Apple may be concocting a bigger presence for Beats Music, according to reports like this one from The New York Times’s Brian X. Chen and Ben Sisario:
Apple plans to include its Beats music service in future versions of iOS, its mobile software system for iPhones and iPads, according to people briefed on the plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plans were not yet official.
This makes sense—from a business perspective, anyway. When you lay out $3 billion for an investment like Beats, which has a vastly lower subscription base than major competitors like Spotify, you’re going to drive it home with the biggest hammer you have at your disposal. And putting it on every iOS device is an instant installed base in the tens of millions.
Still, as many have pointed out, this is making the rounds just a couple months after Apple took serious flack for force-feeding everyone a U2 album. You’d think Apple would want to consider very carefully before retreading that same path—especially for a service that users are presumably going to have to pay for.
(Hell, I’ve got more than a few friends who are super angry that they can’t get rid of stock apps like, well, Stocks. And Notes. And Newsstand. So, more apps people can’t delete for services that they’ll probably never use is bound to go over like a lead balloon for more than a few folks.)
Admittedly, it’s still early days in the Apple-Beats relationship, so we obviously haven’t seen the fully armed and operational implementation of Apple’s plans. Cupertino needs to figure out exactly what it wants out of Beats and how that meshes with its existing offerings, like the iTunes Store, iTunes Radio, and iTunes Match. That’s a continuum of different music options, but right now the uneven pricing and branding makes it hard to figure out which is the right one to pick. (My bet on the latter? “iTunes Beats” has a certain ring to it.)