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Can Apple convince labels to launch Beats in June?

Barry Collins
6 May 2015
Beats Music
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Music label sources say Apple isn't ready to launch revamped Beats music next month

Apple is reportedly struggling to get deals done with music labels in time to relaunch its Beats music service at next month's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Apple plans to unveil the new look Beats during its keynote on 8 June, perhaps alongside a revamped Apple TV

However, according to a report by Billboard, Apple has yet to tie up licensing deals with some of the key music labels, potentially forcing the company to postpone the launch. A source at a major record label told the site that: "June won't be the release date. The deals aren't done."

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Others are still confident that Apple can meet the deadline, not least because the company's past licensing deals have proved lucrative for the record labels. Not to mention the fact that Apple has $195 billion kicking around in its bank account, meaning Apple can well afford to give the labels a bigger slice of the revenue if it needs to. A fact that's probably not lost on the record label executives. 

There are other reasons why Apple might be struggling to get labels to sign on the dotted line. The company is reportedly urging the labels to bar Spotify from offering a free subscription tier, reducing competition for its paid-for Beats service, which is expected to cost the same £9.99 per month as a Spotify Premium subscription. However, the US Federal Trade Commission is said to be taking an interest in Apple's dealings with the music labels, amid fears the company is abusing its power within the music industry to harm competition. 

The relaunch of the Beats app will reportedly coincide with a new version of iTunes Radio, which will now be offered to a "long list" of countries, rather than only the US and Australia, as it is at present. Beats will focus on curated playlists to differentiate itself from Spotify, which is the world's biggest streaming service. 

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