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Apple trademark application suggests planned push into B2B streaming

By | Published on Thursday 6 December 2018

Apple Music

Apple has applied to register the trademark ‘Apple Music For Business’ in the US and – in that application – reveals that it has made similar applications with trademark registries elsewhere in the world. All of which suggests that Apple is planning a push into B2B streaming.

Although plenty of businesses currently play streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music in public spaces, doing so breaches the terms and conditions of those digital platforms. And that’s true even if the place of business has the appropriate public performance licences from collecting societies like PRS and PPL.

Some reckon that B2B streaming – ie selling higher-priced subscriptions to businesses that allow them to stream music in public spaces – could provide a significant extra revenue stream for the likes of Spotify and Apple, which could help those currently loss-making streaming operations become profitable. Broadcasters like Sky have always had a lucrative second revenue stream selling higher priced subscriptions to business users.

The Spotify-backed B2B streaming outfit Soundtrack Your Brand recently published a report that reckoned that the music industry was losing out on $2.65 billion per year by failing to truly exploit the potential of selling higher-priced subscriptions to business users.

Legally streaming music in a public space needs two things. Firstly the terms and conditions of the Spotify or Apple account need to allow it, which in turn means that Spotify and Apple’s licensing deals with the music companies need to grant the required permissions. Secondly a separate licence is needed for the public performance of music, which in the UK would now mean the single licence provided by the PRS/PPL joint venture.

Those dabbling in B2B streaming are trying to see if they can bundle the latter licence in with their own packages, thus allowing businesses to legally stream music with just a single account and one monthly payment. Soundtrack Your Brand already has alliances with BMI and ASCAP in the US and SOCAN in Canada.

That company’s recent report and bold claims about potential overall revenues suggests that the Spotify-backed B2B streaming service is looking to ramp up its profile and boost its B2B customer base. Which it should do pronto, because Apple’s trademark application might mean that it has a major rival player entering that market very soon.