Amid slowing iTunes music sales, Apple is reportedly on the hunt for more exclusive content as it seeks to counter the march of the free streaming service.
That self-titled album, which featured 14 songs and 17 videos and was only available to buy in full, debuted on iTunes a week before it arrived on streaming services and YouTube.
The result was an iTunes-record 800,000 sales in the first three days and over one million in the first week, before it became available from alternate sources.
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Now Billboard claims Apple iTunes director Robert Kondrk engaged in 'tense talks' with record label executives during Grammys week with a mission to secure more exclusive sales windows.
Interestingly, the report claims, Kondrik also pitched that download stores other than iTunes could enjoy the same window of exclusivity, providing streaming services like Spotify and YouTube were excluded.
"The iTunes theory was that because of the easy availability to access albums on YouTube it has punctured sales globally for track and albums," a major label executive told Billboard.
Apple's move comes with digital music sales falling 5.7 per cent in 2013 as users flock to freely available streaming services.