You know that catchy music you hear in the background while shopping at certain retail locations? Those tracks that occasionally stick in your brain are provided by companies like Mood Media Corp. (formerly known as Muzak), Sirius XM Holdings Inc. and Soundtrack Your Brand. But now, the Wall Street Journal reports that a new competitor has entered the business. Apple Music joined with PlayNetworks to create Apple Music for Business. Unlike the consumer version of Apple Music which costs about $10 per month, Apple Music for Business is believed to charge $25 to $35 a month, in line with what the competition receives. PlayNetworks will not reveal how much the service costs.
What makes this venture so different for Apple is the partnership with PlayNetworks. The latter provides stores, restaurants, and hotels with background music and other entertainment and is operating the business. Apple usually doesn't like to give up any control because a situation could arise that might sully the Apple brand, or its partner could decide to take the business in a direction where Apple doesn't want it to go.
After being in operation for 6 months, Apple Music for Business has 25 accounts which will eventually translate into 10,000 retail stores (which, by the way, includes Apple's own stores). In typical Apple fashion, it is using the business version of its streaming music platform to promote Apple Music for consumers. Apple has focused on selling the business version of its music streamer to companies with over 100 retail locations, but will soon look to do business with smaller chains.
Iconic British department store Harrods is a customer of Apple Music for Business and it has created its own playlist based on the ones offered by Apple. Harrods customers see large screens inside the store promoting Harrods playlist which can be heard on Apple Music. Apple pays a referral fee to the business for each three-month Apple Music trial subscription generated by such promotions.
While new to the in-store music and entertainment business, Apple Music for Business might get some traction from retailers drawn to the idea of receiving referral fees. And the Apple Music brand carries plenty of weight worldwide, where it is the second-largest music streamer after Spotify.