Apple pushes music labels for Beyonce-style exclusives

Apple is putting the full court press on major music labels to do more exclusive deals like Beyonce's recent arrangement. Apple's reportedly pushing for deals in the wake of slowing download sales. Billboard:

As music download sales decline--digital track sales fell 5.7% from 1.34 billion units to 1.26 billion units in 2013, according to Nielsen SoundScan--Apple is pressing music labels to think about possible windowing strategies as a way to buoy faltering sales.

Beyonce's eponymous album, released in December, was available exclusively through iTunes for its first week. During that week the album sold one million copies online. So it's easy to understand why Apple wants more deals like that.

Apple isn't trying to fight with other download services as much as it is with streaming services like Spotify, which are finally biting hard into download sales as more and more people get comfortable with the technology. Apple's moving in that direction with iTunes Radio, as well, but its bread and butter is still music download sales, so it's doing whatever it can to bolster that business.

Have you begun to use iTunes Radio, Spotify or another streaming service in place of music downloads? Let me know in the comments.

Peter Cohen