The more I think about it, and the more I experiment with Beats Music, the more excited I am about this deal. I've always wondered why, despite Apple's unique ability to blend the humanities and technology in consumer electronics, iTunes (and now iTunes Radio) seems so sterile and poorly curated. I've only listened to the first part of Jimmy Iovine's All Things D interview, but so far he has talked about rekindling the emotional connection to music that has been lost in the digital age with the commoditization of music production and consumption (I think I just articulated it better than he did). He talks about how the sensation of music is more visceral than we get simply by isolating and reproducing waveforms, which he says was the main inspiration behind Beats Headphones, and likely their reputation to be "bassy." After listening to him, I understand why they got so popular, and I no longer dismiss them as "all style," which was my opinion until recently. I have no doubt that the audiophile crowd is a minuscule, and shrinking, minority of consumers, and I think that the focus on the emotional feeling we get from music is a better approach then perfectly reproducing sounds, even under the Apple brand. Although I think the Beats brand hardware should remain differentiated from core brand Apple hardware.
Beats Music so far for me has been fantastic (I'm listening to it now). The curation is excellent. The algorithm is actually effective. I told the app in the (Siri like) sentence format that I'm "Kicking Back," and it totally changed the feel of the music, while staying in the same genre. I assume that if I say I'm in a public place (e.g. work, party) that it will play more popular songs. Further, if I'm at "Work" I assume it will cut out the explicit tracks, whereas if I'm at a "Party" it'll leave them in. Whatever they're doing, it's working, and I'm really enjoying myself, and discovering a lot of new, great music.
Music is being increasingly consumed for free (legally this time), from Soundcloud, youtube, and various radio apps. A value add like the curation and experience offered by Beats Music will put Apple clearly at the top again, instead of just another option.
And just in case people still doubt this purchase, it will be worth it just for the ability to create an iTunes label, and in negotiations with the established labels. Oh, and Beats has $1B+ in yearly revenues.
Edited by PatchyThePirate - 5/13/14 at 9:06pm