Apple Music will be a Spotify-rivalling music streaming service launched by the iPhone maker in June, and will feature a social network for artists to promote their work.
Using Beats Music - which Apple bought last year for $3bn (£1.9bn) - as its foundation, Apple Music will be announced at the company's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, which starts with a keynote by company boss Tim Cook on 8 June. It is expected to become available from late June.
Apple Music will contain a social networking element, but instead of Apple's ill-fated Ping service which lived briefly in iTunes between 2010 and 2012, the new network will be for artists and bands to promote their work - and the work of others, if they choose.
Users will be able to subscribe to their favourite artists' pages, comment on and 'like' posts, but they will not be able to set up their own pages, as they could with Ping.
The social network will be accessible across the iOS and Mac versions of Apple Music, and reports claim an Android version is also in the works, but has been delayed and may not be available at launch. Apple has been actively hiring Android developers to overcome these hurdles.
Speaking to 9to5Mac, industry sources who have been briefed on Apple's plans say the social networking features of Apple Music can be switched off if the user doesn't want them, leaving behind a music streaming service similar to Spotify. Apple is expected to offer a huge number of tracks, plus a wide range of content exclusive to its new service, and will offer a free trial of between one and three months, before charging between $5 and $10 per month.
The sources claim Apple's existing iTunes Match and iTunes Radio services will remain, with the latter receiving an overhaul to improve mixes.
Combating Apple's imminent plans to enter its market, Spotify is holding a press event in New York and London on 20 May, which IBTimes UK will be attending.