Apple may end Beats Music brand, to keep subscription streaming service active [u]

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited September 2014
Apple on Monday denied rumors that it is planning to shut down the Beats Music subscription service, but a new report claims the company is looking into a branding change to more closely align the property with other first-party offerings.




Update: In a statement to Re/code, Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the TechCrunch rumor is "not true," but did not offer further comment on the matter. The publication cites sources at Apple as saying branding for Beats Music could change in the future, though the streaming service itself will remain active. The article has been updated to reflect the new information.

Citing five sources at Apple and Beats, TechCrunch reported on Monday that although the exact timetable is unknown, Apple plans to sunset the Beats Music service and brand. People involved in the product are said to have already been moved onto other projects at the company, including iTunes.

If true, the move would be a change from May, when Apple emphasized Beats Music as a key component of its $3 billion purchase of the headphone maker. The Beats Music product received top billing over Beats Electronics in Apple's press release announcing the deal, even though the headphone making side of the business is the brand's most recognizable role.

Observers also believed that the Beats Music service allowed Apple to enter a key subscription market where the iTunes Store and iTunes Radio do not compete. Sales of digital albums have been declining in recent years as customers have migrated to competing services like Spotify and Pandora.

But Beats Music also got off to a slow start, with just 110,000 subscribers as of March. Its performance since being acquired by Apple remains unknown.


Source: Beats Music


The rumor would suggest that Apple's $3 billion buyout of Beats was really about the headphones side of the business, as well as the talent and credibility brought on by the "acqui-hires" of Beats's Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

Iovine is a longtime music industry executive and was a personal friend of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Both he and Dr. Dre have considerable sway in the industry and could help secure content for Apple's iTunes business.

When it was announced earlier this year, Apple's $3 billion buyout of Beats proved controversial, with critics suggesting that the iPhone maker had overpaid for a company better known for its brand than quality products. But proponents believe the addition of Beats products to Apple's portfolio will help the company earn revenue from a lucrative accessories market where the company did not previously compete.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 79

    I saw this coming as soon as Apple purchased Beats. To me, it makes no sense what so ever to have 2 services under its belt that basically compete against each other. Why not take that technology (the agreements too if all possible) and merge it into iTunes Radio. 

  • Reply 2 of 79
    Whoa. That would be an interesting development if true. Then again, weren't there only something like 250k subscribers when Apple purchased Beats?
  • Reply 3 of 79
    Well, that's just bizarre. Not that I'm complaining - the lack of an explicit lyrics filter option (like every other service on the planet seems to have) and the lack of a song/artist block list function were leading me to drop my subscriptions anyway.
  • Reply 4 of 79
    So long as they work their humanized algorithm into their Genius Mix and iTunes Match I'll be happy.
  • Reply 5 of 79
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    But I thought Apple bought Beats because of the streaming service and how it was so much better than the completion. At least that's what the proponents of this deal claimed. Unless they're going to integrate Beats streaming functionality into iTunes?
  • Reply 6 of 79

    I could see the streaming service surviving ... they'll just call it "iTunes" rather than "Beats".

     

    In other words, they'll shut down the "Beats" brand (at least for streaming... may keep it on the headphones) and roll the actual streaming service into "iTunes".

     

    speculation is fun.

  • Reply 7 of 79

    Uh, yeah.

  • Reply 8 of 79

    This article has some issues. Apple didn't say they were going to keep beats music around. Tim basically said he thought that Beats got it right. That doesn't mean he wants to keep it around. It means he will take what he likes and wants into an iTunes service where it belongs. Expect human curation coming to an iTunes streaming service. Tim also said that the brand isn't going anywhere soon. But I always took that as the top brand Beats by Dre. So the headphones and sound bars, etc can keep that as a sub brand under Apple.

  • Reply 9 of 79
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    If Apple does this they no longer have to support Android. :D
  • Reply 10 of 79
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

    If Apple does this they no longer have to support Android. image



    They don’t have to support it now. The app could be removed from availability and all calls/e-mails from Android users could be ignored.

  • Reply 11 of 79
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member

    I find this rumor to be hilarious.<img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 12 of 79
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

    I find this rumor to be hilarious.<img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />


     

    Even more hilarious if it's true.

  • Reply 13 of 79
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

     

     

    Even more hilarious if it's true.


     

    Agreed, and I can't say that it would surprise me in the least, if it were true.

  • Reply 14 of 79
    jakebjakeb Posts: 557member
    hopefully they kept the designers. Itunes could learn a lot about UX and fun visuals from beats. It's crazy how Apple seems to lag when it comes to software design.
  • Reply 15 of 79
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    apple ][ wrote: »
    Agreed, and I can't say that it would surprise me in the least, if it were true.
    The Beats brand is synonymous with headphones not streaming music. No need for Apple to have iTunes radio and Beats Music app. Might as will combine them into one streaming music service oh and while they're at it give iTunes a proper redesign.
  • Reply 16 of 79
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,067member
    This might just be a licensing issue. Content licenses are normally not transferrable, means Apple would have to renegotiate streaming licenses (radio licenses do not normally cover a la carte services).

    Making curation and the subscription service part of iTunes makes sense, as iTunes is a global brand and Beats Music virtually unknown outside the US.
  • Reply 17 of 79
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Here's some possibilities I see happening

    1. This rumor is not true and Apple
    continues to push Beats streaming.

    2. Apple figured Beats and iTunes side by side is too confusing and fragmented. They decide to move all Beats services/talent/ideas to iTunes, making iTunes a monster [email protected]** service.

    3. Apple trolls android. They pull the service completely.... from android devices.

    Personally I've wanted to see option 2 happen. But the name "Beats" holds a lot of weight. Regardless of what iHaters say, the service is growing and will continue to grow. Apple could face a backlash and it wouldn't be an easy transition for subscribers(especially android subscribers). The longer they hold off merging iTunes and Beats the harder it will get.
  • Reply 18 of 79
    In Tim Cook's interview Charlie Rose within the last week, Cook reemphasized how impressed and important Beats subscription model was. If there is going to be a shuttering of the subscription service, it's in name only.
  • Reply 19 of 79
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    So long as they work their humanized algorithm into their Genius Mix and iTunes Match I'll be happy.



    I was thinking similar things. I doubt that they will shutter it so much as meld it into existing systems. 

  • Reply 20 of 79
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,408member

    "If true, the move would be a change from May, when Apple emphasized Beats Music as a key component of its $3 billion purchase of the headphone maker."

     

    May???  

    Mr. Cook said something to that effect during the Charlie Rose interview...

    This is probably the kind of thing where a kernel of truth 

    has been given the most "newsworthy" spin...gee, wonder why they'd do that?

     

    (oops, was typing - yeah! Waldobushman)

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