updated 03:34 pm EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
Iovine could assume control of music strategy, licensing
Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre could be announced as joining Apple leadership at this year's Worldwide Developers' Conference in June, sources tell Billboard. Apple is reportedly buying Beats for $3.2 billion, but hasn't confirmed a deal yet, much less elaborated on plans. One of the Billboard sources says that Iovine will likely watch over Apple's general music strategy, and handle relationships with labels and publishers. Iovine is a well-known producer, and has had to deal with rights owners in order to set up Beats Music.
If Iovine and Dre are brought on stage at WWDC, Apple will presumably unveil some sort of new music offering at the same time. That could be a reincarnation of iTunes Radio, which has struggled for listenership in the face of well-established rivals like Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio. A common expectation is that Apple will introduce new paid subscription options, helping to compensate for falling download sales at the iTunes Store. While Apple is still a world leader in music downloads, the public has been shifting towards streaming, since it typically offers "all-you-can-eat" access at a smaller cost than buying even one new album a month.
Billboard adds that the acquisition is predicted to take about two months to complete. That will leave some details up in the air by the time of WWDC, which is due to run June 2nd through the 6th in San Francisco. The brunt of Apple's keynote, though, should focus on OS X 10.10 and iOS 8.