Apple Music – Apple may be just days away from showing off its new Spotify competitor — and it almost certainly spells the end of the Beats service Apple purchased for $3 billion last year.
The company will unveil a two-tier music streaming service at its World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco next week, according to a Wall Street Journal report . The streaming platform will roll out as an update to the company’s Music app, with an upcoming update to iOS.
Citing “people familiar with the talks,” the report claims Apple has been “rushing” to make the service ready and finalize licensing deals with labels. Three of the biggest labels — Sony, Warner Music and Universal Music — have yet to sign off on the service, which could potentially delay the announcement. The Journal calls that eventuality “unlikely.”
The premium tier of the service is said to cost $10 a month and offer unlimited on-demand access, much like competitors Spotify and Rdio. The free tier, however, will be more of an expansion of iTunes Radio’s existing service than a true Spotify competitor.
Rather than provide ad-supported access to on-demand streaming, the company plans to beef up iTunes Radio with new Pandora-like stations and a lineup of original programming. Apple is also reportedly in talks with stars like Q-Tip, Drake and Dr. Dre to host their own shows on the service.
This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has partnered with celebs on new music experiences — iTunes Radio rolled out celebrity-curated playlists from guest DJs like Katy Perry and Jared Leto in 2013.
Apple will also offer an Android version of the service, the report says, which would be the first time the Cupertino company has ever launched a new app on Android. Apple technically has one Android app at the moment — Beats. But that launched before Apple’s acquisition of the streaming service.
As for Beats, current subscribers won’t see immediate changes as Apple plans to leave the service alone while it fine tunes the new streaming platform.
But in the long run, the report says, Beats’ subscribers will be moved to the new service.