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Apple reportedly strikes new licensing deal with Warner Music

It’s also got Sony’s massive catalog in its sights.
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Apple Music users will be able to enjoy tunes from Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars for the foreseeable future. Fresh off its recent deal with Spotify, Warner Music has signed off on an agreement with the tech giant, according to sources that spoke to Bloomberg. The deal is Apple's first with a major label since the launch of its streaming service two years ago.

Like Spotify, Apple is reportedly negotiating a reduced cut of sales with record companies this time round. Until now, it's been paying a 58 percent share to labels, which it's now slashing to 55 percent. Although labels have been to quick to voice their anger regarding low royalties from the likes of YouTube, it seems they simply can't ignore digital services. Especially when they're seeing growing sales thanks to streams. That may explain why record companies are now talking to Facebook about music licensing deals for user-generated video. Next up for Apple is Sony Music Entertainment (home to Michael Jackson, Elvis, and Justin Timberlake).

The Warner deal couldn't come at a better time for Apple. The streaming service caught a backlash last year after snagging yet another high-profile exclusive in the shape of Frank Ocean's Blonde. As Billboard pointed out in December, the pact did not go down well at Universal Music -- the label subsequently began prohibiting artists from striking similar deals. Since then, there's also been little on offer from other record companies. That may explain why exclusives have pretty much dried up. Consequently, Apple Music users may not get the next Ed Sheeran album before anyone else, but at least he'll remain a mainstay on the service.

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