What we're hearing about the new music-streaming service Apple is developing in secret


Zane Lowe

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BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe was hired by Apple in February 2015.

Apple has been secretly developing a new streaming service - and we've been hearing some interesting rumours about what it's going to be like.


We talked to someone who has knowledge of the talks currently taking place between Apple and musicians. Here's what they said Apple is building. Obviously, it's at a very early stage and none of this is confirmed. We do not know how any of this will eventually shake out. But this is what people connected with the company are hearing:

  • It's not just going to be a new streaming site. Apple is going to relaunch iTunes with a focus on streaming music, rather than paying for downloads.
  • Zane Lowe is going to lead a new curated streaming service. Our source described him as the "mastermind" behind the new project.
  • Apple is currently talking to famous musicians to see if they're interested in curating their own streams, almost like custom radio stations.
  • Apple isn't going to run iTunes Radio and Beats as two separate services. Our source suggested that Apple is going to roll the two streaming services into one.

These all sound credible. We know that Apple hired well-known BBC radio DJ Zane Lowe in February, and he's going to be working on Apple's streaming service. Similarly, Apple has posted a job ad for a music journalist, who it wants to manage a team of freelancers. If our source is correct, then they could be writing copy for the new curated music service.

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If Apple's music streaming service is similar to the outline above, then it's going to look very similar to something that exists already. WiMP (known as Tidal in the US) is an online streaming service currently in the process of being acquired by musician Jay Z. WiMP has two big selling points: Lossless music streaming as standard, and curated playlists and articles written by musicians and writers who really understand music.

Here's what you see when you open the Tidal app: Curated playlists.


Tidal playlists app


What we heard from our source also aligned with a 9to5Mac report that details the future of the Beats streaming app. 9to5Mac's sources also claim that the Beats streaming app is being rolled into iTunes to form part of a new streaming service, although they stop short of detailing the new emphasis on streaming, rather than downloads, that could take place for iTunes.

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