Apple bolsters revamped Beats Music team with addition of BBC Radio’s Zane Lowe

Picture shows ZANE LOWE

The BBC announced today that Zane Lowe, who has worked as an award-winning Radio 1 DJ for nearly twelve years, is stepping down from his position in March and moving to California to take up a role at Apple. Lowe has long been regarded as one of the UK’s top sources for music discovery, and his show helped make many artists the stars they are today.

Lowe hasn’t publicly stated what role he’ll be filling at the Cupertino tech company, but it’s not hard to conclude that he’ll be lending his curation expertise to the big upcoming relaunch of the Beats Music streaming service. Beats Music, of course, is already staffed by music industry icons Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

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Happy Hour Podcast 001 | New iOS 9 details, Apple Watch launch, and Apple’s new Beats-based streaming service

happy-hour

Happy Hour is back and better than ever. Join us as we kick off the first episode and discuss everything you need to know about Apple’s master plan for iOS 9, a new music streaming service in the works, Apple Watch launch details, and more. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.

Click here to subscribe on iTunes or listen to the first episode embedded above.

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Opinion: Could Apple’s integrated streaming music service decimate the competition?

Image: Forbes

Image: Forbes

When Apple enters a new business, you know it’s not going to do so in a half-hearted, small way. When it launches its Apple-branded Beats Music service later this year, it’s a no-brainer to predict that it’s going to be a big deal for the music industry. With Apple’s deep integration of Beats into its existing iOS/iTunes ecosystem exclusively revealed by Mark Gurman added into the mix, I wonder whether the unique selling points being notched up by Apple could be enough to leave existing big-name players like Spotify, Google Play and Rdio dead in the water?

That’s rather a grand idea, of course. As of last month, Spotify reached 15 million paid subscribers–up 50% in the last six months alone. Beats Music had only a little over 100,000 subscribers at the time Apple bought the company, and is rumored to have only 2-3 times as many now. But an Apple-ified Beats Music service has four things going for it …  Read more

The Next Episode: Apple’s plans for Beats-based music service revealed

CueBeats

Six months after buying the subscription music service Beats Music, Apple is actively working to launch a completely new paid streaming music service that will compete with Spotify and Rdio. Yet to be named, the new service is entirely Apple-designed, yet leverages Beats’ technologies and music content, a collaboration that has thus far led to personnel challenges and delays. Multiple sources within Apple and the music industry have provided the first in-depth details of Apple’s upcoming streaming service, which we share below.

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Beats Music’s Ian Rogers auctioning lunch in LA or Cupertino for charity

iPhone 6 Beats Music

Update 2/5: Auction just wrapped up at $3,250 just over the estimated value.

Former Beats Music CEO and current Apple employee Ian Rogers is participating in a charity fundraiser through the online auction site Charitybuzz. With the estimated value pegged at $3,000, the fundraiser has a starting bid of $600, and runs for two weeks starting today. The highest bidder will have the opportunity to meet the former Beats Music CEO in either Los Angeles (where Beats is headquartered) or Cupertino (near Apple’s campus) for a private lunch meeting. Read more

Touching the dial: How iTunes Radio could be tuned for a better user experience

itunesradio_hero

iTunes Radio, Apple’s first real foray into streaming music, made its public debut back in June 2013, where it was announced alongside iOS 7. Over a year since its release, the service hasn’t exactly taken over the world, quite literally. It’s still only available in the United States and Australia. If you compared iTunes Radio today with iTunes Radio as it existed the day it was first available to use, you’ll notice that not much has really changed.

Of course, just last May, Apple announced its acquisition of Beats Electronics, which brought along with it Beats Music, a robust and almost entirely different approach to streaming music. While Apple may seek to integrate Beats Music more tightly with iTunes in the future, at this time it hasn’t.

So in the meantime, what could Apple do to make iTunes Radio more appealing to customers? Some might say the music selection is limited, or that streaming doesn’t always work correctly. However, focusing on the service strictly from a feature standpoint, there are many small changes and additions Apple could implement that would have a huge impact on the usefulness and utility of iTunes Radio. Let’s take a look.

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iTunes Radio is ad-free for all & offering $5 iTunes credits today courtesy of Verizon

iTunes Radio, Apple’s ad-supported Internet radio service, is today available with “limited interruptions” courtesy of Verizon. That means that you won’t be seeing the normal ads you’re used to on the service and instead just a message from Verizon that states, “Enjoy with limited interruptions courtesy of Verizon.” The company is also handing out $5 iTunes store credits through a banner ad on iTunes Radio (pictured above).

It’s not just for Verizon customers, however, as the offer comes today only as part of Verizon’s “Connection Day” promotion offering free digital content and services to all users, not just Verizon customers. Read more

Looking to revamp Beats Music at a lower rate, Apple asks music labels to cut streaming prices

Beats on Apple TV

Last month Apple was rumored to be looking for a way to shut down the current version of the Beats Music streaming service that it acquired as part of the Beats Electronics deal, though the claim of a shutdown was quickly shot down in favor of an upcoming rebranding effort.

Today Re/code has revealed a bit more about Apple’s plans for the new service, which is expected to be revealed in February, according to some reports. According to Re/code, Apple wants to cut the price of the streaming service below the current $10 mark, and it’s asking music companies to cut a special deal on licensing rights to accomplish that.

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Rdio preps revamped music streaming app with a focus on free stations

The Rdio music streaming service is preparing to release an updated version of its mobile app later today will place a new focus on its free “stations” feature as competitors like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple’s one-two punch of iTunes Radio and Beats Music crank up the pressure on the service.

Rdio claims its free music library is as much as fifteen times bigger than those of competing apps. Like other online radio services, the new Rdio will automatically create playlists and stations from that library based on a user’s music preferences. Curated stations from musicians and other celebrities will also be available, much like in iTunes Radio.

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Decline of music downloads continues as on-demand streaming audio up 50 percent

beats

Apple’s presumed plans for an on-demand music service as part of its Beats acquisition is looking increasingly well-timed as Nielsen data shows that U.S. on-demand music consumption climbed 50.1 percent year-on-year, while music downloads fell by 12 percent in the same timeframe.

“With On-Demand streams surpassing 70 billion songs in the first six months of 2014, streaming continues to be an increasingly significant portion of the music industry,” says David Bakula, SVP Nielsen Entertainment …

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iTunes Radio streaming is now free on T-Mobile, other services also included

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T-Mobile has just announced at its “Uncarrier 5.0″ event (which apparently double as the Uncarrier 6.0 event) that all streaming music services will now be free to stream on T-Mobile, including iTunes Radio. This also applies to Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker Radio, and Spotify.

Any streaming you do will always be done over the company’s fastest available network, and won’t count towards your high-speed data limit.

Customers can visit T-Mobile’s website to request new services to be added to the “music freedom” selection. As streaming services gain votes, they will be added to the program.

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Report: Apple planning to introduce locally targeted ads, additional non-music content to iTunes Radio

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(Image via Apple)

According to a new report from The Information, Apple is planning to offer “locally targeted advertising” to users through its iTunes Radio platform sometime this year. The report also says Apple is planning on working with “broadcast radio stations” to increase the amount of content it offers on the platform. This additional content would focus on non-music offerings that would further expand Apple’s content streaming platform. Earlier this week, 9to5Mac reported that Apple is planning to introduce several local NPR stations as well as sports content from ESPN to iTunes Radio… Read more