Warning YouTube: Apple has big iTunes plans

Is this the real Game of Thrones?

spotify youtube beware apples itunes plan

Apple’s move to cut Apple TV prices alongside music industry gossip suggest Apple is almost ready to attack Google’s YouTube and Spotify where it hurts – content.

Creative or commodity

Apple knows its customers love and appreciate content. Some moan about iTunes’ “Walled Garden”, but few think content creators should be unable to make a living from creating content we love.

Google thinks music is a commodity, not an art form, telling musicians “to be successful on YouTube you need to make a lot of content,” devaluing the entire struggle to creative expression in a single sentence.

Google has built its entire business around other people’s content, even Google search depends on other people creating content to search in the first place. Google wouldn’t exist without other people’s creativity.

Apple has other partners (like Yahoo, or IBM and Watson) who will battle Google search, but Apple’s Apple TV news hints a bigger plan to put the value back into creating content.

A recent Recode report states: “Apple executives, led by media head Eddy Cue and Beats Music founder Jimmy Iovine, have been arguing that the music business ‘needs to get behind a paywall,’ say people who have talked to them.” We recently learned Apple’s curated Beats-based music service won’t be available for free.

Game of Thrones

I think the timing of the Apple TV price cut and the surrounding chatter regarding iTunes suggests we will learn more about Apple’s plans – and that Google and Spotify will find themselves under direct attack as the company and its media partners takes steps to put value back into a creative industry the freemium industry is turning into a production line.

Why else do you think the Apple TV price cut and HBO.com deal got any air-time at Apple’s hugely important Watch event? It wasn’t just so everyone could swoon at those Game of Thrones dragons and their mum.

“While Apple has announced that the price cut for Apple TV is intended to celebrate the milestone of 25 million units sold, the price drop may also help to address increasingly heated competition and to begin channel inventory clearance to potentially make way for a new model,” IHS analyst, Paul Erickson writes in new analysis to be published Friday.

The Google threat isn’t confined to the Chromecast stick – Android TV manufacturers including Sony, Sharp, and Philips, are all set to offer these features within the televisions they ship.

Here be dragons

IHS predicts: “Apple will need to expand the overall capabilities of Apple TV, continue expanding the selection of marquee content partners, release updated hardware, or some combination thereof. The company’s latest price move to $69 can be seen as both a competitive response and a move that gives credence to a likely launch of the next-generation Apple TV later in 2015.”

A new Apple TV seems certain, and those Apple television rumors may percolate again soon, but beyond television, Apple and its music industry partners are planning another strategic shift, suggests MusicAlly.

Google (and Spotify) have had it easy too long.

Now Apple has a plan to put the value back.

Be ready.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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