Apple to announce $10-per-month on-demand music service, will retain Beats Music for now - report

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited June 2015
At WWDC in one week, Apple is expected to formally announce a new on-demand streaming subscription service that will take on the likes of Spotify for $10 per month, but will not outright replace Beats Music at first, according to a new report.




Details on Apple's plans for the iTunes brand going forward were revealed on Monday by The Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources. Apple is expected to make the announcements at a keynote next Monday to kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

The new streaming subscription service is not expected to replace Beats Music at first, the report said. Instead, Apple is expected to keep Beats Music separate for a time, before eventually migrating those users to the new unified service, giving the company time to work out "any kinks" that may exist.

In preparation for the announcement, Apple is said to have been "rushing to finish work" not only on the service itself, but also the necessary contracts required. With less than a week to go, Apple has yet to ink contracts with the largest record labels, but it's expected those deals will be worked out in time.

While the service will reportedly cost $10 per month, the Journal said Apple may offer a free trial period, and that certain songs might be made available for free at the discretion of labels. Apple is also unsurprisingly said to be planning to aggressively market the service, as it looks to take on competitors such as Spotify and Tidal.

The current Beats Music service is similar to Spotify, charging users a monthly fee to access unlimited streaming music. Features that differentiate Beats Music include a "humanized" playlist function that allows for sharing and promoting of user-curated content.




As for the changes to iTunes Radio, bringing in human DJs for specific stations will make the service more akin to traditional broadcast radio. Details on potential celebrity guest DJs, including Pharrell, David Guetta and Drake, were first revealed on Sunday.

Unlike Beats Music or Apple's $10-per-month subscription service, iTunes Radio does not allow users to play specific songs or albums. Instead, like with Pandora, different tracks are served from a specific genre or category of music.

iTunes Radio is available to listen for free with ads, or subscribers to the $25-per-year iTunes Match service can listen commercial-free.

For years, Apple's iTunes Store has dominated the digital music market with traditional sales on a per-song and per-album basis. But in recent years, consumers have flocked to streaming music services tied to monthly subscription fees.

Apple did not compete in that space until last year, when it bought Beats headphones and the associated Beats Music streaming service for $3 billion. It has been expected for some time that Apple would use its acquisition of Beats Music to help get a new iTunes-branded streaming service off the ground.

WWDC 2015 will kick off with a keynote presentation next Monday at 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern. The company is also expected to show off the next-generation version of iOS and OS X. AppleInsider will have full, live coverage.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 3,789member

    Are they sure they aren't going to use the Beats brand name right away? What would be the purpose of acquiring them if you're not going to capitalize on the brand recognition (plus the likes of Iovine, Dre and Reznor, who I understand will play a big part in their new service)?

     

    I think it would make more sense to bring over the users from iTunes Radio into Beats and consolidate all their music offerings under Beats.

  • Reply 2 of 42
    bobjohnsonbobjohnson Posts: 154member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by EricTheHalfBee View Post

     

    Are they sure they aren't going to use the Beats brand name right away? What would be the purpose of acquiring them if you're not going to capitalize on the brand recognition (plus the likes of Iovine, Dre and Reznor, who I understand will play a big part in their new service)?

     

    I think it would make more sense to bring over the users from iTunes Radio into Beats and consolidate all their music offerings under Beats.


     

    You really think Beats has more brand equity than iTunes? Beats' contribution will be technology, process, and Jimmy Iovine, not its name.

  • Reply 3 of 42
    smaffeismaffei Posts: 203member

    I was more interested when the iTunes streaming service was going to be cheaper than Spotify. Now that it's going to cost the same as Spotify what's my impetus for leaving a reliable service that has performed well for me?

  • Reply 4 of 42
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 707member

    This will be an interesting experiment. More and more of our 'stuff' is needed in more and more places. We want access at home, in the car, on our iOS devices, at work. The cloud is making it possible to keep all this stuff organized and synced.

     

    The trend is clear and Apple is responding, and that's a good thing. I won't subscribe to this, even if it were $5/month. I like to own my music and I'm more into podcasts anyhow. I can't remember the last time I listened to music on the radio while driving.

