Apple may soon reveal its plans for Beats, according to a new report.
The company plans to launch a new paid streaming music service that's Apple-designed but uses Beats' technologies and music content, according to Apple news and reviews site 9 to 5 Mac. Apple won't just be installing the existing Beats Music app onto iPhones but instead will "deeply integrate Beats" into the iOS mobile operating system, iTunes media store and Apple TV, the site said.
Apple initially discussed a $5 monthly streaming plan with record labels but settled on $7.99 per month, according to 9 t o5 Mac. That would make it cheaper than the $9.99-a-month plans offered by Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody and Google, but it's more expensive than Pandora's premium, ad-free plan, which costs $4.99 each month.
The company initially planned to introduce the new streaming music service as soon as March, but the launch could be delayed to Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June because of personnel conflicts between Apple and the incoming Beats team, 9 to 5 said.
Apple declined to comment.
Ever since Applein August, market watchers have been wondering about Apple's plans for the music service provider and headphones maker. So far, it has done little publicly with Beats besides pushing its music service with current iTunes customers and promoting its headphones in Apple Stores. And thus far, iTunes and Beats have remained separate, though several reports say that will change this year.
The 9 to 5 article follows a similar Financial Times report from late last year that said Apple planned tointo the iOS operating system powering iPhones and iPads as soon as early 2015. By preloading the service -- which may not use the Beats name -- on its devices, Apple would gain an edge in promoting its own offer over the competition, which includes Spotify and Rhapsody. A subscription music service would represent a new revenue stream and further lock customers into Apple's ecosystem.
A dedicated push to make Beats Music an integral part of Apple's hardware comes as no surprise. It would represent the company's, something co-founder Steve Jobs long criticized. But as the listening trends shift from purchasing music to renting through a service like Beats, the streaming format has become too important to ignore.
Apple also could have some other plans in store for Beats and its music offerings. Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails frontman and chief creative officer of Beats Music, recently said Apple He didn't go into details but said it's "very creative work that's not directly making music, but it's around music."
While getting a service preloaded onto a device helps with consumer adoption, it doesn't guarantee success. Apple bundledRadio into its iTunes music app, but the service hasn't made a dent against Internet radio giant Pandora. And Beats Music itself only drew minimal consumer adoption as a standalone service sold exclusively through carrier partner AT&T.
According to the 9 to 5 report, Apple's new music service will rely heavily upon cloud streaming and will be centered around users' music libraries. It also will feature a new design by Apple that makes the app more consistent with the iOS and iTunes design, the site said, and Apple will continue offering an Android app for Beats. It won't create new versions of the service for Windows Phone and web browsers, 9 to 5 said.
The report also said Apple will continue to offer iTunes Radio, which is a free, ad-based music streaming service and iTunes Match, which lets subscribers pay a $25 annual fee to keep copies of all of their music tracks in the cloud and play iTunes Radio without ads. 9 to 4 said Apple also will maintain the iTunes Store, which offers tracks typically priced from 69 cents to $1.29 apiece.
Updated at 4:30 p.m. PT with Apple declining to comment.
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