How Apple and Beyoncé Are Changing the Music Industry

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

There’s no question that Beyoncé is a musical powerhouse. In 2013, her self-titled album became the No. 8 top-selling album of the year, as well as the best-selling album by a woman with 1.3 million copies sold, reports Billboard. The fact that her album was not released until December 13, 2013, makes this accomplishment even more impressive. While fans clearly love her music, the unprecedented success that Beyoncé achieved with her self-titled album may be partly due to her unique partnership with Apple.

Apple’s iTunes was the exclusive retailer of Beyoncé’s album for the first week after its release in 2013. While it’s unknown how much Apple paid for this privilege, the deal clearly benefitted both parties. According to a press release from Apple, Beyoncé’s self-titled album was the fastest-selling album in iTunes history with 828,773 copies sold in just three days. It also broke the record for first-week album sales in the U.S. with 617,213 copies sold.

Now it appears that the success of the partnership between Apple and Beyoncé may be spurring bigger changes in the overall music industry. According to unnamed insider sources cited by the New York Post, Jimmy Iovine — the Beats co-founder who joined Apple when the iPhone maker acquired the company last year — is looking to forge similar deals with other artists. Assuming the rumors are true, the push toward exclusive deals with Apple could further erode the power of record labels that are already reeling from the industry’s previous shift from physical album sales to digital downloads.