If Apple does indeed reach a deal to acquire Beats Electronics and announce it this week as expected, the clock is once again counting down to offer up your take on the whole scenario before it’s actually official. Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson got that opportunity earlier this week thanks in part to Dan Lyons of Fake Steve Jobs fame; Isaacson told Lyons he believes the expected $3.2 billion acquisition by Apple is all about creating a world class video service led by Beats’ co-founder Jimmy Iovine.

But when you think about Beats and what the company has to offer for Apple, the subscription music service launched by the company in January earlier this year comes to mind. Spotify, of course, dominates in this space as seen by the company’s announcement today that they now have 10 million paid subscribers and 40 million active users.

That severely dominates Beats Music which is believed to half less than a quarter of a million subscribers (although Spotify is about 6 years more mature than the Beats Music service).

Billboard today interviewed Daniel Ek, Spotify’s CEO and co-founder, and asked specifically about the expected Apple acquisition of Beats Electronics. When asked what the deal means for Spotify, Ek declined to offer much take considering the deal has yet to actually be announced by either party:

There has been a lot of people speculating on the news and what it means. I don’t know. I don’t like speculating about things that haven’t happened.

Ek did comment, though, when asked if Apple buying a streaming service would mean more people would support music subscriptions than before or if it would mean the two companies would just be more competitive for the same customers.

The one thing I can say – we know streaming is the better model in music and we’ve said that for over 5 years — when everyone else said it wasn’t the case. I’ve always assumed Apple would offer a streaming service at some point – but we’re focusing on building the best possible product and feel pretty good about that.

Ek went on to point out that Spotify is a single product focused on its music subscription service and expressed his view that people distinguish that between products that are bundled in with something else. Ek doesn’t come right out and say it, but it’s possible he’s referencing Apple’s iTunes Radio service which comes pre-installed with iOS 7 and iTunes 11.

Users know the difference between something that really is the best product and not something that’s just bundled in – and 10 million subs is a good indication of that. We’re not fighting over market share here. The music industry is still smaller than it should be. And in the UK, we’re seeing that streaming (and we) are already growing the overall pie.

Regardless of what plays out this week or thereafter regarding the expected Beats acquisition by Apple, the company that once dominated in the digital music space with iTunes is reportedly interested in owning its own on-demand music streaming service, á lá Spotify, though Beats Music could certainly play an interesting role in that venture.

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16 Responses to “Spotify CEO: I’ve always assumed Apple would offer a streaming service”

  1. fredhstein says:

    800 milion iTunes account.


  2. Spotify may are may not be marginally better right now. Their interface has gotten considerably worse this year to the point I’m dissatisfied and on the verge of leaving if my hack to keep the old app ever breaks. They are leaving (and even creating) a big gap for someone to come in and do better by their boneheaded interface decisions.


    • I LOVE the new app’s design. It’s one of the main reasons I came back to Spotify after being an Rdio subscriber for about a year.

      I had Beats for a few weeks but The Sentence feature was pretty weak and for some reason it didn’t play at the same volume when passing through a 4G connection. Sounded great on LTE and wifi but always seemed to drop several levels on 4G.


    • I agree with Mark. I like the interface much better now than the older version. Obviously, UI and UX are someone subjective (particularly when we begin to talk aesthetics), but I believe that it is inaccurate (and even ignorant) to say that they are leaving/creating a big gap for competitors due to the adoption of modern design principles. This is supported by their incredible growth and user base.


      • lagax says:

        But ‘modern’ nowerdays means clear and white is clear, black is the opposite. That’s why Apple is now also promoting white/gold products much more than black ones.

        Black is unclear and unmodern.


      • Sorry to disagree with you lagax, but I am a web designer and designing with current design trends does not mean using clear and/or white. By the way, white is not clear. White and clear are completely opposite of each other, as white is the presence of all colors. Regardless, predominately using white in a UI is minimalism, which is just one version of modern design. Modern design is also leaning toward flat ui accented with translucencies and blurs. This is exactly what Spotify has done. Additionally, Apple has been leaning away from white and transparencies lately in their designs. You can look at the current Apple website homepage. It’s very colorful and has very little white on it. Additionally, check out some of their other pages, like the Mac Pro pages. Apple uses a predominately black interface on that portion of the site. It is okay to disagree with the design choice of the App maker, but speaking on design principles that you don’t understand does nothing to further your argument. =)


  3. John Cox says:

    Maybe I am missing something, but I was under the impression iRadio was a streaming program from Apple that allows you to listen to music? I know it is not being used by a lot of people, but my whole family uses it and we love it. Am I wrong?


    • You aren’t wrong, iTunes Radio is a streaming offering from Apple. What Ek was refereeing to was that it’s a service built-in to iTunes – it isn’t a differentiated, focused product offering, just “something else iTunes does”.

      I use it too, and while it isn’t as feature complete as competing services and doesn’t do anything for music discovery the way others do, it is a fairly solid product for casual use.

      If Apple is in fact buying Beats, it is probably to beef up the music recommendation and discovery services of iTunes radio which Beats does rather well. Their logic and Apple’s catalog should make for a compelling offering, especially if they spin it off into it’s own app (that will almost certainly happen) so that it’s more discoverable.


      • lagax says:

        Actually the point here is that an ‘on-demand’ streaming service is what apple wants. Not some random radio stations. Most people still listen to music they use theirselves, not what the computer said. That makes it different from Spotify, makes it rather Pandora like. Also, if you really see this: ‘hear what you want’ vs. ‘hear what the computer gives you’ it’s totally different models.


    • iRadio is just a custom radio station, like Pandora. You can’t stream entire albums or create playlists like on Spotify and Beats Music.


  4. If Apple bought Beats for streaming, I must say thats stupid. Rdio would have been cheaper, and more inline with Apple’s philosophy. You can see some of Rdio’s design in iOS 7 with the blur effects and simplicity.