As Apple gears up to launch not only a new version of iOS later this year, but also a new version of OS X, plenty of other news continues to get attention, including the company’s impending acquisition of Beats Electronics. The CEO of Spotify has provided his two cents on Apple’s outline for the future, and makes some very valid points along the way.
Long before Apple confirmed their plans to acquire Beats, and even before Beats ever launched their own music streaming service, Beats Music, there was talk that Apple was going to upend the music industry by launching their own music streaming service, and go up against companies like Spotify and Rdio with their own creation. Eventually, we got iTunes Radio instead, but the rumors didn’t die. Of course, they’re half right, with Beats Music eventually becoming part of the Apple ecosystem. But, in one person’s opinion, it’s not all about the music streaming service, or even just the Beats-branded headphones.
In an interview at the Brainstorm Tech conference, hosted by Fortune, which took place between July 14 and July 16, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek provided some of his own insight into what he believes Apple’s moves suggest for the company, and how it’s not all about the music streaming service at all. Instead, Ek believes that Apple is moving towards completely becoming a lifestyle company in every vertical, as he told Fortune‘s Jessi Hempel:
“My belief, rightly or wrongly, is I think Apple is becoming more and more of a lifestyle company, and they’re thinking a lot more about how they can become a lifestyle company.“
Ek also points out Apple’s recent hirings, identifying many of the new faces to the Cupertino-based headquarters as being related in some way or another to the fashion industry. Many of them, in fact, are, including Angela Ahrendts, who was the former CEO of Burberry, and Patrick Pruniaux, a new addition brought over from TAG Heuer.
“So if you look at some of the executives that they’ve hired, pretty much all of them come out of the fashion… I can’t think of a consumer electronics company that’s more associated to lifestyle and fashion than Beats.“
In fact, Ek quite frequently turns to the lifestyle angle, and generally downplaying any idea that Apple is entirely focused on the music streaming service from Beats Music:
“My perception is although they like the streaming part, I don’t think that was primarily it.“
He would go on to add that he believes it had more to do with “Jimmy and Dre,” and that it had more to do with “Apple wanting to associate itself more to a lifestyle business.” When he started talking about Beats Music directly, he identified a simple truth: It is a new service, without a ton of subscribers. (In comparison, Spotify currently holds 40 million active users, with 10 million of them paid subscribers.)
“Being a technologist, I can tell you that the algorithm itself is not the magic sauce. It’s the data, the underlying data, and Beats had just started so they didn’t have a lot of users. There weren’t a big user base and an algorithm or data set for them to acquire and Apple has 800 million customers themselves so it’s certainly not what they’re looking for.“
Apple has indeed been hiring quite a bit of folks out of the technology industry to bring into the fold, and many believe that many of those individuals are meant to bring the iWatch to market, and sell it to the masses. Indeed, quite a few of the new hires have had some kind of spin towards that particular, unannounced wearable, but obviously Apple doesn’t have such narrow vision for many of these people. Injecting new blood like this, especially at such a high level, means that conversations are happening to talk about the future, and where Apple exists there. They want a big role, so becoming a lifestyle company, including our smartphones, computers, smartwatches, headphones, and all the way into our smart homes, makes perfect sense.
What do you think? Is Apple moving to become a lifestyle company? Should they? You can check out the full video below.