Apple Pushing Record Labels for More Exclusive Beyonce-Like iTunes Albums

Apple's iTunes chief Robert Kondrk met with record label executives during Grammy Week in January about the potential of more exclusive album releases, like Beyoncé's iTunes-exclusive album last December, according to Billboard.

beyoncebig

Apple Inc.’s music chief Robert Kondrk has been pressuring major labels for releases similar to last year's Beyonce exclusive, excluding services like YouTube and Spotify to help shore up slowing download sales, according to music executives familiar with the conversations.

While digital music track sales fell from 1.34 billion units to 1.24 billion units in 2013 due to the rise of streaming services like Spotify and YouTube, Beyoncé's album sold 1 million copies globally in a week iTunes alone.

Kondrk is using the album's success to sell label executives on the prospect of exclusively releasing albums on digital storefronts like iTunes. He told executives the exclusives don't have to be limited to iTunes as long as they weren't on streaming services like Spotify. The move would be to preserve sales on digital storefronts.

Finally, Kondrk asked executives if they could lock down individual track sales until after a certain window of time, which would then allow users to purchase individual music tracks and listen to albums on streaming services. This is in stark contrast to Steve Jobs' sell of unbundled legal access to music when the iTunes Music Store was introduced in 2003.

In January, it was reported that digital music sales declined year-over-year for the first time since the opening of the iTunes Music Store as more users opt for streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and iTunes Radio.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
83 months ago
I know a lot of people use iTunes and like it a lot, but I really don't like the idea of exclusives like this, even if I do have an iPad now. I don't like the idea of one company having so much control over something like music.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago
iTunes feels like more of a dinosaur than AOL did by the early 2000s. AOL at least tried to keep up with the times for a while.

Apple's problem with services is rooted in the way they approach products in general. It takes Apple an enormous amount of time and resources to come out with a product. When they finally come out with it, it's well-polished. But it never really changes after that. Apple lets the product waste away, and eventually it's supplanted by something else. With iTunes you can see that Apple has tried to make updates, but those updates have turned iTunes into a mess, and the core iTunes Store experience hasn't changed. I would say it's gotten worse. Searching is incredibly unwieldy across apps, books, and music, and can't compete with the convenience of streaming unlimited content. Apple has never gotten Internet services. They've shuttered all the online services they've ever created except for iTunes. They didn't improve .Mac; they shut it down. They didn't improve MobileMe; they shut it down. They had to send out OS update discs just to get people to migrate their e-mail to iCloud. Who else has an e-mail service that is reliant on a particular OS?

It seems like iTunes is a chore to them and has been barely kept alive in order to remain compatible with all the devices they sell. If Windows is Microsoft's legacy product it has to maintain for past compatibility, Apple's equivalent is iTunes. But the original iTunes and original iTunes Store were both amazing. It just seems that Apple can't do things well until they scrap something and start over.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago

I don't like the idea of one company having so much control over something like music.


I don't like the idea of one company having so much control over anything. Monopolies hurt the consumer.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago
We should push iTunes to be more like Spotify/Netflix.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago

I don't like the idea of one company having so much control over anything. Monopolies hurt the consumer.

You mean a monopoly for 7 days? That's how long Beyonce's album was exclusive to iTunes.

Exclusivity deals lock a label into only one revenue stream for their content, so the deal must be more financially rewarding than selling the music to every other platform.

You mean like the exclusivity ATT had on the iPhone for years? Exclusivity brings in money short term, then you open yourselves up to other platforms to gain money long term. Pretty sure Apple knows what it's doing here.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
83 months ago
It'd be interesting if they tried something similar with app developers…

Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Officially Obsoletes First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display

Wednesday July 1, 2020 3:40 am PDT by
As expected, Apple's first MacBook Pro with a Retina display is now officially classed as "obsolete" worldwide, just over eight years after its release. In a support document, Apple notes that obsolete products are no longer eligible for hardware service, with "no exceptions." This means that any mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch models still out there that require a battery or other...

