Beats Music is in an interesting spot as a new service, mainly because we don’t know when (or if) it will be swallowed by Apple.
After it was revealed last week that Apple plans to buy Beats for billions, the company’s fledgling music subscription service has received a new level of attention. But that doesn’t mean its growth has been healthy.
According to a leaked royalties report, Beats Music only had around 111,000 subscribers as of last month.
Those are incredibly low numbers for a startup with a lot of funding, aggressive advertising, and a juicy promotion in place with AT&T. But to Apple, stagnant growth isn’t an issue. It’s about what Beats Music can do for iTunes.
If Apple wanted a leading music streaming service, why not buy Spotify with its 24 million+ users? With 800 million iTunes accounts on file, Apple doesn’t need to care about bringing another service’s users over.
As I explained yesterday, Beats has plenty of valuable assets that Apple can use across its product line. When it comes to music, Beats has created a team of industry veterans under the leadership of music mogul Jimmy Iovine.
Check out this interview from a few months ago with Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers:
He talks a lot about the startup’s talent and focus on music curation, something Apple has shown great interest in recently with iTunes Radio. After watching the interview, it’s clear that Rogers and Beats share very similar values with Apple. They don’t really care about having the most tracks available, but the best content and curation. Apple has the tracks, and it needs fresh ideas.
Beats Music is small and nimble enough to be molded into whatever Apple needs it to be. Tim Cook and co. have to see the potential, not the numbers on paper now.
Apple wasn’t the first to make a smartphone or tablet, and it certainly won’t be the first to do music streaming. But with Beats Music, Apple could have the chance to finally do it right.