Apple is looking to shut down its Beats Music streaming service, according to a new report from TechCrunch. Citing “several prominent employees” at both companies, the outlet says that many Beats engineers have already been pulled off the product, and moved on to other projects.
If true, such a move would be interesting considering the public praise Apple and its execs—namely Tim Cook and Eddy Cue—have given the service. It also recently added Beats Music to the ‘Apps by Apple’ section in the App Store, and launched a new Beats Music channel on Apple TV.
This being said, there have been a few red flags that Apple has been looking to sunset the Beats Music brand. For instance, TechCrunch points out that the app does not come pre-installed on the new iPhones or iOS 8. And Apple Watch marketing materials don’t show a Beats Music icon.
Given Apple’s well-known disdain for fragmentation, it seems very possible that it’s shutting down Beats Music only to re-introduce the service under its iTunes umbrella. I suppose they could just scrub the product altogether, but the streaming music space is too big for Apple to ignore.
Apple announced in May that they would be buying Beats Electronics for $3 billion—a deal which officially closed in August. Several reasons have been given for the acquisition, which is the largest in company history, including talent, growing headphone business, and Beats Music.
Update: Recode’s Peter Kafka has more on the story:
So why would Apple plan to shut down Beats Music, as a TechCrunch headline reports? Answer: It’s not. Tom Neumayr, says the TechCrunch story is “not true”, but wouldn’t elaborate. I can elaborate a bit more, based on conversations with people familiar with Apple’s thinking: Apple won’t shutter the streaming service. It may, however, modify it over time, and one of those changes could involved changing the Beats Music brand.
Update 2: Recode has received word from Apple that the Beats Music brand may in fact be going away, but that it definitely wants to stay in streaming music.