Apple plans to relaunch Beats Music as part of iTunes next year, integrating the recently purchased streaming service into its hugely popular music store, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Journal notes that it's only heard this information from a single source, but Apple bringing Beats Music into iTunes has always seemed like a fairly obvious route for this acquisition to go — it seemed more like a question of when it will happen than if it will happen. It's not known what the integration will look like, but Apple CEO Tim Cook has frequently espoused the benefits of Beats' hand-curated playlists, so it's likely that the service's general format won't be going away.
Music sales reportedly fell at least 13 percent this year
News of the coming integration follows earlier reports that the Beats Music brand may disappear in favor of iTunes. TechCrunch also reported that a major music announcement could come in the first half of 2015.
Apple's work with Beats comes as digital music purchases begin to decline. Last year marked the first time that sales in the iTunes store dropped — with subscription services pinned as the culprit — and this year things are said to be looking even worse. The Journal reports that digital music sales in the iTunes store have fallen between 13 to 14 percent this year, compared to a single digit decline last year. Even so, that isn't necessarily reason for Apple to panic: overall revenue from sales of music, apps, ebooks, and other digital services was up quite a bit this quarter, and even then, it still represents only a sliver of Apple's business.