A June launch of Apple's new subscription service is going down to the wire. Industry sources say Apple does not have the necessary licensing deals a month before the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference that will take place in San Francisco from June 8th to 12th.
There is widespread belief in technology and music circles Apple plans to introduce the service at the June conference. (At last year's conference the company introduced Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre as newly named employees.) Along with the company's spring and fall press events, the Developers Conference is one of three opportunities per year to launch a new product in front of a worldwide audience. Since acquiring Beats Electronics last May, the only music announcement was Apple's release of U2's Songs of Innocence at the fall press event.
A June launch is still attainable. One source notes Apple has been able to quickly secure licensing deals in the past. "If any company can pull it off, they can," the source tells Billboard, adding that "labels are more likely to play ball with them" because of Apple's track record of generating revenue for rights holders.
Another major label source believes the Beats Music re-launch isn't coming soon. "June won't be the release date. The deals aren't done."
Apple is overhauling and probably rebranding the Beats Music subscription service it acquired in its $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics. It is expected to carry the standard $9.99-per-month price tag and the same emphasis on human curation preferred by Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Beats Music has been available only in the United States since its January 2014 launch. With the global presence of the iTunes Music Store and Apple phones and tablets, Apple will have the ability to significantly expand the subscription service's footprint.
Apple refused a request for comment.