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Apple(s AAPL) is talking with the team behind Beats Electronics about, well, something, according to Reuters. Apple CEO Tim Cook and SVP of Internet Services Eddy Cue either had an “informational” talk with Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine late last month, or discussed “a potential partnership involving Beats’ planned music-streaming service.” Or maybe both? Reuters cites three sources who confirmed the meeting, but concrete details on what was discussed are thin.
The meeting is interesting, of course, because of reports that began cropping up last fall that Apple is planning to add a web-based music streaming service to its iTunes music download empire. Reports at the time from Bloomberg indicated that Apple was exploring an ad-supported streaming service, was trying to land deals with some music labels, and that the service would launch as early as the first quarter of 2013.
Well, the end of the quarter is about three weeks away. If Apple is indeed having informational talks about the business model of Beats’ planned Daisy music service as recently as late February, as has been reported, the service is probably not going to be ready by late March. The same goes if the two are actually discussing a partnership: there’s probably not going to be a full-fledged service ready very soon if they’re still nailing down details.
Either way, as streaming-instead-of-owning music services continue to grow in popularity, Apple has to do something to adapt to the changing tastes of music lovers, whether that’s through an ad-supported music service, or something else. And depending on how much longer Apple waits or how much more time it takes to get such a service ready, it could end up being the latest one to the party.