SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is adding a missing element to its streaming music service by making it possible for home listeners to send tunes from Apple Music to WiFi-enabled speakers made by Sonos.
The two companies say Apple Music subscribers who own Sonos sound systems will be able to play a "beta" version of Apple Music through the Sonos app starting Dec. 15. A final version will be released early next year.
People who own the popular Sonos systems can already stream music from competing free and paid services, including Pandora, Spotify and Google Play. Until recently, they could also stream from Beats Music, which Apple acquired and is shutting down. But subscription-based Apple Music wasn't available for Sonos listeners when it first launched over the summer.
Home-streaming wasn't available sooner because the two companies needed time to make all of Apple Music's features compatible with the Sonos system and app, Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue said.
"We wanted to give customers a complete experience," he told The Associated Press.
Apple Inc. said last month that it had signed up 6.5 million paying subscribers for its new service, while 7-year-old Spotify claims 20 million subscribers. Earlier this month, Apple expanded its service by offering a version for Android devices. Cue said Apple won't release an update on subscriber numbers until after the holidays.
Sonos CEO John MacFarlane acknowledged that some artists and recording companies are still debating the notion of streaming music, as opposed to selling digital copies. He cited pop singer Adele's decision to withhold her latest album from streaming services this month. But he predicted that Apple, through its size and clout in consumer markets, will win broader acceptance for the streaming model.
Apple can "bring organization and focus to the entire industry," MacFarlane said.