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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Tech News > Sony CEO: Apple Music service 'happening tomorrow'

Sony CEO: Apple Music service 'happening tomorrow'
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NewsPoster
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Jun 7, 2015, 02:55 PM
 
As with the expected announcement of Apple Pay expansion into other countries, another likely reveal during tomorrow's keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference has been said to be a revamping and re-branding of Apple's various streaming music services. Today at the Cannes Music Industry festival, Sony Music CEO Doug Morris was interviewed on stage, and when the subject of Apple's streaming music service came up, Morris responded, "it's happening tomorrow."

At present, Apple offers two forms of streaming music: the free but ad-supported iTunes Radio, which allows users to construct custom stations based on music they like from their own library (and which can be ad-free if users buy the $25-per-year iTunes Match), and the subscription-based Beats Music offering, which costs $10 a month and provides users with human-curated playlists of mood-based music from various labels. Rumors have Apple bringing both services into a unified "Apple Music" label, revamping iTunes Radio into a human-curated promotional channel that features celebrity DJs, album debuts and other exclusives, while a paid streaming option would compete more directly with services such as Spotify.

The interview with Morris was primarily about his overall career in the music industry, but a question for the Sony Music executive about Apple's forthcoming announcement wasn't entirely surprising. Morris spent 37 years of that career working with producer, label head and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, now the lead executive of Apple's Beats Music.

According to the interview, Morris and Iovine still talk on the phone twice a day. Sony Music's cooperation would be a boon to Apple's streaming service, but Morris believes Apple's wide-reaching marketing will be a "rising tide that floats all boats" for the streaming industry by expanding the overall market, similar to how the rise of Apple Pay has also helped competing mobile payment systems gain acceptance.

Morris cited the amount of capital Apple has sitting in the bank, more than $190 billion, and the 800 million credit cards already attached to iTunes accounts. Apple can promote their streaming service effectively, while services like Spotify haven't advertised much, and have relied largely on word of mouth.

Rumors suggest that Apple's service will cost roughly $10 per month, with a possible long free trial, and while Morris prefers a for-pay subscription model over an advertising model from a business perspective, consumers may have other ideas about what works for them. Apple's promotion will get consumers thinking about streaming services as an option, even if they don't have an Apple device.

Currently, Apple continues to offer Beats Music on Android -- the only Android offering the company has, and only as a result of the app already being in place before Apple bought Beats in 2014. Speculation suggests that Apple may opt to continue to offer the service to users of Android, and possibly other smartphone and computer platforms, preferring to grow the service over the temptation to make it a "lure" to drive users to iOS or Mac.

It's unclear exactly how Apple -- which is expected to continue to offer both iTunes Radio in some form as well as the re-modeled subscription service -- will have the two services complement one another. Morris, who is privy to the details but did not reveal any specifics, believes Monday's likely announcement will be "the beginning for an amazing moment for our industry." Previous rumors had had the deals with labels on again and off again, predicting at various times that the announcement would, and would not, arrive in time for WWDC.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Jun 7, 2015 at 04:22 PM. )
     
besson3c
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Jun 7, 2015, 03:48 PM
 
Do you guys think that there is a significant population of users that want software creating curating playlists for them?

Just wondering what you think, this isn't a leading question.
     
Charles Martin
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Jun 7, 2015, 04:44 PM
 
As explained in the article, Apple appears to be *moving away* from algorithm-based playlists (as used by iTunes Radio and others, such as Spotify, iHeartRadio, almost all corporate FM radio, and Pandora -- notably the most popular streaming radio services out there) and towards the Beats model of some level of human curation.

So to answer your question, currently the vast majority of users apparently have no problem with software-based music curation, since that's how most of the streaming services work. Cook believes, and I concur, that human-based curation (such as SomaFM, Sirius XM, Beats Music, etc) is preferable and may become more attractive to listeners.

Call me old or nostalgic, but there was a time when DJs programmed their own stuff (like the legendary John Peel, who "broke" hundreds if not thousands of bands), and today you find that sort of thing still going on in the world of college and indie radio. I've always preferred that style, so I guess I'm a good target for streaming services that will use that model. What's old is new again, the wheel turns round ...
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driven
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Jun 7, 2015, 04:50 PM
 
I personally don't see myself paying for streaming service. I have enough recurring bills every month. If anything, I'm looking to cut some monthly fees, not add more. I still purchase songs that I like and add them to a collection. (Perhaps this is a generational thing, and maybe I'm not the target market here)
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msuper69
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Jun 7, 2015, 06:23 PM
 
A service I'll never use nor anything associated with Beats and all those jokers.
     
Charles Martin
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Jun 8, 2015, 04:15 AM
 
Driven: I hear ya on that point, but I think ultimately what has made subscription streaming popular is chiefly two factors: the first is the convenience and low cost. Ten bucks is what people blow on a fast-food lunch or two coffees. For a month of on-demand music, that seems reasonable. The second factor I think is the desire to discover things outside their own established library. People, including me, love to "find" new bands we didn't know about that we think are fantastic. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's like falling in love, and streaming music services are really handy for discovering music or following up on recommendations from friends.

That said, I have enough purchased music in physical or digital form to likely last me a lifetime. So I mostly get my streaming fix from free-ish services like Soma FM (I do donate once in a while), iTunes Radio, some online radio stations I used to work for, a few "niche" Internet stations, and BBC Radio mostly. Haven't personally felt the need to subscribe to anything more than iTunes Match.
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climacs
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Jun 8, 2015, 08:45 AM
 
I don't see myself using a subscription service because most new music today sucks and is not worth discovering. Also, get off my lawn. I freely admit I am unlikely to be the target demographic (closing in on 50).
     
DiabloConQueso
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Jun 8, 2015, 11:32 AM
 
Most new music from any era sucks and is not worth discovering. There is no more crappy music produced today than there was in bygone eras -- it's just that the crappy music of yesterday is not played on the radio or elsewhere, and only the hits have survived.

Listening to new music on the radio in the 1970s and 1980s was just as much an exercise in frustration at the amount of crap they put out as it is today -- it's just that the stations that play 1970s and 1980s music today play only the hits, much like the radio stations of the year 2040 will do to the music today.

In other words, it's no different today than it was 20 or 30 years ago, we old fogies have just developed one hell of a selective memory when comparing music from a bygone era to the music of today. There's lots of good music today -- it's just that, similar to the 70s and 80s, it's lost in a sea of mediocrity and crap that won't stand the test of time.
     
Charles Martin
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Jun 8, 2015, 12:45 PM
 
"only the hits have survived" -- that is generally what I think of as "the crappy" music from a particular era.

It's actually not hard these days to find good artists/bands -- just tune in the local college radio for a while, there's always a good show or three run by someone with taste, and of course once you do find a band you like, Amazon and Apple's (et al) recommendation engines and "people also bought" suggestions will put you on a path to finding more. There's also going out to check out the local music scene, and of course if you have friends with taste, you listen to them.
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climacs
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Jun 8, 2015, 01:05 PM
 
respectfully disagree quite a bit with Diablo. The music industry, like the film industry, can't afford to take chances any longer. So it doesn't.
     
   
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