TechCrunch is reporting that Apple will be shutting down the Beats Music streaming service it purchased in tandem with its namesake headphones manufacturer for $3 billion, a deal announced in May and finalized in early August. TechCrunch cites five sources as confirming the Beats Music shutdown. The Beats Music app has been downloaded 5 million times since the deal’s announcement in May, claiming 250,000 paid subscriptions.
Representatives from Apple said the TechCrunch report was “simply not true.” A Beats representative also denied the story. However, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Billboard that the company “is fully committed to offering a subscription service, though changes to any existing product are always a possiblity.”
Taking this news at face value — that Beats Music is no more — could be misleading. Just last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook praised Beats Music, saying on Charlie Rose that “when I listen to theirs [Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine‘s Beats Music streaming service] for awhile, I feel completely different, and the reason is that they recognized that human curation was important in the subscription service — that the sequencing of songs that you listen to affect how you feel.”
Not to mention that the company acquired the brain of Jimmy Iovine, which many predicted to be one a deciding factor in Apple’s purchase. As well, former Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers has been put in charge of iTunes Radio, the company’s still-burgeoning streaming option for iTunes users.
It’s not as if Apple hasn’t purchased a company before only to shutter it, before unveiling it, phoenix-style, under its own brand’s umbrella. It took Lala and made it into a feature of iTunes. It bought 3D mapping company C3, relaunching it as one aspect of its (much-maligned) Maps app.
So, most likely: RIP Beats Music logo, long live the iTunes Human-Curated Streaming Music Service.