Apple Music’s recipe for a streaming hit? Cash, cards and marketing muscle

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Sony Music CEO Doug Morris says Apple Music is
Sony Music CEO Doug Morris says Apple Music is "happening tomorrow."
Photo: Midem

When Apple unveils its revamped music service Monday, it will mark a “tipping point” for mass acceptance of streaming over downloads, predicts Sony Music CEO Doug Morris.

The new streaming service, which Morris says will be unveiled tomorrow at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, will challenge on-demand streaming services like Spotify and Rdio thanks to a very particular set of skills Cupertino has acquired over the years.

Apple’s music streaming negotiations come down to the wire

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Apple has big ambitions for its new music streaming service.
Will Beats redesign be ready for WWDC? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple is planning to use WWDC to spotlight the new streaming music service its been working on for year. It could be Apple’s biggest play in the music industry since the launch of iTunes, but according to a new report, Apple is still struggling to ink its deal with record labels.

There’s no money for Apple in music streaming, but that’s OK

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Apple has big ambitions for its new music streaming service.
Will Beats redesign be ready for WWDC? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The redesign and relaunch of Beats Music is one of the most anticipated announcements Apple fans are expecting to hear about next week at WWDC. Apple spent $3 billion on Beats in an effort to take on the likes of Spotify and Pandora, but according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, all that effort won’t make Apple a ton of money.

Beats currently has about 300,000 paid subscribers while Spotify has 15 million. According to Munster’s math, even if Apple matched Spotify’s subscriber base the profits will be weak.

Kanye’s new album might be released as free iTunes exclusive

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Yeezus is ready to launch Apple's new music streaming service.
Yeezus is ready to launch Apple's new music streaming service.
Photo: Adweek

Kanye West was part of Jay Z’s small army of megastars that helped launch Tidal, but when it comes to his next album, Ye is reportedly looking to take the U2 route by releasing it on iTunes for free.

According to a new rumor on Twitter, Apple and Kanye are joining forces for the launch of the company’s new music streaming service. As a gift to the fans, Yeezy has agreed to release his new album ‘Swish’ for free after Apple paid him nearly double what he expected to make of album sales.

Apple’s bold plan to convert casual music fans into streaming subscribers

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Apple needs no shelter, thank you.
Apple is hoping to move you from a music collector to a file-streamer.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Imagine clicking iTunes’ “Buy” button to purchase the latest record from Drake or Pharrell Williams, only to get a popup from Apple suggesting you’re behind the times.

That’s what might happen as Apple uses its massive consumer base to push streaming music on the masses, even going so far as prompting iTunes users to switch from buying songs to subscribing to a cloud service.

That sort of mid-purchase upsell is just one possible element of Cupertino’s strategy to shake up the music industry again, and the Apple streaming music plan just might be crazy enough to work.

A year later, Apple-Beats deal remains a mystery

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Apple's Eddy Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine sit in Walt Mossberg's famous red chairs to dish on Apple's Beats acquisition.
Apple's Eddy Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine discuss the Beats acquisition shortly after the announcement last year.
Photo: Pete Mall/Re/code

The rumor mill continues to churn about what the hell Apple is going to do with Beats Music. It’s been a year since Apple paid $3 billion to acquire the upstart music service and headphone maker, but we are no closer to understanding why Cupertino laid out the cash.

When Apple purchased Beats Music and Beats Electronics, it did so with a splash it generally reserves for the unveiling of a game-changing product like the Apple Watch. Since then, it’s basically been crickets.

It is clear Apple has a way to go to compete in the streaming music game against Spotify, Pandora and the other services scrambling to get a piece of the music industry pie. But what form will Apple’s next music play take?

Apple-loving Kanye West could debut next album on Beats Music refresh

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Kanye
Could Kanye be the first Tidal music defector?
Photo: Justjared

Kanye West is reportedly distancing himself from Jay Z’s Tidal music service and set to launch his next album — his seventh solo studio album — on Apple’s refreshed Beats Music service, rumored to arrive at this year’s WWDC in June.

Called SWISH, Kanye’s album currently has no official release date, although Wikipedia (for what it’s worth) claims it will drop on June 1. WWDC kicks off one week later on June 8 at Moscone West in San Francisco.

Spotify thinks App Store charges are squashing the competition

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Apple raked in the cash last quarter.
Spotify is upset that Apple rinses subscription services for money. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Spotify’s not happy about the way that Apple charges a 30 percent fee toward sales thorough its App Store, including subscription services.

The tax structure means that in order for Spotify to make $9.99 per month for its premium service it has had to raise the app subscription price to $12.99 — which prices it out of the market compared to the lower-cost Apple-owned Beats Music service, set to launch this summer.

FTC already concerned about possible Beats Music antitrust violation

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So long as the next episode doesn't include antitrust violations, that is. Photo: Beats Music
So long as the next episode doesn't include antitrust violations, that is. Photo: Beats Music

Apple may be struggling to finalize deals with record labels ahead of its Beats Music rebranding this summer, but that’s not stopping the U.S. Federal Trade Commission from scrutinizing it for potential antitrust violations, according to a new report.

The reason? Despite currently experiencing an 8 percent drop in its iTunes popularity, Apple’s history as the largest seller of music downloads means it could theoretically abuse its position to put rival companies on the back-foot.