Is Adele proving Apple’s music strategy is wrong?

“Until the release of Adele’s newest album ’25,’ the future of the music industry was obvious and could only go in one direction: streaming,” Pim Keulen writes for Seeking Alpha. “We could rely on a couple of certainties. Physical sales would become irrelevant at some point or a niche market, like vinyl, at best and streaming would overtake digital download sales.”

“Even an innovative company as Apple was not resistant to the streaming trend,” Keulen writes. “In fact, some may call the introduction of Apple Music, the company’s very own subscription-based streaming service, on June 30 of this year quite late. One of the reasons for Apple to introduce the streaming service was an ongoing decline of digital downloads through its successful platform iTunes.”

“How different does the music business look at these ‘certainties’ after the first sales figures of Adele’s latest album came in? Music Business Worldwide reported ’25’ overtook the all-time week one sales record in the United States within just 4 out of 7 days. Adele sold over 2.4 million albums during the first four days after launch,” Keulen writes. “Adele and her management team decided not to distribute the album through streaming channels, leaving Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer and other services in the cold. The move is even bolder than Taylor Swift who only withdrew her repertoire from Spotify.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Adele is the outlier, not the rule. Apple’s music strategy, which, by the way, also includes over 1 million of those 2.4 million of Adele’s “25” album sales via iTunes Store, is sound (pun intended).

Why Adele isn’t streaming her new album on Apple Music or Spotify – November 20, 2015
Adele rejects streaming music services, including Apple Music, for ‘25’ – November 19, 2015
Adele’s new album ’25’ may break ‘impossible’ sales record – November 19, 2015


  1. Apple had no choice.. They had to have a product to compete with other streaming services.

    But what i appriciate about apple is that they actually show concern about Artist income and overall impact of dirt cheap streaming on the industry.

    1. Apple’s “choice” is to offer a PAID music streaming service alongside iTunes Store for purchasing music (the world’s largest music retailer). And have the two interconnected through the customer’s iTunes library.

      So, I don’t get how Adele is proving Apple’s music strategy wrong? Apple’s iTunes Store (a key part of Apple’s music strategy) still exists, and it’s going strong.

  2. Adele is a hypocrite – if she is so against streaming then take all of your music off…. In stark contrast Look at Bieber – he sold a shit ton of albums and is streaming as well.

    1. How is she a hypocrite? She (or rather her management) made a smart financial business decision for 25. That is, they decided to temporarily withhold it from subscription services and greatly reduce the retail price, along with other give-aways and promos, to boost the album into record breaking status, ultimately resulting in increased sales, and thus increased profit.

      The same people involved will look at another album and realize that releasing it on day 1 (or sooner) on subscription services will increase exposure and result in increased sales.

      It all depends on the album… the quality, buzz, timing, anticipation, promotion, etc…

      It’s not political.

    2. I think her objection is to free streaming. It’s also a strategy to sell to early adopters who may actually listen over a streaming service, once she releases the album to stream.

  3. I think music companies’ strategy of releasing a mass of stuff people don’t want to listen to beyond the first few weeks and certainly don’t want to own is why they’re not making any money.

  4. eh?

    last i checked Apple was by far the largest music retailer (selling of downloaded albums, songs ) in the world.

    if Artists just want to sell albums, I think Apple is fine with it.

    1. Far from being wrong, Apple’s music strategy is excellent. If an artists only releases music to buy outright, Apple can sell their music. If they wish to stream the music, Apple will do that and pay them accordingly and if the artist wants to do both, Apple can do that too.

      How is that any sort of problem for Apple? Apple earns money either way. It’s up to the artists and their representatives to decide which of Apple’s services, or which combination of services are likely to be most adventageous for their music.

      1. Me too. And when the streaming service goes down or dries up, and when people move on to the next thing which involves even less choice and less ownership, I’ll still own the things that bring me joy. Suffer, suckers. You choose a world where people promise you things for free and in return you whore your personal info.

      1. Popularity is not necessarily an indicator of quality or good taste. Just because people like something doesn’t mean it’s good.I’m not saying Adele’s music is bad, just saying that huge sales are not a guaranteed indicator of musical quality. IMHO, too many people think that “I like it” automatically means “It’s good”…..that’s simply not true. Lots of people like McDonald’s….doesn’t absolutely mean it’s good food.

  5. Since Apple did not remove music sales but just added the streaming choice, the headline, and premise of the story, makes no sense.

    It’s not a good day Pim when your story makes no sense.

  6. This is just like movies. They don’t go on Netflix at the premiere. First movies, then DVD and pay per view. Finally if it go out to streaming services.
    Why should an artist give a brand new album to streaming when the revenue will be substantially less than selling the album outright.
    Streaming is just part of the model. Its not all or nothing. It is an additional revenue stream not just the only possible one.

  7. There is nothing wrong with both models. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

    Movies hit theaters before DVD and BitTorrent (mostly).

    Once Adel sells all she can and sales start to taper off, she would, like any sales team, look for other sales channels. And she has the right to sell her intellectual property any way she wants.

    It would be nice if she looks at steaming to sell ’21’ or even in a year ’25’.

    But let her get as much money as she can. Good for her.

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