Apple reportedly integrating Beats streaming into iOS and iTunes

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Credit: Apple

After Beats was purchased in 2014, and even before then, one main question facing Apple is when the company plans to come out with a streaming music service. According to a new report from ace Apple reporter Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac, the company has been working to integrate Beats Music streaming into iOS, iTunes, and Apple TV, ahead of a launch that was planned for March, but now looks more likely to be June.

According to Gurman, Apple has decided to largely ditch the existing Beats Music brand on iPhone and iPad, instead choosing to integrate streaming features into the pre-installed Music app, which plays locally stored music and is still surprisingly popular.

One key feature for the service sounds a lot like an expansion of iTunes Match: Users will be able to upload current Beats or iTunes music libraries with the new service, which will merge those songs with iTunes in the Cloud, and users will be able to choose specific tracks or artists to download onto their iPhone or iPad’s local storage.

Although the new apps will reportedly ditch the black-and-red Beats color scheme, Apple appears poised to continue the Beats focus on human-curated playlists. Gurman also indicated that Apple may continue to try to build a music-focused social network in the Music app — remember that Apple tried and failed to do that before, with its Ping service.

Another surprise: Apple could be building a Beats Music app for Android in-house. There’s an existing Beats Music Android app, but Gurman reported that “Apple engineers are currently working on an Android app for the new Apple-branded service.” Apparently, there’s been a bit of discord stemming from the integration of Beats engineers and Apple engineers and Beats integration has been “not going so well.”

9to5Mac said a source warned them that there could be several employee departures from Apple’s services division in the near future. Remember that Apple’s core cloud infrastructure experts are distributed among teams, rather than in a single division, and pre-installing and promoting a streaming music service on up to 74.5 million iPhones a quarter would appear to require strong cloud infrastructure on the server side.

Apple has a long history in digital music going back to the introduction of iTunes. While only Apple’s board knows if Apple spent $3.2 billion on Beats for its profitable headphones business or its nascent music streaming service, this report appears to indicate that much of the software developed by Beats while it was independent has been ditched for code written by Apple. Beats headphones fit in very well with Apple’s main product lines — they’re complimentary high-margin luxury goods, whereas the Beats Music service might not have anything that Apple couldn’t have done itself, except for playlists curated by Dr. Dre’s friends.

As for pricing the service, Gurman’s report is less certain, but believes that the service could cost $7.99 a month, which would undercut the $9.99 price charge by Spotify, Google Play Music, and Rdio.

 

 

4 Comments

Will Buckley

“Their solution may be in building a music streaming service rooted in discovery that transitions the listener to iTunes and creates an opportunity to sell more music to those who prefer to own it, not borrow it. And don’t underestimate Mr. Iovine’s value in putting together exclusive release deals with top artists. He’s not just connected, he has iTunes as part of the deal and in today’s marketplace, even the biggest artists are looking for ways to sell more music.

Mr. Iovine understands that most people who listen to music don’t want to search for it. They want it simple and they want a human connection with the music they hear. As a music guy, he knows that It takes people who love music, and know music, to create great playlists, not the computer generated playlists that Pandora, Spotify and others use.

“You need curation, not give me your credit card here’s 20 million songs. Of course you have to have the right curated playlists. Without it you don’t have the emotion.”

Since those revelations back in May, Apple has been actively evaluating their options and making changes. Quietly eliminating Apps from their App Store that enabled users to download music, movies and e-books from sites like YouTube and even ending their relationship with Google’s YouTube. All moves designed to support the legitimate sale of recorded music.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-buckley-jr/can-apple-save-the-music-_b_5769630.html

Brian

More likely, Apple will release iTunes for Android. They would literally take all the wind out of the Google whatever (no one uses it) music “service.” (On Google’s service they are most likely selling your info to advertisers (All their other products do this, but none of Apple’s do.)

Sockbert

Hopefully this will encourage Google to lower the monthly fee for Google Play Music All Access, and perhaps give it a shorter, more marketable name.

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