Apple shook things up in the music world earlier this year when they purchased Beats for a reported sum of $3 billion. While the deal had several benefits for Apple as far as hardware goes (no more tinny-sounding iPod earbuds!), the company was unclear about its fans for Beats Music, the streaming service set up to be a direct competitor to Spotify. Now, in the face of declining download sales and the relative failure of iTunes Radio, Apple has announced that they will be incorporating Beats Music into a new version of iTunes set to relaunch next year.
Apple has been surprisingly slow to get into the streaming music game, having launched iTunes Radio in 2013 after Spotify, Pandora, and several other programs had already gotten a foothold. iTunes Radio bore more similarities to Pandora than anything else, as both used an algorithm to tailor a streaming station to the listener’s preferences. However, as Spotify’s model of allowing listeners to stream full albums and curate their own playlists has grown more popular, Apple has yet to really come up with a response.
It seems as though Apple may be motivated by desperation, though. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple saw a 13% drop in download sales this year, a much sharper drop than last year’s 2.1% downward trend. A streaming service may not solve the problem of whether or not people will buy music again, but it may save Apple in the long run.