Apple Inc. is acquiring Beats Electronics for $3 billion, culminating a deal that became a persistent rumor three weeks ago.
Congratulations to Apple. If nothing else, this changes the perception among investors that Apple is not willing to pull the trigger on expensive acquistions. It's clear to me that Apple will, if it feels there is a strategic fit.
What I am most interested in is the emphasis that Beats has put on curated music in its Beats Music service. According to the Bloomberg report:
Beats introduced its music-subscription service earlier this year. Like Spotify and other rivals, the company offers unlimited access to millions of songs in exchange for a monthly fee. Beats hired music critics, radio DJs and record-label veterans to help create playlists and other curation tools to help customers navigate the overwhelming amount of music available -- a component Iovine said was missing from the experience.
"It needs feel. It needs culture," Iovine said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek in 2012. "What Apple has in the downloading world is very, very good. But subscription has an enormous hole in it, and it's not satisfying right now."
What I've wondered since I started hearing more about Beats is how its playlists and other curation tools in Beats Music differ from the curation I hear every day from professional DJs as a Sirius XM satellite radio subscriber? Are they saying that listening to playlists on Beats Music or to stations on Apple's iTunes Radio is more active than my channel selection on Sirius XM?
I'm really looking forward to seeing how this plays out, and how competitors like Google and Microsoft react.