Apple is partnering with PlayNetwork Inc. for the project, which specializes in providing music for commercial use by handling licensing and operating the service for Apple. In turn, Apple contributes by creating hundreds of unique playlists for each client.
Special business contracts must be made to use certain pieces of music in retail areas because of the high cost of licensing fees. PlayNetwork tackles these issues for clients such as Starbucks and Estée Lauder.
In these retail spaces, there are currently a few streaming services that offer business contracts for retailers, including Soundtrack Your Brand (formerly Spotify Business), Sirius XM Holdings, and more. These services cost between $25 to $35 a month per retail location.
Apple Music for Business will now be a player in this space, but there is no indication yet as to how much Apple will charge for its service. In its six months of operation, Apple has landed 25 clients, which are estimated to deliver music to more than 10,000 store locations, including Apple’s own retail stores.
One client includes Harrods in London, which had its own custom “Harrods Playlist” built by Apple. The retailer advertises this list of classical, ambient, and electronic music on screens in its stores, which users can search for and listen to in the consumer version of Apple Music.
“We were captivated by their proposition that we could have our brand reflected in our own curated playlist,” said Guy Cheston, Harrods’s director of partnerships.
Apple Music for Business has so far focused on retail chains with 100 stores or more. But it plans on expanding into small and midsize businesses.
On the regular version of Apple Music, the company just launched a “Replay” feature, which provides subscribers with a way to track the artists, albums, and songs they listen to the most every year. This has been a long-awaited feature on Apple Music, and one that many of the service’s rivals, like Spotify, have been doing for years.
Apple Music still trails behind Spotify in terms of paid subscribers, with 60 million paid subscribers as of June 2019 compared to Spotify’s 113 million Premium subscribers as of September 30, 2019.