Sunday, 14 June 2015


WHEN Apple bought Beats, best known for making bright-coloured headphones, for around $3 billion last year, many wondered what the technology giant had in mind. They now have their answer. On June 8th, Apple held its annual gathering for software developers in San Francisco, where it revealed a new music-streaming service, based on one it had acquired as part of Beats. Tim Cook, Apple’s boss, elected not to do a soft sell. “It will change the way you experience music forever,” he promised. “Revolutionary” is how several others described it on stage.
The new service, called Apple Music, is based on Beats’, but takes it a few steps beyond. It will be available at the end of June for Apple users, and later this year on Android, Google’s operating system for mobiles. In exchange for a monthly fee of $9.99, people will have access to an unlimited number of songs, which they “rent” instead of own. As predicted, the service pivots Apple’s music offering away from digital downloads, which it helped popularise with the launch of the iPod music player in 2001. This trend is mirrored by the music industry as a whole. Streaming revenues have been rising while downloads have declined in recent years.

HENRY E. J Williams

Author & Editor

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