     

    I tried Apple's radio thing and typed in Elvis. The same songs kept playing. It was a 'meh' experience. It doesn't work for me, but I think this is the way people are going to buy their music in the future.

  • Reply 5 of 42
    loekfloekf Posts: 34member

    Could you please add that they didn't reach agreements with the copyright maffia in the 1000+ countries in Europe and the rest of the world ?

    In other words, it's US-only.

  • Reply 6 of 42
    brlawyerbrlawyer Posts: 828member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by smaffei View Post

     

    I was more interested when the iTunes streaming service was going to be cheaper than Spotify. Now that it's going to cost the same as Spotify what's my impetus for leaving a reliable service that has performed well for me?




    None. Count me out as well, especially if it comes with "Dre", "Drake" and similar company.

     

    Ah yes, and it's US-only - so irrelevant for most of Apple's market anyway.

  • Reply 7 of 42
    loekf wrote: »
    Could you please add that they didn't reach agreements with the copyright maffia in the 1000+ countries in Europe and the rest of the world ?
    In other words, it's US-only.
    really? this is annoying for people anywhere else. the radio is not in the UK yet and from what you've said this streaming service won't be from the start atleast. even just this week, Surf my The Social Experiment was a free download on iTunes, but only in U.S.! sucks
  • Reply 8 of 42
    smaffeismaffei Posts: 203member



    And, actually I support competition. It keeps the big companies like Apple from becoming complacent.

  • Reply 9 of 42
    I hope there is more to the story when they release. Whatever you think of Tidall at least they tried to differentiate their service (artsy owned/high fi streams.) Beats, too, by saying human curation mattered.

    So far, it looks like iTunes service does little to differentiate itself in either cost or features. Hard to see how it positions itself against spotify.
  • Reply 10 of 42
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 689member

    iBeats

  • Reply 11 of 42
    yojimbo007yojimbo007 Posts: 892member
    Still baffled over the beats acquisition....
  • Reply 12 of 42
    smaffeismaffei Posts: 203member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Yojimbo007 View Post



    Still baffled over the beats acquisition....



    Me too. Apple has plenty of money. Why not just buy Spotify and be done with it?



    I think the Beats acquisition had more to do with Iovine and record company contract negotiations (now that negotiator Steve Jobs is gone) going forward.

  • Reply 13 of 42
    manny805manny805 Posts: 9member
    Darn, was hoping for a consolidated music service (Beats features, revamped ad-free iTunes Radio, Match) under a single fee.
  • Reply 14 of 42
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,201member
    bobjohnson wrote: »
    You really think Beats has more brand equity than iTunes?
    Inasmuch has iTunes has NO brand equity in streaming music, I'd say yes. Apple's brand in music sales kicks Beats' butt, though. Smiley face.
  • Reply 15 of 42
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,748member

    Not sure why I would pay $10/mo. for the option to specify a specific song or album. Chances are I'd already have bought it and would just play my copy. The free iTunes Radio and my handful of customized stations works just fine. However, they really need to make iTunes Radio work through a browser as well as iTunes. Right now, I can't use it on my work computer (no iTunes installed), so I use Pandora instead.

  • Reply 16 of 42
    bryphelbryphel Posts: 1member
    Having been exposed to lossless it will take more than rebranding for me to try, let alone convert. Being an audiophile, quality of sound is most important to me as a listener.
  • Reply 17 of 42
    schlackschlack Posts: 673member
    at the same price point, it would need to have some awesome differentiators to compete with spotify...
  • Reply 18 of 42
    applezillaapplezilla Posts: 941member

    Troubling.

     

    If this is accurate and there isn't a compelling reason for me to leave Spotify, I don't see the point. Sounds like it's going to be a 'beta' service. That's still the state of iTunes Match, and it still has plenty of 'kinks.'

  • Reply 19 of 42
    el tugael tuga Posts: 9member
    I just hope apple has the good sense to name this service 'Apple Beats', which is in fact a great brand name for all their music related services! iTunes was a great service back in the time, but the name was as lousy then as it is now, imho...
  • Reply 20 of 42
    brlawyerbrlawyer Posts: 828member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Yojimbo007 View Post



    Still baffled over the beats acquisition....



    Trust me, you're not the only one.

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