Following the massive success of the surprise release of Beyoncé’s self-titled album last December, Apple has been pressuring record labels for similar deals, trying to secure music exclusivity and cut off competition from streaming services.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Apple executives are demanding that labels offer a period of time where an album is only available for purchase digitally and not available to stream.
Music industry sources told the paper:
Apple’s push for a new release window — similar to the one that some Hollywood studios impose for films newly released for home viewing — shows the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant is scrambling to retain its competitive advantage in an evolving digital music market.
Services like Spotify and Rdio, which offer subscription or free ad-supported streaming services have been eating into Apple’s market share. As of last April, Apple account for 80 percent of paid music downloads.
Although Beyoncé’s album is the most recent high-profile example of this strategy to shore up customers, Apple has actually been at this for a while. A year and a half ago, Taylor Swift’s Red was available digitally exclusively on the service, bringing in tons of sales at market price. Digital distribution rivals like Amazon and Google, who sold the album later on, have been known to price news albums as loss leaders.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.