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Apple to push for lower subscription price point for Beats

By | Published on Monday 6 October 2014

Beats Music

It’s no secret whatsoever, I mean, not at all, everyone knows, even my mum mentioned it on the phone last week, and she’d heard it from the local butcher, who’d got the lowdown from the local baker, who’d possibly heard about it from his old mucker Master Harry Styles, but the point is, everyone knows that streaming music can’t go fully mainstream while it’s priced at ten pounds a month. Well, Bob doesn’t know. But that’s because Bob’s an idiot. I mean, he’s the guy who signed up to Yeah, that’s right, he’s the guy.

Aaaaannnyyyway, while for the music geeks that work in both the labels and the streaming start-ups, a tenner a month to access millions and millions of tracks seems like very good value indeed (and it is), most consumer research has shown that for the majority of consumers, who don’t even want access to millions and millions of tracks, it’s actually a bit steep. Various players in the streaming music space have been trying to work out how to revamp the business model so that there are cheaper entry points.

And that now includes Apple, according to Re/Code, who are said to be talking to the labels about new licensing deals that would enable it to offer a cheaper option when it revamps its recently acquired streaming toy Beats Music. That revamp isn’t expected to occur until next year, so the five dollar Beats package isn’t going to appear anytime soon, though the tech giant is already exploring all the possible options.

Of course, there are plenty of people in the labels and the artist community who reckon that $10 a month is already too cheap, so there is some work to be done to work out how a $5 a month (or even a $1 a month) service might work.

The fact that many streaming services already offer their full catalogues for free – albeit with ads – will make limited catalogue access, an obvious way to distinguish between different price points, tricky to achieve. Beats, of course, doesn’t currently have a freemium option, though it is now closely aligned (behind the scenes at least) to the free-to-use ad-funded personalised radio service iTunes Radio.