Apple courts musicians for exclusive streaming deals as Beats gears up to take on Spotify

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 April, 2015, 8:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 April, 2015, 8:00am

Apple has reportedly approached more than a dozen musicians, including US superstar Taylor Swift and British band Florence and the Machine, in an effort to sign exclusive deals for some of their music to be streamed on Beats.

According to Bloomberg, the company is in talks with Florence and the Machine to give Apple limited streaming rights to a track from their album set to be released in June.

Apple has also approached Taylor Swift and other artists about partnerships, the report said.

Swift removed her entire back catalogue from Sweden-based music streaming service Spotify in November 2014, saying she didn't feel the company "fairly compensates" artists.

“We started Spotify because we love music and piracy was killing it. So all the talk swirling around lately about how Spotify is making money on the backs of artists upsets me big time,” the company's chief executive Daniel Elk wrote following Swift's announcement.

Tidal, the streaming service launched last month by rapper Jay Z, also cited Spotify's low royalties as a reason for artists to switch to its service. Tidal, which unlike Spotify has no free version, purports to offer users better audio-quality for a higher price, but early reviews have been mixed.

Beats Music will be re-launched in coming months. There will be a US$9.99-a-month subscription for individuals and a family plan for US$14.99, according to reports.

Apple bought audio equipment and music streaming company Beats for about US$3 billion in May 2014, hoping to catch up in fast-growing music streaming industry.

“Apple created the digital download business and has had an amazing run, but the industry is going in the streaming service direction,” said Daniel Weisman, a manager for Roc Nation who represents bands, told Reuters at the time.

Streaming music services accounted for more music industry revenue than CDs in the US for the first time in 2014, US$1.87 billion in revenue compared to US$1.85 billion for the physical medium.

Additional reporting by Reuters