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A source close to Apple Inc.’s department responsible for managing acquisitions has released news that the company plans to shut down Beats Music, and reintroduce the streaming service as a feature on iTunes. The new and improved version of iTunes would be released sometime in the spring of 2015. Rumors are currently circulating that Apple Inc. will completely strip any Beats branding from the service, and add it into iTunes, while still keeping their iTunes Radio and download options. Apple representatives still have not officially commented on the news.
iTunes has seen a decrease in downloads in 2014, as sales have dropped in the range of 13 to 14 percent. Apple Inc. recognizes that downloads are a trend that may belong to the past, 2013 also saw a decrease in downloads by about three percent. For a very long time, Apple Inc. held a steadfast belief that nobody wanted to “rent” music, and that streaming services could not possibly have longevity. In an age where buying music has become more of an option than a given, streaming services like Spotify and Beats Music allows music lovers to pay a small monthly subscription amount, and have access to mostly any music the user knows is out there. Users can keep their favorite songs, albums, and playlists in one area, and do not have to store the music locally.
For a long time, people have no longer felt a need to buy music. When the compact disc (CD) was the top medium used for music listening, sales dropped dramatically when people found out they could simply use a LimeWire-type of program to download songs for free, and make their own collections of songs for free, with usually no repercussions. Apple Inc. was part of the force to slow down the leakage of music industry money, as many people started to use iTunes for their music needs. Reasons could have been that the service was digital, meaning no one needed CD’s anymore. Meanwhile some people may have just been too afraid of getting busted for downloading, and decided to use the service provided music in a way people were becoming accustomed to.
People no longer wanted to purchase a whole album just because they liked an artist’s two radio singles. Apple Inc. gave people this flexibility through iTunes. Many of today’s music listeners have evolved to want even more than an ability to pick songs they like. Today’s listeners want all the music, all in one place, for low-cost, in an app located right at their fingertips. Companies like Spotify and Beats have figured out how to be successful in today’s music market, which finally has Apple Inc. paying attention.
Apple Inc.’s plan to shut down Beats is born out of adoration, and necessity. Beats Music has wowed many users with its sense of making subscribers feel as if they are part of a community. Based on likes, songs and albums added to the personal library, and other factors, Beats welcomes its users into the music app each time with a list of musicians or songs the subscriber might be interested in. Another feature is that users can use a list of words or phrases to tell Beats what type of “mood” they are in, and Beats puts together a playlist on the user’s behalf. Beats music still has only brought in around 250,000 subscribers, but Apple Inc. sees potential in the service. This could actually indicate the true reason for Apple Inc. acquiring Beats Electronics for 3 billion dollars. iTunes currently has around 8 million users worldwide. The use of Beats’ streaming prowess will put Apple Inc. on top of the music world again. Beats Music app subscription currently costs users $9.99 montly, and iTunes looks to offer their service for $5.00 per month.
The news of Apple’s intentions with Beats music could also entice more people to buy iMacs, iPhones, and iPads. More importantly, Apple Inc. believes it can reassert itself as music’s number one brand with plans to shut down the well-liked Beats Music and roll the service into an improved version of iTunes.
By LaBaron Jackson