Apple’s ‘iTunes Music’ streaming service to cost $9.99/month, no free tier; iTunes Radio to get makeover

“Almost a year after agreeing to pay $3 billion for Beats, the maker of hip headphones and a streaming music service, Apple is working with Beats engineers and executives to introduce its own subscription streaming service,” Ben Sisario and Brian X. Chen report for The New York Times. “The company is also planning an enhanced iTunes Radio that may be tailored to listeners in regional markets, and, if Apple gets what it wants, more splashy new albums that will be on iTunes before they are available anywhere else, according to people briefed on the company’s plans.”

“Trent Reznor, the Nine Inch Nails frontman who was the chief creative officer for Beats, is playing a major role in redesigning the music app, according to two Apple employees familiar with the product,” Sisario and Chen report. “According to several music executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are private, Apple recently tried but failed to persuade record labels to agree to lower licensing costs that would have let Apple sell subscriptions to its streaming service for $8 a month — a discount from the $10 that has become standard for services like Spotify, Rhapsody and Rdio.”

“A crucial difference for Apple’s streaming service is that unlike Spotify, it will have no free tier,” Sisario and Chen report. “Apple is also expected to overhaul iTunes Radio, the free service that the company introduced in September 2013 as a competitor to Pandora, and which has had little impact on the marketplace. One new player is Zane Lowe, a former BBC radio D.J. known as a trend-spotter. Last month he announced that he would join Apple in Los Angeles, where the Beats team is concentrated.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We understand how iTunes came to be the way it is currently, but it really needs a lot of work. For far too long, it’s been trying to do way too many things. For many things it deals with – movies, TV shows, home videos, iOS apps – its name “iTunes” doesn’t even fit.

Good luck to all involved.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Sarah,” “Dan K.,” and “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
With iTunes Music, Apple wants to help music labels roll back the tide of free digital music – March 6, 2015
Apple may release ‘iTunes Music’ with iOS 8.4 ‘Copper’ – February 9, 2015
iTunes Music: New Beats service will continue Apple’s reign as the king of digital music – February 4, 2015
Apple’s Beats-based music service plans revealed, including Apple’s first Android app – February 4, 2015


  1. Another big problem with all of this is that iTunes Radio isn’t available on non-Apple platforms. If the new service is also restricted, that creates a problem for those of us who want to utilize one service across many devices and platforms, some of which Apple doesn’t compete with. For example Sonos is a wonderful product that compliments the Apple ecosystem, except for iTunes Radio.

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