Noticeably absent from Apple’s iPhone event earlier this month was Beats Music, the streaming and audio company Apple acquired earlier this year. Is that because Beats Music as we know it won’t be around for very much longer? According to the latest rumours, Apple plans to ditch the Beats brand completely.
It’s been less than six months since Apple announced plans to acquire Beats by Dre. The multimillion dollar deal wasn’t exactly a huge surprise, given the rumour mill had been churning out reports of an acquisition for a couple of weeks ahead of the announcement, but it did raise some interesting questions as to what Apple planned to do with the company.
Though Beats headphones are extremely popular, and they’ve been available in Apple stores for years, Apple never displayed any interest in owning the company. It wasn’t until Beats Music launched earlier this year that Apple seemed to sit up and take notice. And so, the general assumption was that Apple was purchasing Beats in order to get at Beats Music. After all, the company has relationships with all the major record labels, one of the biggest hurdles in getting such a service up and running. It also uses a combination of expert curation and user listening habits to offer a personalized experience. Tim Cook even told Charlie Rose that Beats Music makes you ‘feel completely different’ compared to competing services.
However, TechCrunch cites five different sources that say Apple is on its way to shutting down Beats Music. The company has apparently started moving engineers off Beats Music and onto iTunes and other projects at Apple. Though there’s no hint of a time frame, TechCrunch quite rightly points out that Beats Music wasn’t one of the apps that came pre-installed on the new iPhones, nor was it one of the demoed features of the Apple Watch.
Such a move would go against everything that was said about the acquisition when the deal went down. Over at Recode, the story is a bit different: Beats Music the brand is going away, but the service itself will live on through iTunes.
It does make sense when you consider what Apple gains. The company has Jimmy Iovine and Dre, the creators of the the Beats brand, along with all of their connections and knowledge of the music industry. It also has the engineers that actually created the magical streaming service that is filling Tim Cook with all of those feelings.
If it sheds the Beats Music brand, the company can shift that brainpower to iTunes and incorporate the best parts of Beats Music into its own music platform as it sees fit. It doesn’t have to deal with rebranding or rejigging Beats Music so that it better fits with the Apple brand because it can just shift relevant technology over to iTunes.