Apple looks as if it’s gearing up to put Beats Music to work, pushing it to hundreds of millions of iOS devices in a bid to make some headway in the streaming music market and curb the growth of competitors such as Spotify.
People familiar with Apple’s plans told the Financial Times Beats Music could land on Apple’s smartphones and tablets as early as March as part of an update to its mobile OS.
Apple acquired the on-demand music streaming service earlier this year when it put down $3 billion for Beats Electronics. Since then, however, subscription-based Beats Music has had little luck expanding its user base, with industry estimates suggesting it currently has a paltry 110,000 paying subscribers.
Spotify, in contrast, has 50 million active users – 12.5 million of whom pay for the service. And with more people turning to streaming services and away from digital downloads from stores like iTunes, you can see why Apple looks set to finally get moving with Beats Music.
Putting Beats Radio on iOS will form part of what the FT describes as a “three-pronged music strategy” for Apple, putting it alongside iTunes Radio – Apple’s music-discovery streaming service which launched last year – and digital downloads via its iTunes store.
Backing up a report from last month, the FT’s source says Beats Music will relaunch under the iTunes banner and continue to operate as a paid-only offering.
While pushing the Beats Music app to iOS devices will by no means ensure a sudden boost in subscriber numbers, having it present on iPhones and iPads will certainly give any accompanying marketing campaign a greater chance of hitting home. It’s also suggested that such a campaign could tie in with the launch of Apple’s smartwatch, which has the ability to play audio tracks without the need for an iPhone.
The news that Apple is planning a massive roll out for Beats Music comes just days after YouTube ruffled up the music streaming space with Music Key, an $8-a-month service offering ad-free music videos, offline playback and, notably, access to Google Play Music’s library of 30 million tracks.