Apple meets with Beats as Dr Dre firm plans to rival Spotify in music streaming

SNL'S KENAN THOMPSON WORKS AT BEATS STORE - SOHO New YorkApple has reportedly held talks with Beats Electronics, the headphones firm founded by hip-hop producer Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine, about its new music streaming service for which it this week raised $60m.

Tim Cook, the Apple executive, is said to have met with Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine late last month as Beats’ readies its streaming service. The service is named “Project Daisy” and was announced in January.

According to Reuters, Apple’s Internet products chief Eddy Cue, who was closely involved in setting up Apple’s iTunes Music Store, was also at the meeting alongside Cook.

Cook, Cue and Iovine are said to have talked about the business model for Daisy and its rollout plans.

The meeting between Cook and Iovine, who is also chairman of music company Interscope-Geffen-A&M, was “informational” and covered a broad range of music-related topics, the sources said.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr and Beats declined to comment.

The iPhone maker has been widely reported to be considering a music-streaming service to complement iTunes, the largest repository of music for sale.

Beats, known for its stylistic, distinctive headphones, has a partnership with Taiwanese handset maker HTC Corp, an Apple rival,” Reuters reported.

News of the meeting came as Beats revealed that it had secured $60m in funding for Daisy from a group of investors including Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik, billionaire Lee Bass, and Australia’s  James Packer.

The service will challenge Spotify and others in the music streaming market. Although it will be a tough battle and one that others are also eyeing.

Spotify currently has around 20 million active users worldwide with five million of those paying for the premium service. Those figures rose from 15 million and 4 million respectively in the six months to December.

A tie-up with Apple could create a powerful new force in the market. One rival they might also have to battle is Google and YouTube.

Last month it was reported that Google was in talks with record labels in a bid to develop its own streaming service.

The current service, Google Play for Android, allows users to buy music and then access it from all of their devices.

Now separately the Google-owned YouTube is said to be examining another project.  According to SAI, the new service, due out later this year, “will reportedly offer access to millions of songs for a monthly subscription, much like Spotify, the dominant player in the market.

“There will be some overlap between the YouTube and Google Play services, but the differences are likely to reflect the different place they occupy in the market”.