Apple’s iTunes/Beats Music puzzle continues.
Beats Music is in talks with artists to replicate the success of Beyonce’s self-titled digital album, which debuted last December as an exclusive release on iTunes, according to the New York Post.
The mega-singer’s “Beyonce” project, which included songs and music videos, became iTunes’ fastest selling album in history, with more than 820,000 copies sold in the first three days.
That kind of success is why music producer and Beats Chief Executive Jimmy Iovine is reportedly using his industry network to lock in more digital deals for the Culver City music company, now owned by Apple.
How iTunes’ music store and Beats Music would be sustained as two separate services has been a question since Apple acquired the company in May for $3 billion. It was reported that Beats Music could be offered as a pre-installed app on iOS devices next year.
Exclusive releases could be just what Beats Music needs to woo users to its subscription-only service. The company still lags behinds music streaming heavyweights Pandora and Spotify, which offer free, ad-supported versions along with their paid premium models.
The real question though is whether albums offered exclusively on Beats would be made available on iTunes as well.
ITunes’ growth is slowing. It posted a 24 percent increase in net sales from 2012 to 2013. That number was more than halved this year. According to Apple’s 2014 annual report, what gains iTunes made in its App Store, which accounted for much of its $10 billion in revenue, were offset by a decline in digital music sales.
If exclusive music releases could reverse iTunes’ slowing growth – and break more records – it wouldn’t be surprising if the Cupertino parent asks Beats Music to play nice and share. Beats Music would then become a machine funneling talent and content to Apple’s mainstay music product, which might be enough to keep it drumming on.
A Beats representative couldn’t be reached for comment.
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