Apple said to be planning launch of music streaming services

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 April, 2013, 8:09am

Apple is reportedly planning the launch of a music streaming service that could challenge the likes of Spotify and Pandora.

The firm is thought to be close to securing licensing deals with Universal Music and Warner Music, two of the three major music labels. Negotiations with the third, Sony Music, are said to be "less advanced", while there is no indication of whether independent labels will sign up.

Industry insiders suggest a service, perhaps called iRadio, will launch this year, cementing Apple's dominant position in digital music. Its iTunes music store - which is 10 years old this month - already makes it the biggest music retailer in the world.

Music streaming is a fast-growing market, with the number of subscribers to existing services growing 44 per cent last year to 20 million.

Twitter has also trained its sights on the music market and is planning to launch a service at this weekend's Coachella music festival.

Twitter's website already has a page for the new service it is calling #music. Once live, it will be a dedicated music version of Twitter, allowing users to play tracks from Soundcloud and iTunes, follow bands and musicians, and trends and recommendations from their friends.

The service has been built by the We Are Hunted team, an Australian firm for discovering and sharing new music that Twitter quietly acquired this year.

It is thought Apple hopes a streaming service will help push download sales by helping users discover new music. There has been speculation the basic Apple service would be free and ad-supported, and launch at Apple's next developer conference in the summer.

Music analyst Alice Enders said Twitter Music was unlikely to present a challenge to the mainstream commercial music market.