Apple’s quest for services super-bundle slowed by record labels

What you need to know

  • Apple is trying to get a services bundle off the ground.
  • It’s facing resistance from music companies.
  • Though some do seem receptive to the idea.

Record labels are concerned about bundling cutting into their profits.

As Apple continues to grow its services business there’s one question that just won’t go away. When will Apple push all of its services into one so-called super-bundle? One including Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and Apple News+? According to a new report by The Financial Times, Apple is already working on it. But it’s meeting resistance.

That resistance is coming from, as usual, record labels. According to the report and the infamous anonymous sources, Apple is finding that record labels are “growing more wary about (their) relationship with Apple.” That’s the stance even before the companies discuss how much such a bundle woud cost.

The concern appears to be that Apple might undercut the current price it charges for Apple Music by bundling it in with other services. That would presumably hit record labels and if there’s one thing we know about the music industry, it’s that it doesn’t like the idea of losing money or anyone telling it what to do.

But executives fear that margins may be hurt if Apple undercuts the $10 monthly price that Spotify, Apple Music and others charge.

Unfortunately, Apple very much likes to tell companies what to do, and record labels are no different. The Financial Times says that at least some labels are receptive to the idea of a super-bundle, but that might not be enough for Apple to get it over the line.

Apple currently charges $9.99 for Apple Music, $9.99 for Apple News+, and $4.99 for Apple Arcade. When Apple TV+ goes live next month that too will cost $4.99. It’s also possible that Apple may tie some of this in with other services or bundles, such as AppleCare+ or the iPhone Upgrade Program.