TechCrunch reports that Apple plans to shut down Beats Music, the streaming music service that it acquired earlier this year. The blog's Josh Constine says that he's confirmed the news with five sources at both Apple and Beats. And to be honest, it makes sense.
(Update: Apple told Re/Code that the TechCrunch story is "not true" but did not deny that the company could fold Beats Music into iTunes.)
It seems very unlikely that Apple is going to abandon streaming music altogether. If true, news that Beats Music is dying reads as a clear indication that Apple is going to create its own streaming service or simply expand iTunes Radio. Constine agrees:
Considering Apple's penchant for simple, unified brands, and how it despises fragmentation, shutting down Beats Music makes a lot of sense. Running a second music service in parallel with iTunes that forces people to learn a whole new interface might have confused customers. Beats Music's CEO Ian Rogers was also put in charge of iTunes Radio, meaning he's already splitting his time rather than just focusing on Beats Music.
Based on images of the home screen, Constine adds, it looks like Apple's readying a new music app just for the new Apple Watch. People thought the company's music app for wearables would be Beats Music. And maybe it sort of is on the back end! It just won't be called Beats Music.
After the news broke, Apple's Tom Neumayr told Re/Code's Peter Kafka that the TechCrunch story was "not true." Kafka, however, elaborates that Apple "may, however, modify it over time, and one of those changes could involved changing the Beats Music brand." That does not rule out the idea that Beats Music could be rolled into iTunes, which is what many analysts have thought would happen since the acquisition. Regardless, it seems like something is up. We'll have to wait and see exactly what that something is. [TechCrunch, Re/Code]