As it continues to negotiate with music labels on a rumored Beats Music relaunch, Apple has reportedly surrendered on one of its key initiatives: lowering the cost of the rebooted service to $8 per month.
Industry sources quoted by Billboard say that the labels have held firm on wanting a $10 price tag, the amount currently charged by Beats Music and by Apple's main rival in streaming music, Spotify. If Apple were to go ahead with a price cut, it would have to absorb the losses.
Just this week Re/code indicated that Apple was still hoping to hit the $8 mark. Both the Billboard and Re/code sources have, however, agreed that Apple will not offer an ad-supported free tier least beyond an initial trial period.
The Billboard sources also support the claim that Apple is working to secure exclusives from musicians and labels. These could help lure listeners, but one source comments that the company may have to pay high sums to make it happen.
"Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world," the person said. "If they want exclusive content, they're going to have to get out the checkbook."
Details of the upcoming relaunch — including a date or even what the service will be called — have so far remained shrouded. It's commonly expected that Beats Music will be rebranded under the iTunes label, and offer on-demand access to music on the iTunes Store. Some rumors have hinted that like Beats Music the service will have a presence on Android, a platform Apple has usually avoided and frequently attacked via marketing and lawsuits.