Apple aims much higher than Spotify with upcoming music service

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Jimmy Iovine, Tim Cook, Andre Young, and Eddie Cue. Photo: Apple
Jimmy Iovine, Tim Cook, Andre Young, and Eddy Cue. Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Apple plans to launch a new streaming music service this spring, but music industry insiders say Apple isn’t trying to just compete with Spotify, it wants to become the music business.

Tim Cook and Jimmy Iovine were two of the most in-demand people at this year’s Grammys. Eddy Cue and iTunes VP Robert Kondrk were also in attendance according to a new report from Billboard, which claims artists and labels execs alike were lined up at Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy gala to get a meeting with the biggest names in tech that are now poised to take on music, again.

Jimmy Iovine has devoted recent weeks to meeting senior execs at major and indie labels to talk about the new music service that will launch by summer at the latest and come alongside a major redesign of the iTunes Store as the company struggles to adapt to decline music sales.

Insiders told Billboard that Apple plans to give iTunes a major scrubbing by tossing out thousands music titles, including soundalikes and covers, at the discretion of Apple’s tastemakers. Apple also plans to ban artist re-recordings in favor of original and best-of album versions.

The iTunes cleanup will come in tandem with the new streaming service that will ditch Beats signature look for a UI that’s more in-line with iOS 8 and the Music app.

Apple’s biggest weapon against Spotify is the 800 million credit cards it already has on file, compared to Spotify’s 15 million subscribers. To boost sales, Apple plans to add a featured artist slider that will be chosen by sales velocity, which has some execs fearing for indie labels who may find it harder to compete in the new iTunes store.

Pricing is currently being debated at $7.99 per month with no free version available, but there will also be an Android version available. Apple’s successor to Beats Music will be integrated into an upcoming release of iOS and a marketing campaign featuring artists recruited by Jimmy and Dre is already in the works.