The two giants in music are about to square off in an inevitable battle for streaming dominance. Last year, Apple bought Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s Beats Music for $3 billion and is expected to re-release it under an Apple label in the near future. In preparation, Appple has been accused of playing dirty to make the transition a little easier. The Verge allegedly discovered that Apple has been pressuring major music labels to drop their support of the ‘freemium’ services that Spotify offers. It is a ploy that works – with over 60 million Spotify users, just 15 million are paid subscribers. While it hurts Spotify financially in the short term, Spotify has earned the lions share of streaming users. In response to Apple’s actions, Spotify has quietly reintroduced the forefront of its ‘freemium’ deals, with access to premium, ad free content for three months for just 99 cents in the US. Last time it was introduced, Spotify hauled in another 20% increase of users.
It seems a desperate struggle to grab as many customers before Apple launches. Rightly so, considering whenever Apple brands something, worldwide attention and popularity usually follows. Not to mention that Apple already has virtually everyone’s details saved somewhere in the Cloud to make it just a little easier (and terrifying).
However, Apple’s actions have not gone unnoticed, with The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission honing in their business practises, interviewing several high industry music executives. It is unclear what action, if any is being taken. Meanwhile Apple is also taking aim at YouTube, allegedly offering to pay YouTube;s music licensing fee to Universal Music Group if they stopped allowing their songs on the service. If Apple were successful in taking away these free services, who knows how many customers Apple could haul in when they announce their new Beats service which is expected around June.