Could there be method in Apple’s apparent madness in removing freebies?

“I was extremely surprised when Apple made the decision to drop its Single of the Week, after doing the same thing with its 12 Days of Christmas promo,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “As I wrote then, the free single seemed a win-win-win: consumers got free music, lesser-known artists got exposure, Apple got the goodwill that stems from giving away free stuff.”

“But thinking more about it, perhaps there is method in Apple’s madness after all,” Lovejoy writes. “Let’s start with the obvious point: the company is about to launch an Apple-branded Beats Music service, and it would then make sense to say that this, not iTunes freebies, is the way to discover new music.”

“But it’s not just music: 12 Days of Christmas was content of all types, apps included, so I think there could be a bigger picture here,” Lovejoy writes. “Think about Apple’s own positioning in the market. You know you’ll never be able to buy a cheap Apple product. You’re paying a premium for quality (though not necessarily a large one). What if it could adopt that same positioning for content? What if it could say ‘If you want freebies, head over to Android; if you want quality content, buy it here’?”

Read more in the full article – recommendedhere.


  1. Hey I buy Apple products but I’m not against looking for a deal. For example, I get all of my iBooks free using BookHub. If Apple decides that I must pay $4.99 I won’t hesitate to get them free from Amazon.

    1. I hate freeloaders. I also hate having to buy exorbitant album pricing where there is only one or two good tracks.

      Steve Jobs made it fair. Pay a reasonable price for something to reward the effort it takes to produce it. Don’t freeload and don’t extort. It’s that simple. Any reasonable person should expect to pay a reasonable price.

  2. I won’t be buy ANYTHING with Beaten by Dre branded on it. Wouldn’t if Jesus Christ himself told me to.

    Biggest waste of almost $3 Billion this side of the government.

    Yes- it sticks in my craw that much.

        1. Their new headphones are no longer considered ‘shiteous’ by audiophile reviewers.

          Your other points may be valid, I don’t know, but I do know about the headphones.

        2. The intrinsic value wasn’t in the hardware products like the headphones and speakers. The value was in the brand and the mindshare and marketshare it held, and in the people running the brand and their places in the industry.

          I agree that $3B seems like way too much, but the overall strategy remains to be seen by any of us here, so it’s difficult to say with any degree of certainty whether it was the “biggest wast of $3B” or not. Let’s see what happens with Apple and music in 2015, and then we’ll know whether it was a waste or not.

    1. So you would not buy anything from Dre EVEN if something great was to come from it?

      You should analyse why that is so. People reading your message have analyzed it, and there is only one conclusion. And it ain’t pretty.

    2. Easy with the hyperbole, DavGreg. I was not a fan of this acquisition, either, but it is early to be judging it a complete failure and waste of money.

      Besides, it is fairly easy (unfortunately) to come up with several fairly recent examples of corporate waste that are larger and more egregious – Skype, Motorola Mobility, Nokia. And that only took a second.

      The Beats acquisition was about five to ten times the normal size of Apple acquisitions, so it is somewhat out of character. However, if this acquisition boosts key aspects of Apple’s mobile ecosystem, then it may very well be worth it. Those returns would be in addition to the profits that Beats already pulls in from its pricy line of headphones and earbuds (assuming that those stay popular).

      This may yet prove to be another solid acquisition by Apple. At the very least, it fits in quite well with Apple’s core business and ecosystem.

  3. I find that with a little initial input from me Beats delivers a constant stream of the music I like with very few misses. Some of those great deliveries are new to me, but their selection is most often spot on. It’s definitely worth it.

  4. Nah, I think that just like all promotions, this one ran its course. Apple didn’t need freebies to promote its App Store or iTunes (although Starbucks still give away free apps and free music via Apple).

  5. Beats headphones and Beats music service are two completely different things Apple acquired. Even if you “hate” the headphones, you should give the service a try…

    In the “free” area, iTunes Store also now has the “First Play” exclusives, where I can listen an artist’s new album for free (on iTunes Radio). That’s probably a better way to promote artists, compared to giving away a single (seemingly random) song every week.

  6. Apple does not own the content. They have to negotiate with the right’s holders (in best cases the artists, but unfortunately not the norm) to make such events happen. It becomes quite obvious to me that iTunes is not the preferred partner for a lot of media companies, even though it’s got a lot to offer from a consumer’s perspective. It’s something the media companies still need to learn, but unfortunately it’s easier for them to go for shortsighted profit than to figure how their product works.

  7. I dunno, I was a little disappointed. I’ve gotten literally hundreds of free songs over the years, most by people I never would have heard. I’ve bought some, but not enough to justify the whole deal from a profit standpoint I’m sure.

    One thing is that I put a lot of music in my wish list, and every Tuesday when getting my freebies I’d peruse the list and often buy an album. I probably won’t visit as much now. Just sayin’.

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