Apple to Charge $10 for Streaming Service, According to Report
More details are coming out about Apple Music, the company's new streaming service, and one of the most surprising is also one of the least exciting.
The Wall Street Journal writes, in an extensive report on the new service, that Apple will charge users $10 a month for access to its streaming catalog -- the same price point as their streaming competitors, Spotify, Tidal and Rdio.
It was widely reported that Apple negotiated with major labels in order to charge a lower subscription rate than $10, which surely would have given it a leg up on more-seasoned competitors.
Not only did it not score the lower rates, but the finagling reportedly caught the attention of U.S. anti-trust regulators, who started to question whether Apple's position in the market was giving them an unfair advantage in negotiating their deals with record labels.
One distinct difference between Apple Music and Spotify, its main competitor, is that Apple's new streaming service won't feature a free tier. If Apple's gunning for lower rates rankled the major labels, its forgoing of the free tier likely has an opposite effect -- major labels have been lukewarm on the idea of "freemium" services.
And Apple needs those relationships to be sweet as it continues working on inking licensing deals. If the deals aren't in place by next week, the launch of Apple Music -- expected to come during the company's Worldwide Developers Conference -- could be delayed.
Instead of the free tier, Apple will lean on its new, human-powered iteration of iTunes Radio, which -- as one might have gleaned from the accumulation of reporting over the last couple of months -- will feature the likes of Drake and Zane Lowe, formerly of BBC Radio 1, as DJs. (WSJ also added Q-Tip to the list.)
Whether Apple's acquisition of marquee talent is more celebrity-baiting, as some suspect, or just the top level of a robust, quality-driven radio experience is one of the things we're most looking forward seeing with Apple Music's launch.