Apple offers discounted annual Apple Music subscription through $99 gift card

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Apple is now selling 12-month Apple Music gift cards for $99 in the U.S., allowing people willing to commit for that span to save a significant amount on their subscription.

The cards are available at Apple's retail stores, and from several online retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, and even PayPal's eBay store. Apple itself isn't selling 12-month subscriptions online, whether through the Web, iTunes, or iOS.

For an individual listener, Apple Music normally costs about $120 per year at a rate of $9.99 per month. Apple's main rival in on-demand streaming — Spotify — does sell cards for 12-month Premium subscriptions, but these are normally full-price ($120) unless a vendor happens to be offering a discount.

Apple can afford to be more aggressive with pricing, since its online services are mostly a way of keeping people attached to its hardware, where most of its profit is made. While both Spotify and Apple Music are multi-platform, the latter is deeply integrated into iOS devices.

The company may be hoping to intensify competition with Spotify, which still has twice the number of paid subscribers and an even larger number of ad-supported listeners. An Apple Music revamp is coming with this month's release of iOS 10, which should significantly improve the service's interface.