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Apple's 'arrogance' wrought mediocre iTunes Radio and led to Beats buy, report says

post #1 of 141
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Amid the furor of Apple's $3 billion purchase of Beats, pundits asked why the Cupertino company would sink so much capital into what amounts to a brand name. A report on Thursday now claims a shortsighted and credulous iTunes management team put out an inferior product in iTunes Radio, which in turn forced the acquisition.

Radio


Citing multiple sources, Buzzfeed claims the Apple's iTunes managers ignored competing streaming music offerings like Pandora to the point where some didn't know that popular app Spotify was a subscription service. The resulting product, iTunes Radio, is feature deficient compared to rival streamers, in both content curation and purpose, these people said.

"The management in particular were pretty much tone-deaf in what Spotify was and that's why they're panicking now," one person said. "They didn't understand how Spotify worked, which is why they thought iTunes Radio would be a Spotify killer."

According to the source, other managers saw Pandora as a "dead company" because of its troubles in generating revenue. Ironically, engineers in the group reportedly preferred the competition's offerings to iTunes Radio, especially Spotify which rolls in serious social network integration.

"Pandora is an awesome radio that blows iTunes Radio out of the water. Seriously, iTunes Radio sucks and it sucks because of Apple's arrogance," said a former Apple employee. "I was floored by the decision-making skills by management over and over again."

With the Beats deal, Apple is thought to have paid some $2.5 billion for Beats Electronics and only $500 million for the firm's streaming business. When Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the deal, however, he reiterated the importance of Beats Music and said the subscription service would be kept intact as a go-along with iTunes Radio.

Some industry analysts saw iTunes Radio as a new way to push iTunes purchases, not an experiment in high quality content curation that many feel is the next step for streaming services. Beats Music touts human music curation as one of its strong suits.

Echoing an "Apple is losing its cool factor" mindset, the mid-level worker also commented on the acqui-hires of music industry guru Jimmy Iovine and rap superstar Dr. Dre, who are both taking positions at Apple in the near future. The new blood is a play for a younger generation of users, which the source said has become an increasingly pressing issue for the company.

It remains to be seen what part Beats and its cofounders will play in Apple's massive iTunes music empire and beyond. After undertaking Apple's biggest-ever acquisition, however, Cook and company likely have something special planned for the new subsidiary.
post #2 of 141
Middle managers tend to do what they think management wants. Once a company has a hit product they tend to develop tunnel vision and complacency. Devoting most of their time and resources to that one money making thing even as new ideas develop. It happens to every company. Xerox, Microsoft, AOL, Smith Corona..
post #3 of 141
This story is wrought with error. When WSJ broke down the deal, it was just the opposite price 500 million for Beats Music and 2.5 billion for Beats Electronics. How hard is it to do some fact checking?
http://online.wsj.com/articles/apple-paying-just-under-500-million-for-beats-music-streaming-service-1401403287
post #4 of 141
Buzzfeed... BUZZFEED? omg.. you guys will spew anything.. I highly doubt that 'everyone' in the mid-managment was doing what they said.. They make so many absolute assertions that I cannot even imagine anyone taking what they say seriously..

Then.. again.. we are talking about blogs here.. their job is to just repeat things, regardless.. the mindless mime ..
post #5 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"The management in particular were pretty much tone-deaf in what Spotify was and that's why they're panicking now," one person said. "They didn't understand how Spotify worked, which is why they thought iTunes Radio would be a Spotify killer."
 

 

But then there's this:

iTunes Radio Surpasses Spotify to Take Third Place Among U.S. Music Streaming Services

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post #6 of 141

Serving up some hearsay by paraphrasing "former Apple employees"and "the mid-level worker" and "according to the source, other managers". These are things that "one person said".  

 

Nothing to see here folks. Just some click-bait. Move right along. 

post #7 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

But then there's this:
iTunes Radio Surpasses Spotify to Take Third Place Among U.S. Music Streaming Services
I'm surprised by that because when I use it I get a lot of repetition. But to be honest I don't use it a lot because Spotify has better sound quality. Really the only time I use it now is to listen to a new album that isn't available anywhere else.
post #8 of 141
"With the Beats deal, Apple is thought to have paid some $2.5 billion for Beats Music and only $500 million for the firm's headphone business."

