Rumours started swirling yesterday that Apple might be about to can its recently-acquired Beats Music service, which makes pretty much zero sense considering how much Tim Cook has been raving about it, and how long we’ve been hearing that Apple is looking to move into music streaming - beyond iTunes Radio.
It comes as little surprise, then, to hear an Apple rep quickly dismissing that rumour, though the likelihood is that Beats Music will be rebranded within the next few months.
For what it’s worth, TechCrunch claimed that “five sources, including several prominent employees at Apple and Beats” were yelling about Beats Music being shortly “discontinued”.
And in case there was any doubt, the site added: “every source with knowledge of the situation that we talked to agreed Apple plans to sunset the Beats Music brand.”
Ah, but there’s the key word! Brand. Apple isn’t shutting down the Beats Music service (“not true”, a spokesperson tells re/code in response to the initial report), merely planning – reading between the lines – to rebrand it with a shiny new Apple logo (presumably).
Relaunching Beats Music with “iTunes” in the title would immediately make it infinitely more appealing to, y’know, people who like Apple stuff, and give the service tons more media attention than it receives at present.
Beats Music currently has a relatively modest customer base of a few hundred thousand, unquestionably dwarfed by Spotify, which has over 10 million paid customers - and tens of millions more listening for free.
Despite that gulf in popularity, Tim Cook reckons Beats Music is the “first subscription service that really got it right”, and throwing Apple’s weight behind it, it could become the Next Big Thing. Whatever it’s called.