Apple had acquired Beats, a company making hip headphones and speaker products as well as offering a streaming music service, back in August 2014 for a sum of $3 billion. There were reports that Apple was planning to refurbish Beats and integrate it with iTunes. It was also rumored that the streaming service would be overhauled by Apple and launched with an entirely new design and concept.
The New York Times reports that Apple is teaming up with Beats executives and engineers to make sweeping changes to its digital music services and launch its own subscription music streaming service that will rival current services such as Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody. The subscription prices haven’t been announced as yet but Apple won’t keep the prices lower than the rival services.
Apparently, Apple had tried to convince the record labels to reduce their licensing costs but failed. This was disclosed to the New York Times by some music executives on the condition of anonymity. Lower licensing costs would have enabled Apple to offer its streaming service subscriptions for $8 per month instead of $10 that is standard for other similar services.
The Cupertino giant also plans to upgrade its iTunes Radio and tailor it to provide region-specific content to listeners. Apple is trying to get the best new albums on iTunes first before others get them.
The company has made a musician and former chief creative officer Trent Raznor a point man for redesigning iPhone’s music app. Zane Lowe, erstwhile DJ of BBC Radio 1 will be playing a major role in re configuring the iTunes Radio and making it more regionally targeted like the traditional radio stations.
Currently, Apple is the largest music retailer and iTunes has over 800 million customer accounts. However, Apple has lagged behind in offering streaming services where the Swedish company Spotify has got a head start. Apple’s streaming service is not going to offer free music like Spotify, which has made major music labels happy.
Apple’s new streaming service doesn’t have a name yet but the name “Beat Music” is expected to be dropped. The service is likely to be launched sometime this year. Word is that it will be a part of Apple’s next iOS, the iOS 9 and will launch with its next iPhone.