Apple Sets Sights on Music With New Streaming Service

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPLofficially announced its highly anticipated Apple Music app on Monday at its annual Worldwide Developer's Conference in San Francisco.

The app will be divided into three sections: Apple Music, Apple Music Radio and Apple Music Connect.

Apple Music will offer users access to the entire catalog, which will include over 30 million songs. Playlists can be created manually, but they can also be automatically generated based on user preference. Users can also search the catalog by asking Siri questions like "Play me the best songs from 1994."

The new service stands to compete directly with the Internet-based radio service Pandora (P), and the on-demand streaming platform Spotify. Oakland-based Pandora fell 3.8% to $17.70, trimming its 2015 performance to a loss of 0.8%.

Apple Music Radio will include a 24-hour radio station called Beats 1, which the company said will be dedicated to "music and music culture." Beats 1 will be led by DJs from across the globe including, Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga. Users, with a membership, will be able to skip as many songs as they like, something competitor Pandora Radio does not allow non-members to do.

Apple Music Connect will connect artists directly to their fans through the app. Artists can post anything from lyrics to new songs, and fans can respond directly to the post. Artists can then reply directly on the post to their fans.

The app will be available in over 100 countries starting June 30 on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC. The app will be available on Android this fall. After a 3-month trial period, users will be charged a monthly fee of $9.99. But the company also announced a family plan that will provide the service for up to six family members for $14.99 per month.

"All the ways people love enjoying music come together in one app - a revolutionary streaming service, live worldwide radio and an exciting way for fans to connect with artists," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.

Apple's announcement prompted a poke from Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, who retweeted and later deleted the following:


For Apple, the music app is also something of a departure from past practices. Apple Music marks the first time that an Apple application will be offered on Android devices, said IHS Technology analyst Dan Cryan. He compared the new service to what Amazon (AMZN) does with its Prime video streaming service as well as its shopping app as well as with the Kindle. 

"There's actually a lot of good precedent from Amazon with Amazon building services and putting them onto different devices and having them act as a funnel back to your core experiences," Cryan said in a phone interview from San Francisco. "The precedent is actually that you don't have to have all your services tied to a single device or a single family of devices in order to them to sell more content."

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