Strap yourselves in: it’s going to be a fascinating few months ahead for the music industry, as Apple takes iTunes Radio beyond the US, and Beats launches its Beats Music service in that country.
More details on both companies’ strategies emerged yesterday, in what’s starting to look like considered jockeying for position among the big beasts of the digital music world.
We’ll start with Apple, which is apparently hoping to launch iTunes Radio in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand by early 2014, with Scandinavian countries in the frame for launches around the same time too.
This is according to Bloomberg and the regulation sources “who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public”. Apple’s global deals with labels are expected to fuel the expansion, with an early debut on Spotify’s stomping ground the most intriguing aspect.
How about Beats? President and COO Luke Wood tells TheNextWeb that it will launch Beats Music in the US “within the next few months” as a service accessible as a website plus iOS and Android apps.
Wood also re-emphasises Beats Music’s focus on curation: “We’re going to focus really heavily on playlists, because that’s how we consume music and that’s how most people consume music… We’re talking about real depth of personalisation and knowing who I am, who you are, what we’re listening to, what we like, what we’ve listened to before and then offering up music that is highly relevant to our taste profile.”
One takeaway from all of this is the increasingly blurred lines (sorry, Robin Thicke) between previously-separate digital music categories.
Beats Music may be an on-demand service, but it looks like it will feel as much like a personal radio service, just with playlists rather than stations. And, of course, Spotify has been moving in that direction too through its acquisition of Tunigo and efforts to ramp up playlist discovery. Nobody is just a ‘search box’ in this world nowadays.
The competition promises to be captivating.