Don’t expect Apple to launch an ad-supported music streaming service, but it might give you some free tracks.
It will be free; it won’t be free. It will have some free stuff; it hates free streaming. It will cost a fortune; it will be affordable.
Until we see the final details of Apple’s Beats-based music-streaming service, speculation continues to run wild as to what, exactly, it will offer. Even the U.S. government is curious.
A few more unnamed sources have been talking to Re/code, which reports that Apple is shifting its stance a bit from “hater of all things free” to “begrudging acceptance that some free elements are a necessary part of the streaming experience.”
Don’t expect to see a free, ad-supported version of Apple’s service. Instead, reports Re/code, Apple is considering a free trial period of one to three months, depending on the outcome of Apple’s negotiations with music labels. The service will also reportedly offer some free music in the form of streamable tracks that have been hand-selected by artists.
Don’t confuse that with free, on-demand streaming of anything you want to listen to. The free tracks could be a great incentive for those still tentative about Apple’s streaming offering, and it could also be great promotion for music groups that want people to listen to a few of their tracks before hitting up iTunes to buy an album (or signing up for Apple’s service).
Apple, and some of the larger music labels, have been concerned that the freemium modelas in, advertising-supported streamingjust doesn’t generate enough revenue to remain sustainable for everyone involved. Additionally, freemium plans keep a number of people from becoming paid-for subscribers to streaming services. For a person just listening to music on a desktop or laptop PC, there’s not all that much incentive on some service to pay up to remove advertising (so long as you don’t find it all that annoying).
Some artists are skeptical as well, from Taylor Swift to Bjork.
“To work on something for two or three years and then just, Oh, here it is for free. It’s not about the money; it’s about respect, you know? Respect for the craft and the amount of work you put into it. But maybe Netflix is a good model. You go first to the cinema and after a while it will come on Netflix. Maybe that’s the way to go with streaming. It’s first physical and then maybe you can stream it later,” said Björk in an interview with Fast Company this year.