The introduction of online streaming services like Spotify and Pandora have brought about unprecedented legal access to music, eliminating at least some of the need to illegally acquire content owned by music labels and musicians. Now, that access is under attack by Apple, who is pushing for the end of on-demand ad-supported music.
The news comes in the wake of numerous reports that claim Apple has been prodding major music labels such as Sony and Universal Music Group to pull content from free on-demand music platforms. If this were to happen, music listeners around the world would lose an enormous amount of access to free music that is currently made available through paid advertisements.
It's not like Apple is alone in this push since there's no shortage of discontent from major labels against ad-supported music streaming, but it's incredibly suspect given Apple's recent music streaming push with the $3 billion acquisition of Beats.
The act of pulling support for Spotify's free services could also be heavily detrimental to music label revenues as well. Spotify claims that a streamed song on its platform will generate $0.006 to $0.0084, all of which goes toward artists/labels, the higher number attainable for the most popular artists. If you take Ke$ha's "Die Young", which has currently amassed 96,742,802 plays, and multiply those plays by the maximum pay-out amount, there's a $812,639 paycheck that never makes it to Ke$ha's music label.
Those numbers may not impress the bigger labels, but it's revenue being paid that may otherwise be lost. Making music free and accessible without imposing fees guarantees a wider audience and greater music discovery. Removing free, ad-supported access risks losing most/all of that revenue gained through free streaming, and this is what Apple is aggressively pushing for.
Apple is possibly readying the re-release of it's online music streaming front, something that can be expected to lobby its iTunes platform as a Spotify competitor and getting into the game way behind the competition has stumped Apple's reach in this market. Regardless of the company's true level of involvement in ending free on-demand music streaming, the news only brings negativity to Apple given that everyone loves free things, especially music.
via PC World