Roughly 100 days after Beats Music’s entry into the cutthroat music-streaming business, the service seems to be grappling with a lagging number of subscribers in the “low six figures,” according to a report by Billboard earlier this week. With Sprint nearing its debut of the “Framily” plan – the package deal resulting from a collaboration with Spotify – increased competition is on the horizon. Is it too late for Beats’ Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre to bolster the service in time to remain relevant in the music-streaming game? Its investors appear to still be on board for the long haul, but the numbers don’t paint a pretty picture.
Nearly two months ago Beats Music was able to shore up $100 million in funding aimed at product development, new feature integration, gaining new customers, and new PR moves – all in the name of taking on foes like Spotify. Less than three weeks later, the service was rumored to have snared a fairly low 28,000 subscribers in its debut month, according to “people with knowledge of the situation.” And, most recently, the fledgling music-streamer – hoping to grab more subscribers by making the service available to iOS device users - finally acquiesced and resorted to forfeiting 30 percent of every subscription fee to Apple.
Beats Music’s journey has been an uphill climb, especially considering its massive marketing launch valued in the tens of millions of dollars. Still, it seems to have no shortage of funding. According to The Verge, the company is working on another $100 million cash infusion. And while the service has gained a relatively modest number of paying subscribers since its inception, it’s worth noting that Spotify’s claimed 6 million U.S. subscribers took the company six years to amass. So the problem may not be Beats Music’s viability, but more its timing, entering late in the game into a saturated marketplace.
It’s only been around for three months, but Beats Music has a rough path ahead of it if the service wants to remain relevant and give Spotify, Rdio, TuneIn, iTunes Radio, and others a run for their money.