According to Billboard, Apple's upcoming streaming service – the next evolution of Beats Music – could see a "possible" launch sometime in the spring, but is "certain" to reach consumers by summer. 9to5Mac reported on the revamped Beats-based service last week, putting forward iOS 8.4 as the update that could potentially put the on-demand, premium service into the hands of millions of iPhone users without making them download a standalone app. Apple is expected to integrate Beats' features, curated playlists, and social/sharing functionality directly into the Music app, though 9to5Mac also suggested that development of Apple's new premium music service hasn't been going so smoothly, with one source calling the situation "a mess."
Spotify isn't waiting around for Beats Music 2.0
Meanwhile, Spotify hasn't slowed down. The company's user growth remains solid and it's kept iterating on the listening experience with redesigned mobile apps, improved sharing, and most recently, a clever and instant way of previewing songs. As Apple works to get its latest try at streaming music out the door, Spotify is headed towards an IPO. But the breadth of Apple's reach — and all those credit cards already tied to iTunes — can't be overstated. Tim Cook is no doubt eager to nail the formula after mixed, unspectacular results that Apple has seen with iTunes Radio, iTunes Match, and Beats Music.
Billboard's report also hints that Apple shares a goal with Beats Music; kicking "spam" tracks out of its ecosystem. Ian Rogers, who was Beats Music's CEO before it was purchased by Apple, told The Verge last year that the company was making a concerted effort to expunge the karaoke versions, re-recorded tracks, and deceptive covers that can clog up music services and make finding the song you really want to hear a chore. Billboard says that a "major scrub" of iTunes could be on the way, though Apple sources reportedly told the publication that occasional trimmings of the content catalog are nothing new.