Reports: Apple to bundle Beats Music service with iOS software

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) plans to bundle the Beats Music subscription streaming music service it acquired earlier this year into its iOS software, according to reports from the Financial Times and the New York Times.

The reports cited unnamed sources and said that the service will come pre-installed as a part of software for iPhones and iPads, which would greatly increase the service's reach. According to the FT, the Beats service could be included in an iOS software update that could happen as early as March.

Apple declined to comment, according to the reports.

Meanwhile, according to the NYT, Apple is aiming to make the streaming music service cheaper for consumers. The company has held discussions with record labels over new licensing terms that will allow it to drop the monthly subscription cost for Beats Music to as low as $5 a month, down from the current $10 a month, according to executives briefed on those talks. However, there has not been an agreement on the price, with record labels pushing back against Apple's position.

By greatly expanding the reach through bundling it with iOS, Apple could make Beats a more formidable competitor against the likes of Spotify and Pandora. However, Apple will still need to negotiate a deal with labels, which have recently been expressing their displeasure with freemium services like Spotify.

Last month AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) confirmed that it had ended a promotion under which its family plan customers could get a discount on Beats Music service.

However, AT&T customers who have the service will not see any disruption and customers can still get Beats Music as a standalone service. As a standalone subscription service, Beats costs $9.99 and comes with a two-week trial. It's available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

For more:
- see this FT article (sub. req.)
- see this NYT article
- see this The Verge article

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