Apple Still Working to Finalize Streaming Music Deals Ahead of Rumored WWDC Launch

Just weeks ahead of the rumored debut of its newly revamped streaming music service, Apple is still working to get key deals completed. According to a new report from Billboard that cites music industry sources, Apple does not yet have the necessary licensing agreements that it needs to launch the service, leading to disagreements over whether it will be ready to go in June.

A June launch is still attainable. One source notes Apple has been able to quickly secure licensing deals in the past. "If any company can pull it off, they can," the source tells Billboard, adding that "labels are more likely to play ball with them" because of Apple's track record of generating revenue for rights holders.

Another major label source believes the Beats Music re-launch isn't coming soon. "June won't be the release date. The deals aren't done."

Rumors about several licensing issues have arisen over the past several months as Apple has worked to ink deals with record labels. Originally, Apple was said to be seeking an agreement that would let it offer its new music service for $7.99 per month, but it was forced to back down on that price point after record companies resisted going below $9.99.

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More recently, rumors have suggested Apple is pressuring music labels to cease offering licenses for the freemium tiers that Spotify and other services offer, as Apple does not plan to offer a freemium tier for its rebranded music service. These efforts have earned Apple government scrutiny, as the European Commission is now poking into Apple's agreements with music companies. U.S. Department of Justice officials are also said to be looking into Apple's music negotiations.

Apple is known for asking for highly favorable deals from media companies due to its influence and the sheer number of potential customers it commands, and it is unsurprising that the company has yet to finalize deals given some of the rumors about its demands. If deals are not completed in time, it's possible Apple will unveil the music service at its Worldwide Developers Conference, but release it at a later date.

Apple's upcoming music service is said to be positioned as a rebranding of its existing Beats Music service. To draw in customers and set its music service apart from the competition, Apple is aiming to offer a range of exclusive content. There are also plans to integrate the new music service deeply into iTunes, and it's likely it will be built into the newly revamped Music app introduced with iOS 8.4.

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Top Rated Comments

lowercaseperson Avatar
120 months ago
Just GTFO Apple. Admit buying Beats was a $3 billion blunder, and move on. You're just wasting money trying to force yourself into this market.

While I'm neither supporting or condemning the Beats acquisition - streaming music services are the future of the music industry. Apple would be stupid to move on after investing well over 3 billion in this venture.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HurtinMinorKey Avatar
120 months ago
Just GTFO Apple. Admit buying Beats was a $3 billion blunder, and move on. You're just wasting money trying to force yourself into this market.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crosscreek Avatar
120 months ago
They are way behind in this game. They should of bought Spotify instead of Beats.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TWSS37 Avatar
120 months ago
This is one area where Apple can't seem to reinvent to the point where people are willing to switch. Services in general seem to be Apple's black box.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleScruff1 Avatar
120 months ago
Buy then for what? 50B, for that kind of money Apple could just buy the artists and produce all the money in house...

Spotify is crap for artists, Youtube too. Only mega stars can live off it.

I always find it funny how many people are for Spotify.

If you want to be a all is free kind of person, don't give money to streaming services that crap on the artist's head and say that hey, its all publicity for their concert or sales... publicity for what? Playing 300 gigs a year and selling 1000 tunes to be able to eat and buy new equipment?

That's how it is for 99.9% of artists these days. Eventually, they'll wake up and actually value their own stuff and stop groveling. Because if they don't value it; the buyers won't...

Streaming services are so bad that you might as well steel the artists work outright for the good they're getting from it.

There are "places" where you can download the 300K songs you'd need to cover just about every significant artist in any genre there is of the last 20 years (could be done in about 3 months with my connection). If I want pre-1990 catalog, another 200K should suffice (2 months more) to have a pretty decent amount of songs (sic). Then, you wouldn't need a streaming service ever. Just keep up the date the new arrivals every week; you can automate that... (I'm not doing that... But it is very doable).

Yes... I don't do that. I actually still buy songs or shudder entire albums. Man, I must be that old.


I find it funny how people are for Apple no matter what.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mr.bee Avatar
120 months ago
I totally don't get the Apple hate on this.

Spotify has a horrible businessmodel that strangles artists. Do you know how many people should listen to your song just to live from it as an artist?
I'm not a fan of that what's-her-name-again that pulled her songs from Spotify but I surely understand her point of view

I love Soundcloud as an 'artist discovery' platform and buy the albums on iTunes or a real album if I really love them :)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)