This Is How Apple Could Win Over Spotify, Rdio and the Other Streaming Services

Apple is a monster. With a bank account bigger than many countries, it can do what it wants.  But having money is one thing. Spending it wisely is another.

Many people are still trying to figure out why Apple spent $3.2 billion on Beats. What plans to they have for iTunes Radio which has been (ahem) underwhelming to say the least. Are they looking to buy up some record labels so they can offer more exclusives on iTunes? Why did they hire BBC DJ Zane Lowe?

Fast Company looks at these questions and more.

With an alleged 800 million iTunes accounts and associated sets of credit card credentials, including 200 million active buyers, Apple is an undeniable leader in online music sales. But those sales are now declining, and streaming is booming. Spotify now has 15 million paying customers, and in the process, the company says, artists have earned over $2 billion. That hasn’t stopped artists from lamenting the terms of the arrangement (and, if you’re Swift, abandoning it altogether).

That’s one reason why, regardless of content, Apple would be wise to compete with Spotify not only for the attention of listeners but for that of artists too. (Rhapsody already claims to pay artists three times what Spotify pays.) If Apple wants to take on Spotify, rather than just giving iTunes visual and programmatic upgrades, Apple could do something simple: run iTunes Music the way it runs its successful App Store, and give artists more control.

Intriguing, no? Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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