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Apple asking for exclusive tunes to amp up Beats Music, report says

Hoping to entice consumers into paid subscriptions, Apple is said to be seeking songs exclusive to its Beats Music service from top artists like Taylor Swift and Florence and the Machine.

Led by CEO Tim Cook and executive Eddy Cue, Apple acquired a subscription service when it bought Beats, founded by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Exclusive tracks would give the latecomer service an edge. Apple

Apple is reportedly courting top musicians to score exclusive tunes for its Beats Music subscription-streaming service.

The computer maker has asked Florence and the Machine, Taylor Swift and other stars about partnerships that would limit streaming rights on tracks for everyone but Apple, according to a Bloomberg report Friday.

Apple is playing catch-up in the streaming music race, as it resisted the format while start-ups like Spotify gained momentum. Now that the digital downloads are declining because of streaming's growth, Apple is preparing to relaunch Beats Music, which it acquired as part of a $3 billion deal for its headphone-making parent Beats last year.

Though many streaming services seek out exclusives, Apple's market heft as the biggest seller of digital downloads through its iTunes store gives its a strong bargaining chip in talks for such material.

But asking for exclusives doesn't assure securing them, and Apple's market might isn't a foolproof negotiating tool. The company reportedly failed to leverage that power in digital downloads to get the rights to price its relaunched Beats Music service less than the $9.99-a-month standard across the industry.

In addition, artists benefit from making their music attainable for as wide an audience as possible. While Apple itself is a major player in the music industry, Beats Music isn't. At the time Apple agreed to buy Beats, the subscription service had only 250,000 members. Spotify, the biggest subscription streaming service, had 15 million paid members as of January.