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Apple reportedly planning to force rebranded Beats Music on all iPhones

The Financial Times released a report today, it suggested that Apple intends to have Beats Music make the leap from an optional App Store download to a pre-installed, permanent part of iOS.

It could happen as early as March, although I doubt that it will carry the “Beats Music” branding. Rather I’d expect the music streaming service to be rebranded in line with other apple products iStream maybe, or in line with iTunes music for purchase and iTunes Radio stations.

Currently iTunes has something like 200 million users, whereas Beats Music is estimated to have just 110,000 paying subscribers not a huge amount especially considering what apple paid for it. Beat music is(was) fairly new on the scene and has a long way to go to challenge more established streaming services like Spotify, which claims more than 12.5 million premium users and three times as many ad-supported free users.

Apple have had a habit in recent years of forcing apps upon its users whether they want them or not, Like iBooks before it, although it’s not limited to apps we all remember this autumn’s U2 album they kindly made us have for free.

So if this report pans out the rebranded Beats Music will no longer be an optional service available from the App Store. Instead, it will appear on all iPhones upon installation of an iOS system update.

Apple acquired Beats back in May, and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor implied in a recent interview that he’s working with Apple on a music delivery service. Apple might want to tread carefully forcing media and software on its customers, but for the mean time we can always just put it in a folder and ignore it.