Sony Music Entertainment CEO Doug Morris confirmed Sunday that Apple would launch a streaming music service Monday during its annual developer conference.
Morris used the moniker "Apple Music" when he talked about the service.
"It's happening tomorrow," Morris said of the launch during an expansive interview at Billboard's Midem Music Industry Festival on Sunday in Cannes, France. "Apple Music will be a streaming company."
Apple has been expected to unveil a rebranded and relaunched Beats Music at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco during the keynote address Monday morning. Morris, however, leads one of the biggest music labels, and would be in the know; a partnership with his company would be crucial to Apple's success.
He wasn't shy about pointing that out. "One thing that's very interesting about all these streaming services that are controlled by the tech companies is that they don't work without music," Morris said. "That's very interesting. You can't have a streaming service without music. So we are really in a great position."
"My guess is that Apple will advertise, that they will make a big splash," Morris said. "I think it will have a halo effect on the entire streaming business. All of the companies will benefit: A rising tide lifts all ships."
When asked to explain why Apple might do better in paid streaming than others have, like Spotify, Morris cited several advantages, including Jimmy Iovine, the noted producer and record label owner. "[And] they have in the bank $178 billion. They have 800 million credit cards," Morris added.
Iovine and partner Dr. Dre joined Apple last year after the Cupertino, Calif. company acquired Beats Electronics and Beats Music for $3 billion.
Rumors have tagged Apple's streaming service as a $10-per-month, paid-only subscription, although with a lengthy three-month-long free trial. Morris backed that up.
When asked how he felt about paid versus ad-supported streaming services, Morris said, "Paid...good," as he gave a thumbs-up sign. "Ad-supported, unless there's a conversion factor into a paid service, not so good. For a company like Spotify, there's 100 streams equals $1, [at] say the biggest of the on-demand, ad-supported, [it's] 900 streams to $1. So you can tell which one we like."
Not surprisingly, Morris sounded bullish on Apple's chances, pointing out that he had worked with co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs during the run-up to Apple's launch of iTunes more than 14 years ago. Morris was the chief of Universal Music at the time.
"This guy showed us a way how to make money with digital music, Morris said of Jobs.
"The people in my company were really against releasing the music [digitally] because they thought it would open up the album," Morris continued. "Well, they were right. The problem with their thinking was the album had already been opened up by the Internet. Everything was being stolen. In the record business, we'd spent tens of millions of dollars trying to create a digital system to sell music. None of them ever worked. Steve did it with such grace and class, it was amazing."
Apple will kick off WWDC Monday at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET) with its keynote, which will be live-streamed to Apple devices.
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