Jay Z is readying his Beats Music rival Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Dr. Dre became the first billionaire of hip-hop thanks to Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats Music and its accompanying over-priced headphone brand. Jay Z is pretty much the only big name rapper that hasn’t imitated Dre by slapped his name on headphones. Instead, he’s decided to do the next best thing and buy a high-def music startup.
Jay Z purchased the Scandinavian music streaming company Aspiro today, adding to his array of businesses that include clothing, sports bars, and a sports agency. The takeover cost Jay Z $56 million in an effort to take on the likes of Spotify, Beats Music, and the fiery music titan Neil Young.
Today another piece of the puzzle may have fallen into place, however, with the news that Apple has acquired U.K. startup Semetric, which runs the Musicmetric analytics tool, designed to allow music labels to track sales, BitTorrent, YouTube, Spotify and social-networking data for their artists.
The recent publishing of a patent for an iOS stylus — an accessory Jobs was vocal about opposing — got us thinking about other aspects of Apple, circa 2015, that likely would have rubbed the company’s late CEO the wrong way.
Could more exclusives be in iTunes’ future? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine is in fresh talks with the world’s top musicians, in hopes of landing more exclusive album deals for iTunes, reports The New York Post.
Apple is looking to replicate the success Beyonce had with her exclusive iTunes album in December 2013, by signing other hot artists to drop their albums early on Beats Music and iTunes. But according to industry sources, the idea of artists making side deals with streaming services is not going over well with record label executives.
Is there room for Bose now that Apple has Beats? Photo: Beats
The battle for your eardrums is about to heat up in 2015, as a new report suggests Bose is planning to take on Beats with its own music streaming service next year.
Bose is quickly trying to transition into a media company, according to Hypebot which reports the company is readying its own “next generation streaming music platform” to take on Apple, Pandora, and Spotify. Details of Bose’s music streamer have been kept secret, but it isn’t being shy about its ambitions to poach some of Apple’s top designers.
We get slammed 24/7 with new Apple rumors. Some are accurate, most are not. To give you a clue about what’s really coming out of Cupertino in the future, we’re busting out our rumor debunker each week to blow up the nonsense.
This week we’ve heard rumors that Apple could be readying the biggest iPhone camera upgrade ever with DSLR-quality photos. There’s also whispers that your next iMac could double as a smoke alarm, and other juicy bits. But you’ll have to step up to our crystal ball to find out if they’re likely to come true.
The Verdict: Most likely. Apple's been trying to reduce its dependency on Samsung components and manufacturing for years, but the problem is there's just not another company that can compete with Samsung's chipmaking biz. TSMC tried but they're still not able to handle as much of the load as Apple would like, so Apple's stuck with Samsung, for better or worse.
The Rumor: Apple is going to let third-parties use its Lightning port on accessories.
The Verdict: Probably. Apple's proprietary Lightning port is so much easier to use than Micro-USB and other options, that it'd be a shame if Apple limited it to just iPhones. 9to5Mac reports that third-party accessory makers should be getting access soon. Expect to see a slew of Lightning port headphones and other goodies early next year.
The Verdict: Probably true, but we wish it weren't. My iPhone already has 23 pre-installed Apple apps that I wish I could delete. Adding a mandatory Beats Music app to the mix just weighs it down even more. Someone needs to tell Tim Cook that bloatware died last decade.
First U2, and now this? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
You’ll soon have Beats Music on your iOS device whether you want it or not.
Apple is planning to bake the streaming music service into iOS in early 2015, according to The Financial Times. The integration could happen “as early as March,” which would line up with the possibility of a media event to announce the rumored iPad Pro.
Downloads are dead, long live music streams. Photo: Kobalt/TechCrunch
If you’re searching for further evidence that music streaming is overtaking downloads, look no further than a new report claiming that over the last quarter European revenue from Spotify streams were 13% higher than revenues from iTunes downloads.
The report comes from Kobalt, a company that helps collect music royalties on behalf of thousands of big-name artist. Currently it only collects earnings from Spotify streams in Europe — which means it’s unknown if similar figures are true in the U.S.
This time last year, iTunes’ earnings were 32% higher than that of Spotify in Europe, although streaming revenues have tripled over the past two years.
Beats is providing free music on all Southwest Airlines flights Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr
Southwest Airlines can’t guarantee you’ll get the seat you want on your next flight, but starting this week you’ll be slightly more entertained wherever you end up, as the airline is introducing free Beats Music streaming on flights.
Beginning today, Southwest will provide all WiFi-enabled aircraft with a custom curated Beats Music experience that’s free for all flyers.
Beats Music may have Apple’s support behind it, but it’s still got a long way to go before it tops the crowded online marketplace.
According to new figures from app analytics firm App Annie, Beats is currently trailing industry leaders Pandora and Spotify. In September, both of those services racked up more downloads and earned more revenue than Beats, across both the App Store and Google Play.
Beats was the ninth most downloaded music app in September, with once again Pandora and Spotify taking the lead — but also the likes of Shazam, SoundCloud and even Apple’s own GarageBand receiving more downloads.