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Apple unveils its B2B streaming product

By | Published on Thursday 21 November 2019

Apple Music

Apple Music has formally announced its much anticipated move into B2B streaming, with Harrods and Levi’s stores apparently already using the service to soundtrack their premises.

Providing music to corporate clients has long seemed like an obvious way for the streaming firms to generate extra revenues. Standard Apple Music or Spotify subscriptions do not allow for music to be streamed on commercial premises (even if many commercial premises do exactly that). With B2B streaming the likes of Spotify and Apple can charge retailers, bars, cafes and other companies a premium to stream music in public spaces.

The music industry shares in that premium pricing, and is still due separate royalties for the public performance of their songs and recordings, which would usually be paid to the collecting societies, but which some B2B streamers seek to bundle in to their products.

Apple’s plans to move into B2B streaming seemed to be confirmed when it registered the trademarks for Apple Music For Business late last year. Spotify is already active in this space via its interest in the Soundtrack Your Brand company, which in October 2018 published research that reckoned the music industry was missing out on $2.65 billion a year by not properly exploiting the B2B streaming market.

In the US both Pandora and Sirius also already offer business-orientated subscription packages. And, of course, there are those companies whose core business is providing music for retail clients, which include Mood Media and Playnetwork. Apple is partnering with the latter on the launch of Apple Music For Business.

Announcing the new service yesterday, Playnetwork bragged that Apple B2B set-up “breaks new ground for business music services”. It does this, it went on, by combining music experts and super duper playlists with “a technology platform built for your world” and “an integrated marketing programme that helps you connect with customers through your existing channels, and extend your reach into new ones”. So that’s fun.

It will be interesting to see to what extent both Spotify and Apple push this side of their respective businesses in the years ahead. Meanwhile, Apple Music seems to also be interested in having partnerships with B2B clients who can help it promote its consumer-facing product, with Harrods apparently already plugging subscriptions on its digital signage in store.