Apple approaches artists to sign exclusive Beats streaming deals

Apple has approached over a dozen high-flying musicians in an attempt to sign them up to exclusive Beats streaming deals.

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Apple

Over a dozen music artists have been approached by Apple to sign exclusive content deals with the Beats Music streaming platform.

As reported by Bloomberg, the tech giant is sending out its feelers in an attempt to lure artists to agree to exclusivity deals with the music streaming subscription service.

Such deals would allow Apple to compete directly with rivals including Spotify and YouTube.

The publication says that British band Florence and the Machine -- set to release a new album in June -- has been approached about giving Apple limited streaming rights to a track, and other artists, including Taylor Swift, have also been approached in the same manner.

However, it is going to be a long haul to convince consumers to pay for what they can listen to and watch for free. Spotify and YouTube's Music Key -- as well as its standard service which contains ads -- can be used to access tracks and music videos, it is easy to download albums for free if you search out pirate copies, and software is available which lets web users convert uploaded videos containing tracks to audio format.

Despite these hurdles, Apple is pushing through with its newly-acquired music subscription service, which is due to be relaunched in summer. Sources say the service will be offered for $9.99 a month per user or $14.99 a month through family plans.

Apple acquired Beats in May last year for approximately $2.6 billion in cash and $400 million in stock.

Exclusives may be the only way for such subscription-based streaming models to work. By offering exclusive tracks, albums and potentially music videos to consumers, companies may be able to entice the general public to pay monthly fees -- but success is not guaranteed.

Tidal is a rival service owned by musicians including Jay Z, Beyonce and Rihanna. The service is leveraging the same exclusivity idea but is yet to fully break into the consumer market.

Spotify and iTunes are two of many services which offer musicians royalty payments when their music is played. However, Tidal was created in backlash to the often small payments artists now receive, especially as technology has moved on and artists can no longer rely on physical albums for a continual flow of cash. The problem is simply such efforts may have come too late, as free content is easily accessible online and piracy is rife.

Perhaps if such subscription models had come into existence earlier, consumers would more readily have adopted these platforms without needing the enticement of exclusive deals.

It remains to be seen whether exclusivity is enough to rope in music fans to parting with their funds on a monthly basis.

Read on: Apple