Report: Trent Reznor Working on Apple’s Music-Streaming Service

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple to launch streaming service to compete with Spotify.

Here’s one hard fact about Apple’s plans to relaunch its Beats Music streaming service later this year: there will be an endless stream of rumours about those plans until it happens. Apple is also planning to revamp and relaunch iTunes Radio, with Zane Lowe taking a figurehead role at a project designed to resemble a conventional radio station. Because if there’s one thing leakier than the hype cycle leading up to new Apple products, it’s the music industry when digital licences are being hammered out.

The New York Times reports that Apple and Beats are working on a subscription streaming service, with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails taking a key role in redesigning the company’s music app. The Times reported that Apple had tried to persuade record labels to lower their licensing costs for music, which would have allowed the company to undercut other streaming services.

Even with all that — or perhaps in part because of all that — Apple couldn’t get the music labels to agree to the deal it was pitching: An all-you-can-eat music subscription service from Apple for $2 less than the $10/month Spotify and Pandora have been charging. This fits into a timeline of previous leaks on Apple’s pricing plans: a desire to go as low as $5 a month floated through Recode in October 2014, then $7.99 a month as uncovered by 9 to 5 Mac in February. However, it will keep the curated playlists and “more vivid visual appeal” while “conforming to Apple’s sleek and minimal design aesthetic”, according to the NYT. Jimmy Iovine, the legendary record industry executive who runs beats with Dr Dre, is reported to be pushing for big albums to be premiered exclusively through Apple.

Fourth, Apple’s plans do still include iTunes Radio, its free streaming music service that launched in June 2013 but has been relatively low-key ever since. An overall picture is emerging – one backed up by the Guardian’s music industry sources – of the efforts going on behind the scenes at Apple to make sure that the next iteration of Beats Music will be a success.

Lowe made himself an influential figure in UK radio by demanding and getting track premieres, and – especially with Iovine chasing album premieres – it seems likely this was part of his appeal to Apple. If undercutting Spotify’s price is not an option, Apple still has some big advantages: a pile of cash to secure exclusives from big artist – and the ability to preload its streaming service on every iOS device with a free trial. Before Beats Music, Apple only had iTunes Radio, which has been struggling against Pandora, the largest internet radio service for smartphones and mobiles. The results are expected to be unveiled at Apple’s WWDC developer event in June, which leaves two more months of intense rumours and public negotiations shedding light on the company’s plans.

Iovine, who reports to Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of software and Internet services, has been leading aggressive talks to secure prominent album releases that will be exclusive to Apple, akin to what Beyoncé did when she released her self-titled album on iTunes in December 2013.

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