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Apple Jumps Into The Music Streaming Business


Now to some news about how you get your music. Apple has jumped into the streaming music business. It announced the new service, Apple Music, at its developers conference yesterday in San Francisco. And as NPR's Laura Sydell reports, DJs may be key to its success.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Back in the good old days of radio, local DJs drove the hits with the songs they chose. Well, it's deju vu all over again.

JAY FRANK: The competition space is likely going to be in the playlist.

SYDELL: Jay Frank, the CEO of the music marketing firm DigMark, says streaming music services are discovering that many music fans are overwhelmed. Users of services like Spotify, Rhapsody or Ardio can access millions of songs. But it's hard to know what's good, so each of the services has been increasingly relying on actual humans to curate lists. Now Apple has brought in experts in different kinds of music to do the same.

FRANK: In a lot of ways, Apple's introduction into the streaming market, to me, signals the beginning of what I call the playlist wars.

SYDELL: And part of Apple's launch into the market includes a 24-seven Internet radio service.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This one, we welcome our special guest Florence from Florence and the Machine.

SYDELL: The service will be broadcast from three cities - New York, LA and London - and be anchored by well-known DJs. Still, there's a lot of reason to be skeptical that music lovers are willing to fork over a monthly fee to access music, rather than own it. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, only 7.7 million people pay to subscribe to streaming services in the U.S., whereas worldwide, 45 million people listen to Spotify's free, ad-based service. And you have to pay for Apple Music. Still, if there's a playlist war, it could be a lot of fun. Laura Sydell, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Laura Sydell fell in love with the intimate storytelling qualities of radio, which combined her passion for theatre and writing with her addiction to news. Over her career she has covered politics, arts, media, religion, and entrepreneurship. Currently Sydell is the Digital Culture Correspondent for NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and