Apple is set to release a streaming service for music, to rival Spotify, at some point during this year, allowing users to access tracks via the internet as opposed to downloading song files directly. For mobile devices with limited storage the system is a welcome addition, especially if you’re connected to the internet via wi-fi or 3G/4G all the time.
However, the service from Apple has been rumored to be an overture from the company into becoming a record label themselves. Apple has recently denied rumors that they may have been looking to buy the record label Big Machine, whose most popular artist is undoubtedly Taylor Swift, who famously pulled her tracks from Spotify last year.
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It’s not a matter of if, but a question of when Apple’s service will materialize – the company is absolutely prepared for such a service, and rival Spotify will instantly be up against previous iTunes customers, whose numbers reportedly total a whopping 800 million users in 150 countries using a huge 1 billion devices.
Apple’s acquisition of headphone company Beats audio last year also heralded the first rumors of a streaming service, since Beats themselves were already running one of their own. Apparently the Beats branding is to be somewhat wiped out by Apple, and the existing Beats Music is rumored to be being upgraded and Apple-ized following a roll out to devices.
Through existing iTunes apps on both Mac, iPad, iPod and iPhone, the streaming service could also be massively pushed to users, if the two services are linked together. Of course, a dedicated app may also emerge. Exclusives from artists appearing on iTunes, such as The Beatles might also be available for streaming.
Things are most definitely changing for record labels with the rise of streaming. Whilst Spotify has had somewhat of a historical monopoly on streaming tunes, if and when Apple’s service emerges, it could herald a new era of artists going straight to streaming services to sell their content, as opposed to going to a conventional record label.
A stir will definitely be caused by Apple’s streaming service. Undoubtedly the record label culture has dominated music for decades, with artists being under the thumb of companies and subject to what some might see as immense profiteering from songs. If streaming becomes the norm some of this money could be taken away from these massive media moguls who of course will not be happy.
Artists too may see less money coming in if cheaper streaming becomes the primary means by which songs are pushed to customers. A monthly subscription is rumored to be the price for Apple’s service, which may mean artists might only see a fraction of a penny in returns for their content.
Via: The Verge