Apple Reportedly Plans Cheaper Beats Music in iOS in 2015

Apple is working behind the scenes to secure better pricing for Beats Music customers before including it as a service in iOS in 2015. Citing unnamed sources "briefed on the plans," The Financial Times reported that Apple is looking for a retail price of US$5 per month for subscribers, while record labels are holding out for a higher price.

Beats Music and most music streaming services are currently priced at the $10 per month rate. On a yearly basis, this is apparently more than most folks spend on music—The New York Times reported that an average music listener's yearly expenditures on music range from $40 to $55. Apple seems to believe that a lower price will bring more people through the door.

Apple has an enormous installed user base of iTunes customers and iOS device owners, measured in the many hundreds of millions. Bringing in even a relatively small percentage of those users would generate substantial money for the labels, and maybe their artists.

Of course, it's also part of the general race to the bottom usually led by Apple's competitors, where content is expected for free by lots and lots of "customers." A few hundred million people shelling out $5 a month, could result in a net gain in label revenue, or it could contribute to the ever-lower perceived value of music.

Apple has reportedly been focused on a way of moving its customer base from iTunes downloads—which are declining—to streaming, which is growing. Apple executive Trent Reznor*, for instance, recently spoke about the necessity of making paid streaming compelling in a world where music can be gotten to for "free" (ad supported) through YouTube and other online sources.

Apple acquired Beats Music with the purchase of Beats Electronics in May of 2014. Since then, the company was thought to be planning on incorporating Beats Music into iTunes itself at some point in the future.

*I so love using those four words together.