We’re almost exactly a week away from Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, and rumours are really starting to take shape in the days leading up to the event. In a report from the Wall Street Journal, details about major changes to Apple’s iTunes Radio streaming are numerous.
At launch, the company’s streaming offering will be limited to users in the United States and Australia, but will likely expand to include other countries like Canada, the UK, and much of Europe as soon as licensing agreements are worked out. The platform is expected to be advertised as a direct competitor to services like Spotify and Pandora, and may include a free trial and a possible ad-supported subscription model.
Apple’s rumoured update to iTunes Radio is expected to cost $10 a month in the U.S., and will likely cost slightly more in Canada. This would give users access to Apple’s entire music library, and will probably also include exclusive releases, as iTunes has done in the past. According to the report, another big possibility for the new service is specific channels featuring hosted programming from rap artists like Drake, Dr. Dre and Q-Tip.
Music has been central to Apple’s business since the release of the iPod, and if it can work out licensing deals with all the major music labels, we could see this service launch as early as this summer. The report notes that Beats Music, the streaming service Apple purchased with Beats last year, would likely not be shut down right away, but would remain in place until this new service becomes stable.
[source]Wall Street Journal[/source]