Since Apple acquired Beats last year for $3 billion, the lingering question of what would become of both iTunes and Beats’ streaming music service has not been entirely answered. So far, both have remained independent, one offering on-demand streaming subscriptions with the other offering paid downloads. 9To5Mac is now reporting that its heard from people within Apple how the company might move forward with its music plans.
The first change would be the deep integration of Beats Music into iTunes, iOS, and Apple TV. On iOS, the default music app would get some sort of new streaming integration, while the iTunes application would get added capabilities on the desktop side–both for Windows and Mac.
Mark Gurman, writing for 9To5Mac, also mentions that an updated music offering from Apple would focus on users’ music libraries, similar to the way iTunes currently works. Beats Music, however, would bring a lot of its service’s human curation and social aspects:
Apple will also deeply integrate Beats Music’s Playlists, Activities, and Mixes features into the new service, letting users access a vast array of pre-made, human-curated playlists to fit various activities. Surprisingly, Apple is likely to also update Beats’ social networking features, allowing people to follow other users and artists as they did with the failed Ping social music network.
The other big revelation is that Apple might undermine other streaming services with a $7.99 monthly fee (compared to, say, Spotify’s $9.99). Beats Music currently offers a discounted yearly rate of $99.99, but it would be the first on-demand streaming service to dip below the roughly $10 norm.
If all this sounds intriguing, but you currently use an Android device, fear not. The report also pegs this new music offering–name yet to be determined–with a new Android app built in-house. While a crucial piece of the puzzle if Apple wants to continue dominating in the music space, it’s also a very new frontier for the iOS company.
There’s no exact time given in the report for when the new music service would launch, but the most likely possibility is sometime between March and Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in June.