into iTunes. Ian Rogers, the exec who built Beats Music has already been put in charge of iTunes Radio. There have also been reports that Apple is negotiating with record labels to cut the price of the full on-demand subscription service in half to $5 per month. It might help, but it won't make as much as downloads cash cow. No word if Apple will try to leverage the resurrection of vinyl to its advantage. [WSJ]