Proposed EU law changes how Apple deals with smaller rivals

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Spotify
If an EU law goes into effect, a dispute between Apple and Spotify over subscription fees would go to mediation.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Spotify objects to Apple collecting a share of all the subscription fees paid by iOS users.  A law proposed today in European Union would force Apple and Spotify into mediation on this issue.

And it’s not just Spotify. Under the proposal, Apple, Google, and other tech giants would have to appoint mediators in all their disagreements with smaller companies.

Google’s got a new challenge for Apple Music

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YouTube Music
Google Play Music is reportedly merging with YouTube Music.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

In the streaming music battle, the competition is between Spotify and Apple Music. Google Play Music is barely a blip, with 4 percent of the U.S. market.

But the situation is more complex than that. Google’s YouTube video service actually dominates streaming music, though it isn’t supposed to be in that business at all.

According to unconfirmed reports, Google plan is to merge its music service with another, and also turn millions of free YouTube listeners into paying customers.

Apple Music is poised for some massive growth in the near future

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Apple Music
Apple Music could pass 100 million subscribers in the next three years.
Photo: Apple

Apple Music recently passed the 40 million paid subscribers mark. Just like old reports about now-tiny-looking “records” set by Apple, however, those numbers could soon be dwarfed thanks to Apple Music’s rapid growth.

According to a new report, Apple Music is set to achieve annual growth of 40 percent a year over the next three years. By our math, that would mean that Apple is looking at around 110 million users by around 2021.

Spotify swipes a major player from Apple Music

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Apple Music
Although Apple Music' subscriber base is growing steadily, there have been two high-profile executive departures in a week.
Photo: Apple

The head of Hip-Hop/R&B Programming at Apple Music, Carl Chery, is reportedly headed for rival Spotify. 

Chery worked for Apple since 2014, and was responsible for helping to launch the careers of Cardi B, Bryson Tiller, Post Malone, and others.

No, Apple isn’t killing iTunes music sales

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iTunes music sales still around
No matter what the rumors say, iTunes music sales aren't ending in slightly less than a year.
Photo: Apple

Apple flatly denies a persistent rumor that it’s going to end iTunes music sales on March 31, 2019. The basis for the rumor is vague statement from an Apple Music executive and a change in way most people listen to songs.

In the glory days of the iPod, Apple raked in millions selling individual tracks for 99 cents. Fast forward a decade to so, and streaming services are all the rage. This leaves people wondering how long Apple will keep selling music tracks.

Cheaper HomePod might be in the works

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HomePod Full Shot
Apple might be planning cheaper HomePod to boost sales
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

HomePod sales have fallen well below expectations, according to one of the best Apple analysts in the game.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors today that Apple is considering making a low-cost version of the HomePod in order to give disappointing sales a boost.

Spotify quibbles with Apple Music over The Weeknd streaming numbers

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Republic Records
Although it raises some questions about streaming number reporting.
Photo: Republic Records

Spotify and Apple are in a battle over rival streaming music services, and sometimes such conflicts can turn a bit petty.

After it was reported that The Weeknd’s latest album and lead single performed better on Apple Music than it did on Spotify, Spotify hit back by reporting that the numbers it initially gave were, in fact, wrong. It apparently beat Apple after all.

And that’s where things get confusing.