Earlier this year, Apple had acquired Beats Electronics for $3 billion. But since the acquisition, there has been much speculation as to what Apple's plans are for Beats. Now, it appears that things might be taking a huge left turn. As reported by TechCrunch, sources have purportedly revealed that Apple is planning to discontinue the Beats Music streaming service.
The folks at Apple have addressed TechCrunch's report, saying that the story has no truth to it. Although the company did state that somewhere down the line, it may make changes to Beats Music and the Beats Music brand.
The truth of the matter may eventually be revealed soon, but as of now, it looks like Beats Music has an expiry date as a stand-alone music streaming service. It would not be much of a surprise if Apple merges Beats Music with its own iTunes, and eliminating the Beats brand name altogether.
Also, the recent or future developments from Apple do not seem to involve Beats Music at all. For example, the recently released Apple Watch does not even have a Beats app pre-installed. And during Apple's event in Cupertino, nary a word was spoken about the music streaming service.
As for iTunes, it may be time for a change. Digital downloads have been on a decrease in the last few years, due in part to the growing popularity of streaming and on-demand music. Despite the fact that users of iTunes bought more than 117 million albums and more than 1.2 billion songs last year, music streaming service providers such as Spotify still continue to attract more subscribers.
When Apple acquired Beats Music last May of this year, it was considered then as a decisive move by the company to establish its presence in the world of music streaming. Apple even managed to acquire the services of Beats Music's executives, namely Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, and Ian Rogers. Since the acquisition, Rogers has been appointed head of the iTunes Radio service, and Beats Music engineers have already been shifted to other Apple projects (according to TechCrunch).
After Beats Music was launched last January, it has amassed about 250,000 paying customers, which does not really pose a threat to competitor music streaming services, even if Beats Music was positioning itself as a truly unique music brand. So if the Beats Music shutdown turns out to be true, some might say it would be a logical move for a company like Apple who always prides itself as a market leader.
But it is a whole different story if it merges Beats Music with iTunes. Not only will this move get rid of some of competition, it allows Apple to gain headway in setting up its digital streaming service.
As for the Beats brand of headphones -- well, it probably will not meet the same fate as Beats Music. Beats headphones after all has truly made a name for itself in the audio gear industry, and even Apple can appreciate and respect that.
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