New Mac Ransomware Found in Pirated Mac Apps

Tuesday June 30, 2020 11:44 am PDT by
There's a new 'EvilQuest' Mac ransomware variant that's spreading through pirated Mac apps, according to a new report shared today by Malwarebytes. The new ransomware was found in pirated download for the Little Snitch app found on a Russian forum. Right from the point of download, it was clear that something was wrong with the illicit version of Little Snitch, as it had a generic installer...

Unreleased iMac With 10-Core Comet Lake-S Chip and Radeon Pro 5300 GPU Shows Up in Geekbench

Wednesday July 1, 2020 10:48 am PDT by
Benchmarks for an unreleased iMac equipped with a 10th-generation Core i9 Intel Comet Lake-S chip and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300 graphics card have surfaced, giving us an idea of what we can expect from a refreshed 2020 iMac. The Geekbench benchmarks, which appear to be legit, were found on Twitter and shared this morning by Tom's Hardware. The iMac in the benchmarks would be a successor to the...

Leaker: Future iPhone Models to Come in 'Exquisite' Thinner Box

Wednesday July 1, 2020 1:57 am PDT by
Leaker L0vetodream this morning posted a tweet corroborating recent rumors that Apple's "iPhone 12" lineup won't come with EarPods or a charger in the box, adding that this will also eventually apply to the existing second-generation iPhone SE. L0vetodream also claims that future iPhone packaging will be "thinner" and "exquisite," which would make sense if Apple's handsets are set to come in ...

Apple's A12Z Under Rosetta Outperforms Microsoft's Native Arm-Based Surface Pro X

Monday June 29, 2020 10:31 am PDT by
Apple's Developer Transition Kit equipped with an A12Z iPad Pro chip began arriving in the hands of developers this morning to help them get their apps ready for Macs running Apple Silicon, and though forbidden, the first thing some developers did was benchmark the machine. Multiple Geekbench results have indicated that the Developer Transition Kit, which is a Mac mini with an iPad Pro chip, ...

Kuo: iPhone 12 Models Won't Include Charger in Box, 20W Power Adapter Will Be Sold Separately

Sunday June 28, 2020 7:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 models will not include EarPods or a power adapter in the box, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors. This lines up with a prediction shared by analysts at Barclays earlier this week. Kuo said that Apple will instead release a new 20W power adapter as an optional accessory for iPhones and end production of its existing 5W and 18W power adapters...

Rosetta 2 Benchmarks Surface From Mac Mini With A12Z Chip

Monday June 29, 2020 7:48 am PDT by
While the terms and conditions for Apple's new "Developer Transition Kit" forbid developers from running benchmarks on the modified Mac mini with an A12Z chip, it appears that results are beginning to surface anyhow. Image Credit: Radek Pietruszewski Geekbench results uploaded so far suggest that the A12Z-based Mac mini has average single-core and multi-core scores of 811 and 2,781...

Display Analyst Once Again Says No 120Hz ProMotion Display Coming to iPhone 12 Pro

Wednesday July 1, 2020 11:29 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 models will not feature an upgraded 120Hz ProMotion display, according to display analyst Ross Young. Young previously said that Apple would not implement ProMotion technology until it adopted low-power LTPO display technology, a move Apple is not expected to make until 2021. In a tweet shared this morning, Young said that the none of his contacts have been able to...

Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS and iPadOS 13.6 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tuesday June 30, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 13.6 updates to developers, three weeks after seeding the second betas and over a month after releasing iOS/iPadOS 13.5 with Exposure Notification API, Face ID updates, Group FaceTime changes, and more. iOS and iPadOS 13.6 can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or over the air once the proper developer profile has been...

The New York Times Ends Apple News Partnership and Pulls All Articles

Monday June 29, 2020 11:17 am PDT by
The New York Times today announced that it is pulling out of Apple News, as the service does not "align with its strategy of building direct relationships with paying readers." Starting today, articles from The New York Times will no longer show up in the Apple News app. The news site says that Apple has given it "little in the way of direct relationships with readers" and "little control...