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Apple in talks with music labels to reduce Beats Music streaming fees, report says

According to a report on Thursday, Apple is in talks with major music labels over content licensing price cuts to be applied to Beats Music, which could result in subscription fee drops some time next year.



Citing people familiar with the talks, Re/code reports talks are in very early stages, but Apple is requesting a "new set of rights and features" from music labels ahead of a Beats Music refresh some time in 2015.

While details of the new feature set remain unknown, the publication says Apple is pushing for lower content licensing fees that would allow Beats to charge less than the current $10 per month going rate.

The music industry has been opposed to releasing content to for-pay streaming services like Spotify, but market shifts toward free streaming options have proven difficult for the sector. As noted by Re/code, digital download sales are going the way of the CD, while streaming music revenue is up. Due to the nature of streaming platforms, it is unclear whether the dip in downloads can be attributed to free streaming or subscription services.

A rumor earlier this month claimed Apple was planning to shut down Beats Music and roll the service into iTunes Radio. But the speculation was quickly debunked by Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr, who said the company has no such plans. Neumayr did not comment on the possibility of a rebranding, which some say could happen in the coming months.