Apple is reportedly developing a subscription-based streaming music service. Its move reflects listeners' shift toward streaming from downloads. Fred Katayama reports.
Apple's taking on Spotify. The New York Times reports it's developing a subscription-based music streaming service where you can pick what you want to hear. That's in addition to its existing free streaming radio service, where you can't select tracks. A new music app, it says, may contain curated playlists and a striking visual look, reflecting the Beats Music streaming service that it acquired when it bought Beats last year. And it may feature exclusive album releases. Apple can't afford to sit back. It was a digital music pioneer with its iPod and and iTunes store of downloads, but it's a laggard in streaming. FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi said, "The writing's on the wall ... There was a migration from CDs to downloads; now, it's from downloads toward subscription-based streaming or streaming radio where you can't choose songs. Apple wants to invest in both kinds of streaming." Apple's service won't be for freeloaders. The Times says unlike Spotify, it won't have a free tier. And it won't undercut the $10 monthly fee that's now standard. Apple's shares falling in early trading amid a broad market sell off. The website 9to5mac earlier reported that the new service will likely debut in June and will work on the rival Android as well as its own iOS platform. Streaming may not become a huge part of its business, but analysts say it's another way to keep Apple's customers locked into its ecosystem of iPhones and iPads.