News of the potential shutdown was first reported by TechCrunch earlier today. The publication said they had it on good authority – five different sources including Apple and Beats employees – that Apple has already reassigned multiple Beats Music engineers to other projects within the company including iTunes. None of the sources were able to provide an exact date for the closure but all agreed that it is indeed going to happen.
Such a move wouldn’t be terribly surprising when you think about it. Apple already operates its own music streaming service, iTunes Radio. Having two competing services on the market doesn't seem like Apple's style as they have never been big on fragmentation.
What’s more, Beats Music chief Ian Rogers was recently put in charge of running iTunes Radio. Splitting his time between the two services could easily have been seen as a transition to running iTunes Radio full-time.
In a follow-up with Re/code, Apple said that the Beats brand may go away but they want to stay in the streaming music business.
Getting rid of the Beats brand, at least in terms of streaming music, does make some sense, especially when you consider the driving motivator behind the acquisition was likely to bring Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre on board to tap into their music industry expertise. Picking up the lucrative headphone business like didn't hurt, either.
Perhaps iTunes Radio and Beats Music will simply merge into one?