Wait a minute. I've read the cost distribution is the other way around. I've read only $500 million for Beats Music streaming and the rest for Beats Electronics. Who's correct? $500M is not that much for a new streaming music system.
post #9 of 141

Apple doesn't need to listen to industry analysts, who reported kids think Apple lost the cool factor, which caused Apple to buy the needless Beats purchase. Remember when these same analysts said that Apple needs to make a cheap iPhone!

post #10 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post

Serving up some hearsay by paraphrasing "former Apple employees"and "the mid-level worker" and "according to the source, other managers". These are things that "one person said".  

Nothing to see here folks. Just some click-bait. Move right along. 

http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/digital-and-mobile/5944778/apple-mulls-launching-spotify-rival-android-app-as

http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/digital-and-mobile/6042224/underwhelming-start-to-itunes-radio-lights-fire-under
post #11 of 141
iTunes Radio streams music, the songs are selected by Apple's algorithms.

Spotify streams music, the songs are selected by me.

Which one do you think I prefer?
post #12 of 141
As much as I wanted iTunes Radio to be great, I still prefer Pandora. The music genome system it uses gives me exactly the kind of mix I'm looking for. Whatever algorithm iTunes uses just doesn't give me the mix I'm looking for. I really really wish they had purchased Pandora instead (don't know if that was ever an option). That would have ended all this right then and there. The music genome project is the key purchase there. It's genius, and Apple is supposed to be all about genius.
post #13 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post

Serving up some hearsay by paraphrasing "former Apple employees"and "the mid-level worker" and "according to the source, other managers". These are things that "one person said".  

Nothing to see here folks. Just some click-bait. Move right along. 

I wonder if these are the same sources at Apple who told @drblank that Katie Cotton probably left because of what Dre's music "stood for."

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post #14 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicwalmsley View Post

iTunes Radio streams music, the songs are selected by Apple's algorithms.

Spotify streams music, the songs are selected by me.

Which one do you think I prefer?

I don't know, do you have such shitty taste in music that even you hate your own selections? 1biggrin.gif

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post #15 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicwalmsley View Post

iTunes Radio streams music, the songs are selected by Apple's algorithms.

Spotify streams music, the songs are selected by me.

Which one do you think I prefer?

This exactly it. I don't know how people can compare them. iTunes Radio and Pandora choose music to play at me and stop me from skipping after awhile if I dislike their choices.

Spotify and Rdio will play almost any song I want, any time, as many times as I want. It's a completely different thing!
post #16 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeb View Post

I don't know how people can compare them.

People compare them because somewhere along the way certain people decided to use the term streaming music without qualifying how one type is basically an advanced streaming music radio service and the other is streaming music rental service. I say the former is advanced because it does allow some interaction with your selections whereas streaming radio services of yore we purely one-way streams.

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post #17 of 141

Citing multiple anonymous sources. What a joke!

 

A hit piece and probably bogus. Moving right along...

post #18 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by enzos View Post

Citing multiple anonymous sources. What a joke!

A hit piece and probably bogus. Moving right along...

"Citing multiple anonymous sources, all the ladies claim SolipsismX is great in bed."


It must be true¡
Edited by SolipsismX - 6/5/14 at 8:32pm

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post #19 of 141
Quote from disgruntled former employee? Check.
Fitting a story to a predetermined headline? Check.
post #20 of 141

True or not, it certainly is one explanation for the pig that is itunes radio.  It would be nice if apple could roll out something to keep Spotify on its toes, although that will not be easy.

post #21 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

"Citing multiple sources, all the ladies claim SolipsismX is great in bed."


It must be true¡

Wait, does the "true¡" mean he's not? 1wink.gif

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #22 of 141
These sources are full of it, and I'll tell you why: There are so many examples of information that contradict buzzfeed.

iTunes Radio was never designed to be a Spotify killer, Spotify have an incredibly difficult business model and are still struggling to sign on popular acts including the likes of Beyonce and Coldplay. Indeed "uncool" Apple launched Beyonce's latest album exclusively, setting a new record for most albums sold, going number one, over night, in more than 100 countries.

Next up, Coldplay, still not available on Spotify, but was offered before launch for listeners through iTunes Radio "First Play". Think about that, users got to listen to it for free, and Spotify can't even get the album on paid-terms.

Or let's go back a little further, with mega act Lady GaGa performing her entire album, before launch, at iTunes Festival, again streamed around the world for free. (Along with Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake and other huge acts.)

This isn't a company that has lost anything.

