Apple was a game-changer for the music industry with iTunes. Apple wants to be a game-changer for the payments industry with Apple Pay. Is Apple also going to try to be a game-changer of the music streaming industry with the tools from both iTunes and Apple Pay?
According to Nate Swanner of SlashGear, Apple may be in the process of building a streaming service for music that will enable users to share songs and albums through encrypted files that can be unlocked by the recipient of the file. This process appears to have begun with the acquisition, and later disassembling and re-integration, of Beats Music into the iTunes network back in September. In addition, Apple recently purchased Semetric, which was the analytics engine behind Musicmetric, the company that Spotify uses to geo-target song listeners and feed data back to musicians regarding stream to purchase ratios of their music.
Though still in the rumor stages at the moment, admitted Swanner, it is likely that Apple will be looking to create a "Spotify killer" thanks to the technological acquisitions of Beats Music and Semetric, in combination with iTunes to create a shareable, streamable software service that will use NFC technology similar to that of Apple Pay to legally deliver the music in encrypted files.
The technology for the encryption may have just been patented by Apple, according to Swanner, so the pieces are there to move forward with the streaming service. To keep music companies onside, the Semetric analytics will be included in the software so musicians can figure out who is streaming their music, how many of those people are subsequently buying albums on iTunes, as well as where they are getting heard so they can plan concerts. This is vital information for musicians' financial interests because it can disincentive piracy, and helps both partners' bottom lines because Apple can negotiate the best deals with music labels for content, according to Zack Whittaker of ZDNet. The encrypted software would only be accessed by customers of the streaming service who would have the tokenized key, similar to how Apple Pay protects card data.