Add "subscription-based streaming music service" to the list of things we’re expecting to hear Apple announce at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The Wall Street Journal, citing those "familiar with the plan," said that Apple will price the service at $10 per month and position itself in direct competition for customers’ ears with Spotify’s and Pandora’s paid options.
Apple already offers its own free ad-supported streaming service, iTunes Radio, which it announced at WWDC in 2013. However, the WSJ explains that the new paid streaming service will include human-curated and even human-hosted channels (reportedly including the likes of hip-hop musicians Q-Tip, Drake, and Dr. Dre). The paid streaming offering is not expected to include all of the songs and artists in the iTunes Store, since Apple’s existing deals with labels for selling music typically don’t include the rights to stream that music. The WSJ’s sources indicate Apple is "rushing" to have the service ready and to get streaming deals signed in time for launch.
The obvious goal for Apple would be to transform occasional purchasers from the iTunes store into sources of ongoing monthly revenue. To that end, the WSJ sources say Apple may prompt iTunes customers who spend $10 purchasing an album to give the new streaming service a try for the same cost.
Whether Apple is going to stick with the "iTunes Radio" branding for the service or pick a new name is uncertain, but as with iTunes Radio, we expect the functionality will be rolled out to iTunes, iOS, and AppleTV users via an automatic update once it’s available.
We’ll have more on the streaming service and on all other things WWDC next week. Ars Senior Products Editor Andrew Cunningham will storm the beach at Moscone West in the finest Ars tradition—liveblogging and photographing and reporting on everything that moves.