Apple Is Reportedly Buying Taylor Swift’s Label

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Apple’s revamped Beats Music streaming service is expected to launch some time in the near future. The service is reportedly being integrated into iOS and will be available on Android, giving Apple a big reach from the start.

What could give Apple’s streaming service an even bigger reach?

Taylor Swift’s new music.

Swift’s older releases are available on Beats Music, since the service has no free tier. Her newest album, 1989, isn’t available on any streaming service… A big win for iTunes. But every streaming service hopes to add the #1 album of the year to their catalog.
As Apple works on the new Beats Music they could have their eye on Taylor Swift’s label…

Hits Daily Double claims that iTunes is in the process of acquiring Big Machine Records for $250 million.

Besides Taylor Swift, the label is also home to Florida Georgia Line, Rascal Flatts, and Tim McGraw.

iTunes has officially denied the claims, but label owner Scott Borchetta has been reportedly trying to sell the the label for over $200 million.

Big Machine’s contract with Swift only includes one more album, but sources say the Apple deal would include both her back catalog and her next album.


Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

Image by Eva Rinaldi, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

27 Responses

  1. Chris H

    That will be funny, when she is on their streaming service and can’t do shit about it.

    • she got PAID

      …what will be funny is her getting a $250 Million Dollar pay day and laughing her way to the bank… see, the argument is not about streaming or technology silly boy Chris H, the argument is to get PAID… $250m sounds pretty good to me… and her and apple show spotify how it’s done…. with all the VC burn rate money, maybe spotify should be investing in ARTISTS too…

        • elleem

          Her father bought a 3% share of the company to secure a contract for her when she was a teenager. Big Machine was just starting out at the time. It was a $120,000 investment.

    • Jeff Robinson

      Even funnier will be when she finds out that Beats doesn’t pay any royalties. We’ve been waiting for 4 months and haven’t seen more than $2 from them in spite of substantial streaming. But if they buy her label, will she have to be paid at all? Malkevich-Malkevich!?

    • Spaceman

      I wonder how long its going to be before Scotts sells the company. Thats how you make the big money and he knows it. Selling records is one thing but the big big
      bucks are made the other way.

  2. GGG

    So the whole Spotify thing was less about artist rights, and more about a massive cash grab for TS/SB and Big Machine, just like we all said it was….shocking!

    But good for them, smart move.

  3. Adam

    Wonder how other labels will react to Apple officially competing against them?

  4. Me2

    Well, at least Apple has more of a claim to actually being in the music business, as opposed to a data acquisition.

  5. Me3

    And there it is. The brass ring all about the IPO or buyout, as opposed to silly things like cultural contribution, artistic expression and the rock and roll dream.

  6. Paul Resnikoff

    Let’s see if this actually materializes. Hits is an institution (of sorts, haha), but now sort of an old school publication amongst friends. The result is that it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s just a crony-to-crony write-up. Who knows, maybe Big Machine is trying to jack up the offer price from someone else, and called in a favor to juice things up.

    If this is actually happening, you have to wonder what Apple is thinking here. Remember, Apple is now years behind in streaming, they are getting lapped every day by Spotify, not to mention others like Deezer, Muve, and of course, YouTube. They are in the stone ages trying to sell $1.29 downloads, and the numbers prove that.

    Additionally, Apple has a really difficult problem ahead, and that problem is called Android. iTunes can’t be found on Android, yet this is a mobile platform that accounts for more than 70 percent of new mobile OS shipments according to the latest report I’ve come across. Shuttle over to a place like India, and Android almost completely eclipses iOS.

    So, if Beats is bundled into iTunes, it’s already on the margins. If Beats stays on Android while iTunes stays on iOS, then you have a completely inconsistent music ‘strategy,’ if you’d even call it that. If you kill Beats, then you just paid $3 billion for basically three executives and a headphone company that’s hot, but doesn’t have the best audio quality.

    So Apple needs Taylor Swift and Florida Georgia Line to solve that? Hard to see how that makes sense. Remember, superstars fade, and who knows what Taylor Swift’s profile looks like in a few years. Remember, there was a moment when Lady Gaga was the biggest artist on the planet, an unstoppable juggernaut (like Britney Spears before her, and Mariah Carey before that). Now Gaga’s still big, but you get the picture.

    The question is whether this is all a giant acqui-hire of executives and musical talent. Well, in that case, you’d better hope those executives actually show up to work (which is a huge if). Usually, the opposite is true; these acqui-hires don’t typically work out, based on all sorts of corporate culture and financial incentive issues (one problem is that these acqui-hired people are now quite wealthy, they are far less likely to burn through all-nighters to build strategy and push the most amazing products). And if you need some proof of that, look over at Live Nation, which just dissolved its ‘Live Nation Labs’ initiative some two years or so after acquiring BigChampagne. These things usually fail.

    There’s also the argument that the winners have already been crowned in streaming. That would be Spotify and Pandora; and you saw what happened when iTunes Radio tried to take on Pandora.

    Game on.

    • dave chappelle


      But it’s not “just a headphones company,” it’s the biggest headphone company on the market and what most of that 3 billion was spent on. The streaming service itself was a little over $500 million.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        Yes, with a B!

        I’ve heard all sorts of theories about what Apple was actually after in that purchase. I side with your version, which is that the headphones were the real prize. Beats has serious mindshare, they mean a huge amount in popular culture (and financially, no doubt).

        Thanks for the comment… Dave?

      • SickBeatMaker

        No, the price tag is for the brand, that was the buy, not hardware or streaming. That came direct from the mouths of two Beats equity holders after their nda’s expired.

        • Tcooke

          The market value of a company is assesed through the discounted rate of future cash flows.

    • Chris H


      Not for nothing, but I thought Apple couldn’t be in the record LABEL business specifically due to the settlement with Apple Corps. in 2007. Even calling it Big Machine wouldn’t be enough for the Beatles lawyers to come around and make a big deal out of it.

    • GGG

      Couldn’t it be what many of us always take Spotify, et al to task for, i.e. not reinvesting in artists?

      Apple could be banking on streaming taking over in the near future, so why not be the first to have an exclusive deal for a handful of huge records. Imagine, the only place you can get Swift’s next one (minus torrents) is iTunes and Beats….that’d be huge (maybe).

  7. Jason

    I bet Paul McCartney will sue apple big time if its true. Since they are using the name Apple with a promise to not get in the music business.

  8. Me2

    Does this hearken the age of exclusivity, or at least competetive windowing? Was Google trying to pre-empt this in their recent agreements?

  9. zogg

    Apple throws money away sometimes but not this time, can’t believe this story.

  10. wallow-T

    IANAL, but I would wonder about the anti-trust implications of the largest music retailer taking ownership of a label. Too much prospect of the retailer abusing its dominance in download sales to favor the artists on the label it owns.

  11. JD

    The hits article doesn’t claim it is happening. But all these publications are twisting their words to say it is happening. slow news day, I guess. Lazy journalism, as usual.