Apple's plans to launch their own paid subscription-based music streaming service are slowly taking shape. Since buying Beats Audio in May, Apple is reportedly moving forward with plans to either shut down or re-work Beats Music, Beats' own subscription-based streaming service. Ultimately, it seems as if Apple is trying to incorporate whatever technology, resources, and people Beats Music had going for it into a new Apple-branded streaming service. But for now, Beats Music is their go-to for streaming subscription revenue and product.
With the right technology and people in place to make a splash in the growing streaming music service sector (like, who DOESN'T use one of these by now: Spotify, Rhapsody, Amazon, Google Play; etc), Apple still needs to clear the biggest hurdle of all: Getting labels on board.
While the Apple name and iTunes brand are heavyweights within the music industry for consumers, labels may be a little more skeptical. Remember, the big dogs like Universal, Sony BMG, Warner, and EMI all hated Apple back in 2005 for their insistence on peddling songs in iTunes for 99 cents each. The 99 cent song was blasphemous back then.
Nearly ten years and over 35 billion iTunes songs sold later, Apple is coming back for more. And just like in 2005, they're looking to flex their Apple-ness to score a sweet deal. According to Re/Code, Apple wants labels license music at a price that would allow them to enter the subscription-based music streaming market under the standard $10 per month price that Spotify, Rhapsody, and even Beats Music currently charge.
Apple's negotiation tactics may just work—labels have quite a history of resisting and then relenting to innovative tech companies. Regardless of when/if Apple launches their own paid streaming product, they'll have stiff competition: Spotify currently has 10 million paying users. Additionally, with free streaming services like YouTube, Soundcloud, Pandora, and iTunes Radio around, it remains to be seen if any tech company can take control and release a product that gets people to actually pay for music.