Apple is set to announce its revamped music service on Tuesday at its World Wide Developers Conference. As the clock counts down, there has been a steady stream of specualtion. Here’s our vetted roundup of the latest leaks and substantiated rumors:
No Deal Is Done
Negotiations with labels are going right down to the wire. Both sides are cutting it so close that Apple may have to announce its new service next week and launch it after the contracts are done.
The sticking point? “The music labels are seeking a benchmark for negotiations with other services, including Spotify,” according to Bloomberg. “The labels take 55 percent of Spotify’s monthly $9.99 rate, and publishers take about 15 percent. Labels are pushing for closer to 60 percent from Apple.”
The final deal has major implications for every streaming music service.
What We Think We Know…
- Name – Apple Music. The Beats Music brand seems likely to live on only temporarily as a parallel service
- Price – $9.99 per month for on demand streaming, The labels rejected lower pricing and regulators, who are already sniffing around, could have seen it as a red flag.
- No Free Tier – This will make the labels – who rejected even a 90 day free trial for on demand streaming – happy.
- Expanded iTunes Radio – iTunes Radio will remain free and ad supported, but add a paid ‘drop the commercials’ tier. Expect a lot more curation and DJ driven stations and playlists, including offerings from Pharrell, Drake and others.
- Artist Friendly Features – Beats and then Apple promised to be more artist friendly than Spotify and other competitors. Some kind of artist to fan social platformhas been rumored. But will it launch next week for every artist – or just a select few? And what about analytics? Apple has never been very good at sharing…
- UPDATE: “The app will also feature artist pages – mostly seen as being promotional – that they can use to host videos, songs and other things for free. This is part of a program called Apple Connect. Apple will compensate the artists and labels for songs it gives away, as it has done with iTunes’ “Free Song of the Week” feature,” according to Bloomberg.
- Lyrics – Apple wants to add them, but the deals are not done. Sticking point? Money, of course.
- Exclusive, behind the scenes video – Apple has reportedly hided videographers to go in the studio while bands are recording.