Apple reportedly hires additional BBC Radio 1 producers for upcoming streaming music service

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A new report from Music Business Worldwide claims that Apple has recently hired four producers from BBC Radio 1. This report comes two months after it was announced that Zane Lowe was leaving the British radio station to take a new position at Apple. According to today’s report, the recent Apple hires include James Bursey, Natasha Lynch and Kieran Yeates, as well as one other.

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Pandora Radio adds Apple Watch app for remote music control, favoriting songs, more

Apple revealed the first look at its all-new Music app for iPhone and iPad with the first beta release of iOS 8.4 today, which brings a new look to iTunes Radio among other major changes. Pandora Radio, the similarly-modeled music streaming service that’s arguably superior to iTunes Radio in music variety and selection, released a timely update this evening adding Apple Watch support to its iPhone app ahead of the new wearable device’s release on April 24th. Pandora Radio’s WatchKit app for Apple Watch will include a glance for swiping up from the watch face to identify the song currently playing from the iPhone app.

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Report: Apple plans $10-$15 tiers for new music service, approaching artists incl. Taylor Swift for exclusives

iPhone 6 Beats Music

A new report from Bloomberg today claims that Apple is considering $10-$15 month plans for its upcoming music streaming service while the company approaches high-profile artists to get exclusive content.

The report today follows our own report last month that Apple was planning to relaunch its Beats Music streaming service at its WWDC event in June. At the time we noted that Apple was considering a $7.99 price point, but today’s report suggests Apple could go with paid tiers ranging from $9.99/month for a single user to $14.99/month for a family account. Read more

European antitrust authorities investigating Apple’s streaming music service even before it launches

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Apple’s planned rebranding and relaunch of the Beats streaming music service has not had the easiest of rides. The launch, initially planned for earlier this year, was delayed by the departure of key execs and difficulties integrating Beats and Apple technologies. A planned $5/month price-point had to be abandoned in favor of an attempt at $7.99/month when music labels wouldn’t play ball, and that too now looks increasingly unlikely even though Google Play offered initial All Access Signups for a $7.99 locked in. And any plans to offer artist exclusives as an inducement now face competition from newly-relaunched Tidal.

Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any tougher, London’s Financial Times reports that the European Commission is considering launching an antitrust investigation into the service, even before it launches. The Commission has contacted several music labels to ask what deals have been done with Apple, says the FT.

The commission, which also has contacted Apple’s music-streaming rivals, is said to be concerned that the company will use its size, relationships and influence to persuade labels to abandon free, ad-supported services such as Spotify, which depend on licenses with music companies for their catalogues.

The newspaper implies that the investigation may have been triggered by a formal complaint by an existing streaming music service …  Read more

Jay-Z’s new Tidal music service respects the artist, but rips off Spotify’s UI

Tidal-vs-Spotify-UI

In case you hadn’t heard, Jay-Z is this week launching (relaunching) the Tidal music service he recently acquired along with a lot of help from industry friends. The company is hoping its model is innovative and helps artists earn more, but its UI for the web app appears to be a shameless copy of Spotify, as you can see in the comparison screenshot: Tidal above, Spotify below. Read more

Jimmy Iovine tried to lure key Tidal artists away to Apple, but no hard feelings, says Jay Z

Jay Z Performs At O2 Arena In London

Jay Z suggested in an interview with Billboard that Jimmy Iovine had tried to lure away top-selling artists from his newly-relaunched streaming music service, Tidal, but that he wasn’t angry about it. Iovine had reputedly offered more up-front cash to Tidal artists who agreed to do a deal with Apple.

I think that’s just his competitive nature, and I don’t know if he’s looking at the bigger picture: That it’s not about me and it’s not about him; it’s about the future of the music business.

The rap and hip-hop star said that he had initially hoped to work in cooperation with Iovine, having “talked to every single service,” but had apparently been rebuffed …  Read more

Apple/Beats streaming music service has competition for exclusive releases as Jay Z relaunches Tidal

tidal

If Apple plans to offer artist exclusives as a way to encourage sign-ups to its rebranded Beats Music streaming service, it will be facing new competition. TechCrunch reports that Tidal, the high-definition music service being relaunched later today by new owner Jay Z, is set to announce some exclusive deals with big-name artists.

Tidal is […] reportedly making a move to snag new releases by some of the biggest musicians of the moment including Kanye West, Madonna and Daft Punk […]

Tidal’s plan of attack will be to ink first-window deals with the artists, where Tidal would get first releases of tracks from big-name artists ahead of any other digital streaming services.

The artists named in the report have all been using the #tidalforall hashtag in recent tweets and Instagram posts …  Read more

Apple unlikely to hit $7.99/month for streaming music service as labels stand firm on pricing

music

Apple appears set to abandon its plans to offer the rebranded Beats streaming music service for less than the $9.99/month charged by Spotify, Rdio and Google Play Music. Billboard reports that Apple’s attempts to use its clout to negotiate better deals with record labels have been unsuccessful.

Negotiations for Apple’s upcoming subscription service are evidence labels are standing firm on pricing. Industry sources say Apple has backed down from its effort to lower monthly pricing for its subscription service to $7.99 from $9.99.

The report says that the deals offered by the labels would have left Apple losing money if it had gone ahead with its plan to offer the service for the rumored $7.99/month …  Read more

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

Spotify updating iOS app with neat touch preview and new swipe gestures

Spotify has announced an update to its iOS app to add some very handy new features. You’ll be able to preview any song just by touching the track and holding your finger down. Tapping it then plays the full track.

The app is also getting two new swipe gestures designed to make it even easier to queue music and save tracks to My Music …  Read more

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

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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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Spotify now reports 15 million paid subscribers

Spotify 15 million premium users

Streaming music subscription service Spotify shared its latest user numbers today, announcing that it now has 15 million paid subscribers to its premium service and 60 million active users. Spotify’s paid user count of 15 million accounts is up from the 10 million paid subscribers it previously reported just over six months ago.

Since then, Apple has officially closed on its $3 billion deal to acquire Beats Electronics and Beats Music, which gave it access to its own on-demand music streaming subscription service. Before Apple’s Beats acquisition last year, the Spotify competitor was believed to have just over 110,000 paid subscribers of its own. Read more