Apple probably acquired Beats for a number of reasons: First, the acquisition included movers and shakers in the music industry, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Second, Beats is a popular brand that Apple can work with and, third, the purchase came with the Beats Music streaming music service, which Apple CEO Tim Cook loves. Apparently there are some changes on the way for Beats Music, however.
TechCrunch said Monday that it has learned that Apple is moving Beats Music employees to “other projects at Apple, including iTunes ” and that Apple will eventually “sunset the Beats Music brand.” That spurred a lot of discussion and misunderstanding around the Internet, because apparently the actual service isn’t going anywhere. Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr told Re/Code that suggests Apple is shutting down Beats Music are “not true,” and Re/Code suggests that, indeed, Apple may simply modify the branding.
Tim Cook, in a recent interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, discussed how much he loved the human-curated music offered by Beats and how he thought it was a totally different music experience that truly had the ability to change the way a user feels. Given that kind of reaction, it seems bizarre that Apple would ever shut down that business entirely. Also keep in mind that Beats Music launched on Apple TV just a few days ago.
It is possible that Apple will just move that idea of human-created playlists and content to iTunes or some other Apple-branded service where users will hopefully be able to sign up for monthly unlimited music subscriptions. Apple is also reportedly working with U2 on a brand new music format that will encourage folks to want to buy albums and individual tracks again. Either Apple has two plans for the music market, or these are combined in some fashion that we can’t quite wrap our heads around just yet.
TechCrunch uses official shots of the Apple Watch as proof that Apple has something else brewing, perhaps the aforementioned new service. The upcoming wearable has a new icon with a blue play button which may ultimately represent whatever new music service Apple has up its sleeves.
When will we see it? That’s an answer we hope to find out soon, but at least the actual Beats Music service isn’t going anywhere soon.