Many people have tried to explain why Apple needed Beats, speculating that the Beats Music subscription is the most relevant Beats business to Apple; that Apple is interested in Beats hardware; that Apple needs the Dre-Iovine duo for future music deals, or a combination of these factors. Apple said that it wants Beats both for its hardware and software businesses, giving both Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine position within the company. But it was iTunes management’s arrogance and ignorance that forced Apple to spend $3 billion on the company, BuzzFeed has learned from sources familiar with Apple’s iTunes business.
Some current and past Apple employees familiar with the iTunes business revealed that Apple engineers involved in iTunes Radio development were using competing services including Pandora and Spotify privately. “Everyone’s excuse was it’s because we work on iTunes, running and closing the app after every code change,” a source said. “But it’s really because Spotify has all the free music with a real social platform.”
“Pandora is an awesome radio that blows iTunes Radio out of the water. Seriously, iTunes Radio sucks and it sucks because of Apple’s arrogance,” a former employee said. “I was floored by the decision-making skills by management over and over again.”
Furthermore, sources added that iTunes management as recently as last year was oblivious to what Spotify is, and how it works, thinking that an iTunes Radio product will be enough to kill Spotify radio. Similarly, Apple apparently believed Pandora was doomed, because of its lack of revenue.
“The management in particular were pretty much tone-deaf in what Spotify was and that’s why they’re panicking now,” a source said. “They didn’t understand how Spotify worked, which is why they thought iTunes Radio would be a Spotify killer.”
A former employee also added that Apple needs Beats to regain the attention of the younger generation, which is supposedly critical for Apple. “They’re having trouble capturing the younger generation,” a former Apple employee said. “The Apple coolness is kind of fading away.”
Meanwhile, Beats has already started working for Apple. Iovine appeared together with Apple’s Eddy Cue at Re/code’s Code Conference last week, while Dr. Dre was included in Apple’s WWDC 2014 event. Finally, the iPhone 5s was given prominent placement in a brand new World Cup-related Beats commercial featuring many football and non-football stars.