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Apple’s secret weapon to battle Spotify: Taylor Swift?

Published Apr 11th, 2015 9:30AM EDT
Apple Beats Taylor Swift

Because Apple wasn’t able to secure cheaper pricing for its upcoming Beats Music streaming service, the company will instead try to strike exclusive deals with big time artists to help differentiate the service from competitors like Spotify.

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Bloomberg is reporting that Apple has already asked more than a dozen artists about exclusivity deals, including Florence and the Machine and Taylor Swift. Notably, Taylor Swift abruptly removed her music from Spotify last November claiming that artists weren’t being fairly compensated for their work.

The company’s in talks with the British group, which is set to release an album in June, about giving Apple limited streaming rights to a track, and has approached Taylor Swift and others about partnerships, according to people familiar with the matter. The idea is that exclusives will be bait for music lovers loathe to pay for subscriptions.

While that’s the idea, it remains to be seen if exclusive content will, in practice, really be able to lure over new subscribers and Spotify defectors. Especially if these rumored exclusives are for a limited time only, there won’t be much of an impetus for folks to sign up for Beats as soon as possible. Additionally, it’s arguably a long-shot that any one artist, or even pair of artists, can hold enough clout as to make exclusive content an extremely compelling selling point.

Incidentally, the report adds that Apple will offer a family pricing plan for Beats subscribers at $14.99/month.

At the end of the day, Apple’s best bet might be to make the introductory price on Beats cheaper than Spotify. If, for example, Apple offers a $7.99/month service for the first year, that might be more of an attractive value proposition than isolated exclusive content. We previously highlighted a number of avenues Apple can take to dethrone Spotify over here.

If anything, it’s abundantly clear that Apple is taking its upcoming Beats streaming service extremely seriously. Rumored to be unveiled this June at WWDC, Apple is taking its time in releasing the service, which might not actually happen until iOS 9 drops later this fall. In the meantime, the apps software and its integration into iTunes is reportedly being spearheaded by outspoken Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.