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Apple is a little late to the music-streaming revolution with its acquisition of Beats Music; that much is clear. According to a new Buzzfeed report, however, that tardiness has as much to do with willful ignorance on the part of Apple's executives as it does with maintaining sales on iTunes. Apple's middle management allegedly had no idea as to how Spotify even worked during the creation of iTunes Radio, and the engineers involved preferred to use Spotify and Pandora on their own time.
"[Every engineer's] excuse was it's because we work on iTunes, running and closing the app after every code change," one of Buzzfeed's sources said. "But it's really because Spotify has all the free music with a real social platform."
It gets worse, if Buzzfeed is to be believed. According to the article, "Apple employees confirmed that management actively ignored iTunes' streaming competitors, with some managers refusing to open or use Spotify. One source said that as recently 'as last year,' some members of management didn't even know that Spotify was an on-demand streaming service, assuming it was just a radio service."
Similar efforts to drive traffic to iTunes led to the failure of Ping in 2012. "The biggest reason why Ping failed was because Apple was not interested in making a network — they were interested in making a purchase pusher," said a source in the Buzzfeed article.
Hopefully Apple can reverse this sad trend with the acquisition of Beats, especially with Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre now on the staff to keep such bumbles in check. Both have extensive experience in the music industry, and perhaps more importantly, they're more in tune with what music fans want these days.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.