Apple's relaunch of Beats Music said to cost $10 a month

Unlike Spotify, the new incarnation of the streaming music service under Apple won't have a way to listen to anything on demand for free, according to a report.

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Joan E. Solsman
2 min read

Apple bought headphone maker Beats last year for $3 billion and acquired the company's subscription streaming music service in the deal. Apple

The new Beats Music may look different from the old Beats Music, but it will feel just the same to your wallet.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported Monday that Apple's subscription streaming service will have the standard $10-a-month price to listen to any song on demand. Other outlets had reported previously that Apple was negotiating with labels to have a lower price but failed to win that concession.

The service represents yet another steaming music option -- albeit one with the cachet of the Apple brand. Apple isn't competing on price -- the $10 rate is the same price that Spotify charges for its own premium service, and was the same price of the original Beats Music service.

The computing giant bought Beats Music last year as part of its $3 billion takeover of the service's headphone-maker parent company. Apple long resisted the subscription music model, enjoying its leadership of the market for digital song downloads after launching the iTunes store as the antidote to file sharing plaguing the recording industry more than a decade ago. However, streaming's popularity -- and downloads' decline -- have made the format too important for Apple to ignore.

Lower pricing also would have raised antitrust risks for Apple. Regulators in the US and Europe have been exploring the possibility that Apple was using its market influence to secure a licensing advantage compared to rivals. Beats Music was either $10 a month or discounted to $100 a year for people who committed to the longer term.

The latest report rounds out what Beats Music will look like when Apple relaunches the service, expected next week at the computer maker's annual developer conference, WWDC, on June 8.

The service likely won't have an ad-supported option that lets listeners hear its whole catalog without paying, as Spotify does. Apple plans to augment its free, ad-supported Internet radio service -- now operating as iTunes Radio -- with channels programmed and hosted by human DJs. Apple also has yet to close its deals with the three major record labels, which could delay the unveiling of the new services.