We’ve heard hints that Apple is working on its own music subscription service for some time now, but now it appears that the service may be ready to be unveiled at WWDC, Apple’s annual developer conference, next week.
According to The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, Apple has just added the second of the big three music companies – Warner – to its existing agreement with Universal. That leaves just Sony, but two of three is potentially enough to go ahead with the service.
So, what do we know about Apple’s music subscription service? Well, not too much that isn’t conjecture. The name is expected to be iRadio, and it will integrate tightly with iTunes on both PCs and iOS devices. Indeed, it could be one of the standout features of iOS 7.
It’s not known whether the service will be free to use and ad supported, or whether a monthly subscription will be required – or both. Initial reports seem to indicate the first option, but we don’t know for sure either way. It is expected that the service will be backed with a recommendation engine, allowing users to quickly and easily purchase tracks they liked on iTunes.
According to Bloomberg, the new service will also accompany in the way that Apple handles its iAds platform. We should see some fees removed, advertisers given more options for ad placement, and music labels will receive a share of revenue with radio ads.
Of course, the timing here is no accident. Google beat Apple to the bunch with their own streaming subscription service in the form of Google Play Music All Access at Google I/O last month. This should definitely have spurred Apple to get their own service ready quickly, and may have lead them to accept less favourable terms with Warner.
I guess we’ll find out the details at WWDC, if Apple do indeed plan to announce the service there. It’s also possible that these will come a later event, so don’t rush out and indulge in an iPhone 5 speaker buying frenzy just yet.