With a mere week to go before Apple’s WWDC keynote event, it appears that Tim Cook and Dr. Dre are looking to expand their squad. According to the New York Post, Apple is looking to bolster its almost-sure-to-launch music subscription program by courting artists that appeal to young audiences, most notably Drake, and have them "guest DJ" for the rumored service.
Drake would headline a list of artists that includes Pharrell Williams and David Guetta. This direction could be wise for Apple, as pushing a new Drake album onto iPhones might not cause the social media uprising that we saw after Apple's free U2 deal. In a move to directly compete with Spotify and Tidal, Apple reportedly wants these musicians to DJ on iTunes Radio. The rumored role makes sense, as world-famous artists as DJs fits right in with the user-tailored playlists and editorial content that Apple's Beats Music app offers.
Most streaming services can have vast majority of popular artists (Taylor Swift withstanding) available for listening their roster, so companies have begun differentiating content in order to keep their customers on the line for that monthly $10 payment. Industry leader Spotify added video, playlists for exercise and podcasts to stay atop the field, and Tidal launched with all of the lossless audio, artist-curated playlists and exclusive music videos audiences never knew they needed.
Apple may be a force in the sales of downloaded music, but since audiences are moving towards streaming services, a major reboot of their unsuccessful iTunes Radio service has long been expected, and seen as a motivator behind their acquisition of Beats. With all of the pressure on the company to stand out in the streaming market it has minimal presence in, Apple will need to grab headlines in order to grab eardrums. Apple is also rumored to be considering a three-month trial period for their new service, which would be three times as long as competitors Spotify and Tidal offer.
While Apple is rumored to have offered Drake as much as $19 million to join the team, the company isn't looking to shell out for everything. The Post also reports that Apple has asked music publishers to not charge them anything for all the songs played during those three month trials. That deal is highly unlikely, though, as it could put a major dent in revenue for any labels and artists that provide tunes to Apple's service.
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