Apple moves to kill Spotify’s free streaming tier ahead of Beats Music launch

5 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Is Reportedly Trying to Convince Record Labels to Kill Spotify’s Free Streaming Service.

APPLE IS REPORTEDLY trying to convince music labels to force Spotify to can its free streaming tiers, ahead of the launch of Apple’s competing Beats Music service. NEW YORK: Grooveshark, an early leader in music streaming that enraged major labels by letting users upload copyrighted songs, abruptly shut down on April 30 after years of litigation.THE US Department of Justice is reportedly looking into Apple’s business practices as it plans to launch a music streaming service in the near future.

The company has been using its might in the music industry to tell labels not to renew the licenses that allow Spotify to stream music on its free tier, reports the Verge.Are you one of the 45 million people in this world who listens to Spotify’s free streaming service, tolerating the occasional advertisement in order to save $10 a month on entertainment?

The Verge is reporting that Apple has been trying to push major music labels into forcing Spotify and other similar streaming services to get rid of their free tier. Grooveshark, which claimed 30 million monthly users, said in a message on the site that it had reached a settlement with the three major record label conglomerates to cease operations immediately and hand over copyrighted song files. “But despite best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes.

Only 15 million of the service’s 60 million listeners are currently paying subscribers, while the other 45 million rely on the ad-supported free tier. According to reports, Apple’s streaming service will cost $7.99 per month, less than the the $9.99 monthly fee Spotify charges for its premium service. It’s not just Spotify that Apple is targeting either, with those same sources claiming that Apple offered to pay the equivalent of YouTube’s licensing fee to Universal Music Group in exchange for the label to stop offering its music to YouTube. Apple’s plans for the music service — which is set to be based on Beats, after Apple bought it for $3 billion last year — have already raised the interest of the European Commission.

If Apple could convince the labels to stop allowing their music on the free tier, it could means a significant number of users might look for an alternative. If The Verge’s report proves to be accurate, Apple is seemingly trying to limit Spotify’s selection of free music so that people will be more tempted to pay for Apple’s cheaper service. Grooveshark’s young, entrepreneurial spirit brought frequent media comparisons to Facebook with one founder who left the company, Colombian-born Andres Barreto, sometimes called the Latin Mark Zuckerberg.

Paid access has better sound quality, no ads and allows you to listen to specific tracks or albums. reportedTheVerge websitereported that the according to multiple sources, the U.S. Unlike Spotify, however, the new-and-improved Beats is not expected to offer a free tier, which means that winning over listeners is almost certainly going to be an uphill battle. So, if Apple is successful in its bid to abolish Spotify’s free tier, the two companies’ services would be more in line with each other, and possibly allow Cupertino to attract some iOS-based Spotify users.

Grooveshark’s future prospects turned bleak in September when a federal judge, Thomas Griesa, ruled that the site’s bosses had actively encouraged employees to upload song files, even ones that were previously taken down due to copyright concerns. Initially, Apple seemed to think its sheer size and residual clout within the industry would let it negotiate a special deal with the record companies, which it lobbied to let it sell streaming subscriptions for $7.99, rather than the standard $9.99. Had the trial gone forward, Grooveshark’s executives – Sam Tarantino and Josh Greenberg – could have been held liable for a crushing US$736mil (RM2.65bil).

That, the blog said, has attracted regulators’ attention. “DOJ officials have already interviewed high-ranking music industry executives about Apple’s business habits,” The Verge said. Apple is also expected to unveil the 12in iPad Pro tablet at WWDC, along with the first 15in Retina-display MacBook and the next iteration of the OS X desktop software. µ Rumors of a Beats-based app for iOS devices cropped up in February, suggesting that Cupertino will launch a paid streaming platform that “deeply integrates” the Beats brand, as well as a number of popular artists. Last month, reports tipped a free trial period for users, who will then have to pay a possible $8-per-month fee to access more music; iTunes Radio will remain free. Spotify’s free level has been controversial among artists, most notably pop superstar Taylor Swift who last year abruptly pulled her catalogue from the site.

Other mainstream streaming sites include Deezer, Google Play, Rhapsody and Tidal, which rap mogul Jay Z bought as he eyes a slice of the booming sector. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, responding last year to Swift’s criticisms, said that his company had paid back US$2bil (RM7.21bil) in royalties and countered that the alternative would be for fans to go to “pirate” sites such as Grooveshark. The rumoured goal is to have exclusive content, which might be necessary to stand out in the crowded music streaming world, as Apple is entering the market fairly late compared to many players. First, the labels still own a significant financial stake in Spotify, which makes it seem a tad, well, unlikely that they’d try to even the playing field at all for Apple. But the search giant can also take over your TV with the Google Chromecast , a streaming dongle that tops Amazon’s own Fire TV Stick on the company’s list of best-selling electronic devices.

And while artists like Taylor Swift have made some very noisy stands against free streaming, and some executives are starting to consider ideas like forcing Spotify to cap how much music listeners can enjoy before paying, industry insiders still seem to agree some kind of unpaid service is a necessary counterweight to piracy, not to mention as a way to win new subscribers. Part of its appeal lies in its pure portability, but there’s also the price: just $35 to wirelessly stream Netflix, Spotify, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, and more from your mobile device or PC to the TV. Napster’s original version shut due to a court injunction in 2001, around the same time that Apple launched its iPod with licensed digital files. – AFP

To quote a source who talked with Billboard, “People don’t think you can just turn it off.” Still, even if Apple fails to limit the ways consumers can listen to music, the news that it’s trying isn’t encouraging. Spotify created these playlists using the data it has showing what’s popular in each of those cities, and added in tracks suggested by local influencers. Recall that the company was already found guilty once before of conspiring with publishers to raise e-book prices as Steve Jobs attempted to fight Amazon on its home turf. Google announced a few updates for Chromecast at Google I/O last year—from Android mirroring to options that will make your Chromecast screen more aesthetically pleasing.

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