Now only a week before WWDC, The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple's long-rumored streaming music service will make its official debut at the conference. The as-yet unnamed on-demand service will cost $10 a month for unlimited music. However, sources say Apple plans on avoiding free streaming altogether, instead opting for ad-supported radio run by a roster of DJs.
According to the Journal, Apple has been rushing to ink deals with the major labels to fill out its music library. So far, it still needs to sign agreements with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group — the three largest music companies on the planet. Sources say that Apple is close, but a worst-case scenario where Apple delays next week's promised announcement to finish up negotiations is still possible.
Apple will need to turn streaming listeners into paying customers
Apple's project after the announcement is to differentiate its product from the likes of Spotify, which currently owns more than three-quarters of the global streaming market. To do that, it's reportedly developing an Android app, which is certainly a departure from other mobile Apple services and gives it access to listeners outside iOS. Second, the company is leaning on celebrity DJ talent to host so-called "channels" for users. Apple already hired popular BBC Radio 1 host Zane Lowe for the effort earlier this year, and is reportedly in talks with the likes of Drake and Q-Tip — which jibes with a previous New York Post that ran over the weekend. The radio feature is reportedly aimed at international users who don't have Pandora and could more easily be converted into paying customers.
Apple will need to prove that its model can pull in more money than the competition. Spotify is famously unprofitable, but is nevertheless innovating toward hopefully turning a profit with its new fitness and video features. If Apple can convert its customers who already use iTunes to purchase songs to paying streaming listeners, it could mark a shift in the entire music landscape.
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