One of the bigger rumors leading up to next week’s WWDC is Apple’s alleged Beats-based streaming music service, which is said to take on Spotify and other streaming leaders with a Ping-like social network for artists. But there have been many conflicting reports about the service’s existence; some say record companies haven’t hopped onboard, while others have reported Apple can’t decide on a price.
However, a new report from The Wall Street Journal seems to put it all to rest, claiming a subscription-based service is indeed coming, and will cost $10 a month, just like Spotify. And, biggest of all, an Android app is planned as well.
Users that pay will get unlimited on-demand streaming, according to WSJ, while free users will get ad-supported access to channels programmed by human DJs. So, essentially, radio stations. Paid users won’t just get access to on-demand content, but exclusive albums, too.
Apple is apparently prepared to cannibalize its own iTunes download catalog for streaming, which is where the music industry is slowly trending toward. Apple’s iTunes ecosystem is still the largest in the world, and with many of those users linked up to a credit card, Apple has the opportunity to get a lot of people on board early. If that means people buy less music, at least those people are subscribed to Apple’s service.
One thing that could delay the service launch, WSJ said, is the lack of licensing deals. Right now, Apple hasn’t secured deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, meaning we might not hear a peep about the service at WWDC. However, WSJ said this is unlikely, as record companies are excited about the possibilities of Apple’s upcoming service.
Apple has been sitting on Beats Radio for a long time now, and is said to be putting its own spin on the service. We could see it resurrected as something entirely different come next week—if these licensing deals go through, that is.
If Apple does launch its own service, it not only has a huge customer base to cater to, but an enormous mindshare reach. We’ve seen how savvy the company has been with its Apple Watch, carefully handing the wearable out to big-shot celebrities. If a service is indeed in the pipeline, you can bet its marketing efforts will be in full force once it launches.
We should hear more details about the service next week.