Apple taps Beats Music CEO as iTunes Radio's band leader

Subscription-streaming service Beats Music and iTunes will continue to stand on their own -- for now -- even as Ian Rogers, the CEO of the Beats Music, takes the the helm of iTunes Radio.

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Beats By Dre/Twitter screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

As Apple closed its $3 billion takeover of Beats Electronics Friday, it installed the head of subscription service Beats Music as the leader of its own streaming product iTunes Radio. But Beats Music will keep its own identity for now.

Beats Music Chief Executive Ian C. Rogers is becoming the head of iTunes Radio, Apple's Pandora-like streaming music service, and will report to the head of iTunes, who in turn reports to Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, according to a source familiar with the matter. That doesn't mean Beats Music will be absorbed by the iTunes brand necessarily: though the two will pool expertise and resources, they'll remain as two separate services for now, this person said.

Apple also has eliminated about 200 of Beats' 700 full-time positions, a person familiar with the matter said. The cuts largely come from human resources, finance, and other positions that overlap with current Apple workers, the person said. The people in eliminated positions have time to find other jobs within Apple, and some been given support for up to a year to find other jobs.

Rogers' appointment was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal, while reports that Beats could be eliminating about 200 jobs as part of the transition surfaced earlier this week.

Apple launched iTunes Radio with fanfare in September as its arrival to the streaming-music scene. Streaming music, while still a small part of the bigger recorded music industry, is growing rapidly. Global revenue from subscription and streaming services was up 51 percent to top $1 billion for the first time last year.

Though iTunes Radio notched 20 million users listening in to a billion songs in its first five weeks, the service has dropped off the radar since. Its prime competitor, Pandora, didn't see much difference in its audience growth in the months after Apple rolled out iTunes Radio. Other streaming services have also made splashy entrances to divert attention away, like Amazon Prime Music in June and, of course, Beats Music in January.

The addition of Beats Music to the Apple family was an about face for a company that for years dismissed a subscription model of payment for entertainment. Beat Musics provides all-you-can-eat access to a catalog of 20 million songs for about $10 a month.

In a statement, Apple said Friday that the company is excited to have the Beats team join and that it has extended job offers to every Beats employee. "Because of some overlap in our operations, some offers are for a limited period and we'll work hard during this time to find as many of these Beats employees as we can another permanent job within Apple," the company said.

 

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