Since Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics earlier this year, there’s been plenty of speculation as to what, exactly, Tim Cook and Co. have in store for the company.
Now, according to TechCrunch, multiple sources have divulged that Apple is planning to discontinue the Beats Music streaming service altogether, less than a year since the service was first launched.
Apple has responded to the claims by stating that TechCrunch’s original report is not true; but tellingly, did admit that the company may eventually ‘modify’ Beats Music and the Beats Music brand.
Either way, it seems likely that Beats Music as a stand-alone streaming service has an expiry date. The predictable outcome is that Apple will eventually merge Beats Music into its own iTunes platform, dropping the Beats name from the service completely.
All about streaming
Apple’s recent iPhone and Apple Watch unveiling points to a short future for Beats Music. The Apple Watch wearable apparently won’t include a pre-installed Beats App, and little to no mention of the music service was made during Apple’s lengthy presentation.
With digital download numbers waning due to the increased popularity of streaming and on-demand music, it may be time for Apple to give the iTunes format a makeover. Although iTunes users bought 117.6 million albums in 2013 alone (and 1.26 billion songs), competing streaming services such as Spotify continue to grow subscribers.
Apple buying Beats in May was thought by many to be a way for the company to establish a streaming music presence, and nab the talents of Beats’ executives, including Jimmy Iovine, Dr Dre and Ian Rogers. Since the acquisition, Apple has appointed Rogers as head of its iTunes Radio service, and TechCrunch reports that Beats Music engineers have already been transferred to other Apple projects.
Less Beats, more iTunes
First launching in late January, Beats Music has amassed around 250,000 paid subscribers – not enough to pose a real threat to rival streaming services, despite the company’s efforts to make the Beats platform a unique offering. If Apple does shut down the Beats Music name, it would be an unsurprising move from a company that positions itself as an industry leader.
Rolling Beats Music into the iTunes platform would be a logical next step for Apple – it’s a move that both eliminates some of the competition, and gives the company a head start in getting its own digital streaming service up and running.
While Beats Music may get the cut, it’s unlikely the highly lucrative Beats brand of headphones will suffer the same fate. Beats’ audio line has benefitted from marketing and brand recognition in a similar fashion to Apple, and we can’t see Apple interfering with either the brand, or the products, any time soon.