Months have gone by, but Apple’s plan for Beats Music still remains unclear – raising questions about the spring acquisition.
Reports early in the week indicated that Apple might be shutting down Beat’ streaming music service, but officials from Apple have harshly denied that and even issued a rare public statement.
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said, “This is not true,” plainly referring to rumors that Apple would shut down or discontinue Beats Music service.
Much of this has come down to a question of commitment on the part of Apple, though. The industry has serious questions about Apple, and their desire to be in the streaming music market – since that seemed to be a large part of their reasoning behind the Beats purchase.
Currently, Spotify owns the market by a significant margin. But, even Rdio, Songza, Pandora, and Slacker – whose services and database are somewhat limited are significantly better streaming products than Beats is, or ever has been.
However, the most widely-accepted notion is that the company is going to eventually stream the name “Beats,” right out of Beats music streaming service – and merge it with iTunes. The notion includes that they would reserve the name Beats, for only the company’s hardware – like headphones, and other audio products – and make a drastic change to the streaming service by using it under their own product name.
When Apple announced the deal that included buying Beats for $3 billion, they were very vague about what the future was going to hold for Beats, as well as what would be in the future for Apple with streaming music.
It’s important that Apple finds their way in the digital music subscription world because there is a sharp contrast to how music subscriptions are doing versus music downloads.
While downloads still generate the largest sum of money in revenues, they’re declining. On the other hand, music streaming subscriptions still account for a very small portion of the total money coming in at the end of the year, but are increasing – and doing so at a growing clip.
Beats Music was only introduced in January – so in terms of lifespan, the subscriptions service is still very young. However, Apple appears to be handling this purchase the same way they’ve handled acquisitions in the past.
Recently, the 2013 purchases of Embark and HopStop – which provided directions, were merged with Apple’s Map service, and the original apps were shut down completely. The same can be said for former music service Lala, from 2009 – which saw a similar fate.
While it would definitely be harder for Apple to completely discontinue the Beats name, with how dominant they are in the headphone market – specifically – all of this definitely makes even the most general consumer wonder what exactly they’re going to do with Beats, if anything at all.