Well how about Pandora? Since the launch of iTunes Radio, Pandora have been in subscriber decline. Indeed iTunes Radio and Pandora are too similar for Pandora to survive without reinvention. Notably, it's not a coincidence that the music industry is holding out on both. (Perhaps Iovine & Dre can help get iTunes Radio launched in more countries.)

Looking at this, the Beats acquisition makes sense, why build another music product when there is already a relationship with someone who has already gone through the licensing hurdles.
post #23 of 141
Back to the bottom of the barrel rumors already? Buzzfeed, FFS?!

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post #24 of 141
I'd like to think that even Tim Cook knows what Spotify is and if not then Eddy Cue & Team. To suggest that Apple management was unaware of the LIMITED competition out there in the streaming music market is like iCloud Team not knowing what BOX and Dropbox is.
post #25 of 141

I find nothing mediocre about iTunes Radio. And at $25 a year for commercial free music, its a deal that nobody can beat. Spotify, Pandora both want that every month. This report is mediocre and doesn't really hold water. iTunes radio has already surpassed Spotify by miles. So I don't know what the whining is about but its unfounded and not true. The beats deal could bring more variety of music but I think iTunes Radio is just fine as it is.

post #26 of 141

This article sounds like a whole bunch of FUD and bullshit. "Middle-managers"? Check. Un-named "sources"? Check. There may be a grain of truth in this, sensationalize to a ridiculous degree and peppered with even more bullshit. 

post #27 of 141
There's a thing called "licensing agreements" and a music industry who don't want their largest retailer to hold too much power.
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post #28 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post
 

 

But then there's this:

iTunes Radio Surpasses Spotify to Take Third Place Among U.S. Music Streaming Services

This is not surprising, and not really a valid comparison. Spotify is primarily a paid service (they do have Spotify radio now, but that's not their primary business model). iTunes Radio is peddled as a free service, with Apple's revenues coming from Ads and them linking directly to their own music store.

 

So, if a free service surpasses a paid service in number of users, it's not really alarming news. The point being made is that iTunes radio has a user base that is way behind Pandora, which is also a non-subscription streaming service. And it's barely ahead of a paid subscription service like Spotify which brings in $10 per user per month.

post #29 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by pumpkinwhite View Post

This is not surprising, and not really a valid comparison. Spotify is primarily a paid service (they do have Spotify radio now, but that's not their primary business model). iTunes Radio is peddled as a free service, with Apple's revenues coming from Ads and them linking directly to their own music store.

So, if a free service surpasses a paid service in number of users, it's not really alarming news. The point being made is that iTunes radio has a user base that is way behind Pandora, which is also a non-subscription streaming service. And it's barely ahead of a paid subscription service like Spotify which brings in $10 per user per month.

Spotify has 4x as many free subscribers versus paid subscribers. I've used Spotify for years and do not pay for it, so it's very much a free service. Just like iTunes Match, you can pay to remove ads, but that's about where the similarities end.
post #30 of 141
Perhaps the fact that ITunes Radio, which didn't play properly for me for the first six months (always skipped and stuttered even when on Fios), never plays anything I want to hear provoked this deal.

When you "shuffle" in itunes it's bad enough. You hear the same songs very often and over and over on a 10k library. It's a joke among those I know. Their algorithm for "random" isn't random, and if you hit 'play favorites more often' you don't hear any favorites. It's been broken for years.

The fact that they collect my music catalog, with ratings, and can't find a song I would like on iTunes Radio is literally the most monumental oversight in digital history. Besides I.P. Theft of course.

While were at it, let's talk about their algorithm for shuffling or randomly picking pictures for a screen saver from aperture...
post #31 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundvision View Post

Spotify has 4x as many free subscribers versus paid subscribers. I've used Spotify for years and do not pay for it, so it's very much a free service. Just like iTunes Match, you can pay to remove ads, but that's about where the similarities end.

I too pay for iTunes Match.

The similarities end when you click the "o.k. I agree" button so Apple can get your song data and not play a single song you want to hear. Even if you've five stared 10,000 songs you won't hear one.

I like the privacy stuff, however I did hit the "I agree button" for genius to read my songs. It's a waste. There's apparently two things at Apple that are not communicating with each other, at least on the iTunes Radio, and itunes front.


I want to hear what everyone else is five staring in their library. Isn't that what we agreed to?

Eddy? You there?

It also gets pretty sick when you plug in your iPhone and it takes 45 minutes to sync your iPhone over a USB 3 connection because it's syncing "genius data". When you look at it in itunes it looks like your syncing your entire library, only with no benefit.

