2:26pm PT by Andrew Flanagan, Billboard
Apple's Beats Music Relaunch Reportedly Coming in March
Unsurprisingly, word has leaked that Apple plans to bundle a potentially rebranded version of the Beats Music streaming app with an upcoming version of iOS. The news was first reported by the Financial Times.
The bundling is expected as early as March 2015 — little more than a year after the service first launched — according to unnamed sources contacted by the Financial Times. The news isn't surprising to industry forecasters, or those who have been following the story since Beats was acquired by Apple in May. It was largely expected that Apple would, as it was with many of its native applications (remember Mapsgate?), at some point force users to keep the Beats Music app on their devices.
Beats Music accounts for a very small percentage of paid streaming subscribers. While early pickup was "disappointing," the low numbers are also the result of little promotion following Apple's acquisition. Again, unsurprising considering the company can install the app on over 800 million iOS devices at will. Getting people to pay for it may not be so easy, but, as a wise man once said, "knowing is half the battle."
There's no word on whether Apple plans to keep Beats Music a paid-only service, or whether it will switch to the 'freemium' model currently used by Spotify and YouTube Music.
An Apple spokesperson refused to comment to Billboard on the report.
This article first appeared on Billboard.com.