For months, we’ve seen reports and rumors that Apple is on the brink of introducing its own answer to Amazon Prime: a bundled subscription service that would offer users access to Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple News+ for one flat fee. But a new article providing details about Apple’s newly signed deals with major record labels for Apple Music calls that prediction into question—at least for the near term.
According to a report in Financial Times, Apple Music has inked new deals with the record labels Sony Music, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group to continue to offer those labels’ artists’ work on Apple’s streaming service for years to come. That includes huge names like Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Blake Shelton, and Mariah Carey.
That said, the new deals do not “include an economic agreement to bundle Apple Music with the company’s television service,” according to Financial Times’ sources. Late last year, Bloomberg reported that Apple was pursuing a plan to bundle Apple TV+, Apple Music, and Apple News+ in one service. (Apple Arcade and the company’s other services were not mentioned.)That article made clear that Apple did include a provision in its deals with magazine and newspaper publishers “that lets the iPhone maker bundle the News+ subscription service with other paid digital offerings.”
Magazine and newspaper publishers were anxious about the deal because it likely meant they would receive a much smaller amount of money per subscriber than they do currently. Today, Apple charges $9.99 per month for News+ and takes 50 percent of that revenue, then splits the rest among publishers who are part of the service based on how much their content is read and engaged with.
Music labels may be concerned about something similar. Financial Times writes that “Apple has told the big music companies that it intends to aggregate its media services, but the two sides have not yet settled on the details of a media-bundling plan, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Apple has settled these Music deals amidst negotiations between its chief rival in the United States, Spotify, and two of the same labels continue. Spotify has signed a deal with Sony, but Universal and Warner have been agreeing to only short-term deals with Spotify measured in months as they continue to hash out details critical to more sustainable long-term agreements.