I say USB 3 because there's no way to plug one into a thunderbolt port directly.
Edited by Silver Shadow - 6/5/14 at 10:27pm
post #32 of 141
This "former employee" and I disagree. I used to use Pandora, and it was fine, but I much prefer the 'curation' of the Apple Radio stream, and it's integration into iTunes. I listen to Apple Radio all of the time- my only concern is, how the heck do they make a buck off of it. I do see it as a precursor (in house training or experiment) to Beats, which I hope will come on line, but not at the expense of the current Apple Radio.
post #33 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by photoshop59 View Post

This "former employee" and I disagree. I used to use Pandora, and it was fine, but I much prefer the 'curation' of the Apple Radio stream, and it's integration into iTunes. I listen to Apple Radio all of the time- my only concern is, how the heck do they make a buck off of it. I do see it as a precursor (in house training or experiment) to Beats, which I hope will come on line, but not at the expense of the current Apple Radio.

It works like a gym. They make a Buck off of it because most who pay for iTunes Match don't use it. Mostly because it's useless,

Kind of like having 9million developers, and one million apps... I'm amazed they would announce such a thing.
Edited by Silver Shadow - 6/5/14 at 10:36pm
post #34 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Shadow View Post

They make a Buck off of it because most who pay for iTunes Match don't use it. Mostly because it's useless,

What?! iTunes Match is far from useless. It's saved me from having to buy the largest capacity iPhone and then having to determine which songs I want to keep local or worry about doing a local sync to get any music I've loaded into iTunes on my iPhone.

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post #35 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Shadow View Post

It works like a gym. They make a Buck off of it because most who pay for iTunes Match don't use it. Mostly because it's useless,

Kind of like having 9million developers, and one million apps... I'm amazed they would announce such a thing.

How the **** is having your entire music library in the cloud and playable/downloadable from any apple device "useless"? Its damn useful to me. $25/yr is peanuts.

Also, are you implying that having 1.2 million apps and 9 million developers is somehow embarrassing? You do realize that it takes more than 1 developer to develop most apps, right? Or maybe you don't, and you're imaging 8 million developers doing nothing and 1 million developers making an app each? Amazing insight you have there.
post #36 of 141
BSfeed.
post #37 of 141
This is exactly why I didn't understand the uproar and confusion over the Beats deal.

Spotify allows their entire library for free outside small devices. That is a big entryway.

Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, Spotify has EXPLICITLY co-opted the role of iTunes. The Spotify client lives and dies by its ability to replace iTunes as a home for music and a destination for general audio consumption.
post #38 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

How the **** is having your entire music library in the cloud and playable/downloadable from any apple device "useless"? Its damn useful to me. $25/yr is peanuts.

Also, are you implying that having 1.2 million apps and 9 million developers is somehow embarrassing? You do realize that it takes more than 1 developer to develop most apps, right? Or maybe you don't, and you're imaging 8 million developers doing nothing and 1 million developers making an app each? Amazing insight you have there.

I think you missed something... I have iTunes Match also.

I have a 128Gig iPad and 64Gig iPhone 5s. I can actually fit my entire "music" and I do stress music library on each. So using the cloud to listen to my music is basically worthless. Don't argue, Apple bred this situation. It's useless to me, and from the very, very, very many people I know who own iDevices that would need that function, they didn't sign up.

So you're saying it takes 9 developers to make an app? I can show you a flashlight app made by a publisher who posts articles on this very site. Think it took nine people?

Most people, I would say eight out of nine, were signing up for developer accounts to try the newest betas. Do you seriously disagree? If you do I'll point you to a site where it costs $49.99 to get the latest beta....

I'm curious if they'll tout developer numbers next year after they lost 1 million purchasers to the beta program.
post #39 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

What?! iTunes Match is far from useless. It's saved me from having to buy the largest capacity iPhone and then having to determine which songs I want to keep local or worry about doing a local sync to get any music I've loaded into iTunes on my iPhone.

My friend, and I truly hope someday I can say that in person, there are a lot of people who don't use itunes and also are not limited to the space requirements on their devices that Apple places.

(Joking) in a far off land you can put 128G of media on a card and then put that in a phone or device.

We are however talking about tech, and most people don't understand it, so that's a minority among the minority group.
post #40 of 141
iTunes Radio isn't that shitty. Especially for a year one product.

These reports sound more like folks being bitter that their suggestions were not taken and the final product want the way they would have done it

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