In what was arguably one of its worst-kept secrets in recent memory, Apple saved the anticipated unveiling of its new Apple Music service for last on Monday.
Expectations for the iTunes expansion pack as the future of Apple's surprise multi-billion acquisition of Beats Music last year had already been on the surface since last week.
Furthermore, music industry executives let slip about deals with Apple Music over the weekend.
Nevertheless, the WWDC 2015 keynote audience packed with developers seemed unfazed and responded with hoots and cheers typically expected for Apple's routine "One More Thing" announcements.
"We've had a long relationship with music, and music has had a rich history of change, some of which we've played a part in," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine described Apple Music as "a revolutionary music service" curated by leading music experts handpicked by Apple.
The iPod maker is positioning the service as much more than just a digital music subscription but an artist and music aficionado-driven hub teeming with industry news, interviews, guest hosts and more.
"We're at Apple to help artist dreams be realized," Iovine exclaimed.
Iovine opined further that Apple Music will offer the "first ever worldwide radio station broadcast from three cities" (New York, Los Angeles and London) featuring "only music that is great, feels great." (To clarify, Apple Music will be broadcast to 100 countries.)
Apple Music will debut for PC, Mac and iOS users on June 30, starting at $9.99 per month. The first three months will be free. A family plan allowing users (up to six) to share accounts at a rate of $14.99 per month.
Android support is promised to follow this fall.
Here's a look at the moat that Apple is hoping it can use to protect its music business and make streaming more mainstream.
- $10 a month. This price tag for the streaming service isn't all that disruptive. Free would be more disruptive, but Apple is promising that it will program channels as if they were radio channels.
- Less e-commerce friction. $9.99 a month isn't disruptive but the fact that Apple has all your credit card info and can sign you up with ease is the company's best weapon. Simply put, you can get Apple's streaming service with a click.
- Music industry relationships and an ecosystem. Iovine, who came to Apple via the Beats acquisition, called the music industry "a fragmented mess." "If you want to stream music, you can go over here. If you want to stream some video, you can check some of these places out," Iovine continued. "If you want to follow some artists, there's more confusion for that."
Larry Dignan contributed to this report.
Screenshots via Apple