It has been QUITE A YEAR for Beats Music, the streaming service built by Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor, among others. The service launched in January. In May, Beats was purchased by Apple for $3.2 billion. In June, rumors circulated that Reznor had left Beats, although those rumors were later dispelled. And today, TechCrunch reports that Apple will shut down Beats Music by next May. Notes TechCrunch:
The fact that the new iPhones did not come pre-installed with Beats Music, while several other Apple apps came loaded on the 6 and 6 Plus, should have been a red flag. There was also nothing said about Beats Music during the Apple Watch reveal, even though the service’s radio and fire-and-forget playlists could work well on a wearable. In August, Beats Music was being advertised to new users on iOS 7, yet the only time Beats Music got an off-hand mention at the September launch event was when Apple CEO Tim Cook said the new U2 album would be available there.
As someone who sat in on at least two fairly extensive meetings with Beats Music prior to its launch and watched them drop what had to be seven figures on promotion at SXSW 2014 in March, I can tell you confidently this was not how they had it drawn up in the beta stages. There’s obviously a lot still to come here, and TechCrunch goes into some details (and you should definitely read their piece for a clearer picture of what may come), but for now, it’s probably wise to keep current with that Spotify subscription.
UPDATE: Recode is saying that Apple is not in fact shutting down Beats Music. “It may, however, modify it over time, and one of those changes could involved changing the Beats Music brand,” writes Peter Kafka.
To me that’s pretty much an issue of semantics. The first paragraph of the TechCrunch story allows for the same conclusion. As they write, “It’s not clear when exactly Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre’s music service will be shut down or what Apple will do with streaming, but every source with knowledge of the situation that we talked to agreed Apple plans to sunset the Beats Music brand.”
Whatever the case, Beats spent a fucking fortune attempting to establish that brand, so “changing” or “sunsetting” it has gotta represent a suboptimal result, right?