Apple Knows You Hate iTunes And Love Spotify, So They’re Launching A Streaming Music Service Too

Apple’s iTunes digital storefront for music was a pretty big deal when it launched over a decade ago. But time, and data plans, march on. Where once being able to buy a cheap single was the new hotness, these days consumers are more likely to want to stream their music, through a service like Spotify or Pandora. And so, Apple being Apple, they’re about to launch a new streaming service too.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is expected to unveil its new streaming music service next week, at the company’s developer conference. The service is expected to cost subscribers $10 per month and, unlike Spotify or Pandora, will not have an expansive ad-supported free tier and instead will make “only a handful of songs” available for free streaming.

If it seems like the streaming scene is crowded with players, well, it is. But Apple has an advantage, and that advantage is iTunes. You might hate it, but millions upon millions of us already have and use it. At a minimum, every iPod, iPhone, and iPad owner already has an iTunes account, and Apple is counting on being able to push their streaming service through iTunes, too.

The changeover to mostly-streaming is one of the few music marketplace shifts Apple has missed, since launching the first iPod in 2003. Apple still sells between 80% and 85% of all downloaded music worldwide, the WSJ reports, but is barely a fraction of the streaming business.

Spotify, meanwhile, is by far the most popular streaming music service in the U.S., hanging on to about 86% of that market. And while sales of downloads are starting to shrink as CDs, cassettes, and records did before them, the number of streaming service users is on the rise.

Apple, Feeling Heat From Spotify, to Offer Streaming Music Service [Wall Street Journal]