Apple will indeed reveal a new streaming music service next week, according to the Wall Street Journal, and said service will cost $10 per month and provide unlimited listening. The service will be similar to Spotify in features and function, but won’t offer a free, ad-supported on-demand tier across the catalogue, instead opting to leave that for iTunes Radio, which will gain human-hosted and programmed channels.
The streaming service from Apple has been reported before, from a range of sources including TechCrunch. Apple is thought to be basing its business partially on its Beats acquisition, though the company will apparently continue to offer Beats Music after launching its new streaming music service (which will probably carry iTunes or other Apple-specific branding) for at least a little while to ease the transition.
Some tracks could be offered free, per the WSJ, which also says Apple will introduce it in a software update for iOS, and via a standalone offering for Google’s Android mobile platform as well. The new channels coming to its radio offering will be hosted by high-profile artists and hosts, including talent recruited from BBC Radio 1. Notably, Dr. Dre will apparently host at least one of these new speciality channels, the report claims.
Apple’s service, at $10 per month, would compete on equal footing in terms of cost with rivals including Spotify and Rdio, but it sounds like a wide selection of human-hosted content could also make it a formidable rival to something like satellite or traditional terrestrial radio, which, in addition to select free content, might help attract a larger audience.
Apple has the brand power, and the attention of a huge music-buying public, working in its favor. It has also proven adept at expanding its media offerings internationally – or at least more adept than major rivals including Google and Amazon in that regard. Providing even some of the features mentioned above beyond the U.S. could be another selling point.
The new report doesn’t make clear whether Apple will just introduce its new streaming music service next week, or whether it’ll be made available right away to users. Typically, Apple unveils its next major OS updates at the Worldwide Developer Conference keynote (which is June 8 this year) and then launches a developer preview of the update and its features ahead of a wider launch in September alongside new iPhone hardware.