The Financial Times reported on Monday that Tim Cook's company recently approached top music labels about supporting the bundling of Apple Music, whose individual plan costs $9.99 per month, and the soon-to-launch TV+ video service, which will cost $4.99 per month on a standalone basis. It added that talks are at an early stage (pricing hasn't been discussed yet), and that while some labels are open to the concept, people at one major label have concerns.
It's worth noting that music industry execs voicing concerns about the power wielded by streaming services is nothing new -- just ask Spotify (SPOT) - Get Spotify Technology SA Report and YouTube -- and doesn't necessarily preclude a deal from being hammered out. In the case of an Apple Music/TV+ bundle, Apple could potentially argue to music labels that the new music subscribers such an offering could help it land would justify the labels accepting a small discount on the revenue that they get per subscriber.
Also worth noting: For the time being, Apple is providing a year of TV+ for free with an iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV or iPod purchase. With TV+ set to have a limited content library in the near-term -- only 9 originals have been promised to be available when the service launched on Nov. 1st, though more will arrive in time -- an Apple Music/TV+ bundle that's priced at a modest premium to a standard Apple Music subscription might be an effective way to win over consumers who either haven't recently made an Apple hardware purchase or (beginning in the fall of 2020) who just saw their free year come to an end.
Of course, as The Financial Times and many others have pointed out, Apple, whose total services revenue is closing in on a $50 billion annual run rate, could choose to bundle a lot more than just its music and video streaming services if it wishes. The News+ news/magazine service, the Arcade gaming service, iCloud storage plans and AppleCare+ service plans are all options, with different bundles featuring different services and/or pricing. Some have also argued over the years that Apple could offer subscription plans that cover both services and guaranteed hardware upgrades at fixed intervals (for example, an iPhone upgrade every 2 years, or an iPad upgrade every 3 years).
Whether Apple goes this far or simply sticks to bundling a handful of content services, the rollout of new services bundles would play into a broader trend of consumers forgoing physical goods ownership for subscription services. Consumers who do this often end up spending more on subscriptions than they previously were on the physical goods that are being substituted -- for example, many of those currently paying $120 per year for a music service undoubtedly weren't spending that much annually on one-off music purchases -- but are comfortable doing it due to the features and convenience provided by a subscription service.
Services bundles would also clearly bolster Apple's efforts to keep consumers loyal to its broader ecosystem of hardware, software and services. If a consumer's usage of one or two subscription-based Apple services made him or her think twice about switching from an Apple device to a rival product, then usage of several services through a bundle is bound to act as an even bigger incentive not to jump ship.