According to a variety of reports, Apple is planning to integrate Beats Music into iOS for a relaunch in March. That means anyone who gets the update–and there are hundreds of millions of iOS devices–will instantly have access to a streaming music service. (Well, potentially, anyway. There’s still the not-insignificant issue of music licensing in various territories around the world. I wouldn’t expect us Canadians to be part of the rollout.)
This should exert tremendous pressure on other streamers–Rdio, Spotify, Google Play Music, and so on–but only IF Apple does it right. After all, iTunes Radio hasn’t really caught on, has it? Then again, this could provide a much-needed boost to iTunes with touch-to-buy capabilities.
Mark Mulligan of Music Industry Blog has these observations.
The Financial Times yesterday reported that Apple is planning on integrating Beats Music into an iOS update as early as the first quarter of 2015. Which means the entire base of Apple’s 500 odd million iOS devices suddenly become Apple’s acquisition funnel. As I wrote back in May, this was always the strategy Apple was most likely to pursue. Of course being available to 500 iTunes customers is not anything like converting them all. Just ask U2. But it does give Beats Music – if Apple keep the name – a reach like no other subscriptions service on the planet. Especially if Apple is willing to roll out free trials to them all. Currently just 8% of consumers in the US and UK have experienced a subscription trial, which translates into approximately 30 million people. Even if Apple does not quickly succeed in taking subscriptions to the mainstream it is about to take subscription trials to the mainstream, which is the crucial first step.