Will Apple Music be worthwhile?

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Apple Music has been on the forefront of everyone’s mind lately, with Taylor Swift calling out the company for their less than ideal payment practices. With the service’s June 30th launch date looming overhead, should we be exited for Apple Music? Here are our thoughts on the matter.

Thoughts on Apple Music

Streaming is the future of the music world. We’ve seen this with video content– Netflix is gaining more and more ground ever year due to sheer ease of use. Similarly, streaming music services like Spotify and Tidal remove a lot of the hassle from managing a music library. There’s no syncing and no downloading, so all you have to do is choose the song you want, sit back, and relax.

Existing Market

Apple is a bit late to the music streaming party. We’ve seen Tidal  enter the market with lukewarm reception– there just isn’t enough to differentiate the service from the competition. Apple will have to provide some kind of feature that their competition lacks or else there just won’t be any reason to switch.

Apple could achieve this through seamless integration with existing apple devices. Having Apple Music simply be another tab in iTunes would make it extremely easy for the average consumer to use.

The service also becomes extremely cheap when taking the family plan into consideration. Apple will provide a $14.99/month family plan that allows 6 people to use the service on the same account. This is a much better value than the competition and could be a major contributor to the service’s success.

iTunes/Apple ID

Another point to consider the the existing treasure trove of user accounts and consumer information that Apple already catalogs. This lowers the barrier of entry for both existing streaming music consumers and new users considering the service.

This is somewhere where Apple can win over the competition. Users would rather not make new accounts for a service, as that introduces extra complexity into their lives. Juggling dozens of user accounts for various products and websites is extremely tiresome. However, many users have an Apple ID already set up in order to use all of Apple’s offerings, and simply adding Apple Music under this “umbrella” lowers the barrier of entry significantly. However, we don’t know if this will be enough to cause Spotify users to switch.

Artist interaction and global radio

These are two more selling points that Apple is pushing for the service. The company promises the ability for users to receive exclusive content from their favorite artists through “Connect”, a social feature of Apple Music that claims the ability to connect musicians and fans. This could be very interesting, but it’s not much to see if it’s just a glorified Instagram-esque newsfeed.

Apple also pushed the “global radio” feature in their keynote announcement. This is a collaborative effort from radio stations all over the world to create a global radio station featuring tracks from multiple countries.

Conclusion

Apple isn’t known for being the first to market with any concept or device. However, they are known for iterating and improving on concepts that other companies have created.

It’s tough to see Apple improving on the streaming music concept any further than their competition. Spotify is extremely user friendly with robust playlist cataloging and social sharing features. The social Connect feature and global radio playlist seem like gimmicks, and nothing substantial enough to inspire current music streaming customers.

However, Apple Music could win through Apple’s existing user catalog, if they’re to win at all. Making it easy for existing Apple fans to joing the service could lead to huge customer uptake. The three-month free trial might also cause people to sign up, become dependent on the service, and decide to pay the monthly fee.

Apple also has a great deal of cash available for an extensive marketing campaign if need be, and they’ll probably feature the service on the existing iTunes store.

It’ll be interesting to see if Apple can dethrone other players in the market to take the streaming music crown. We’re going to step back, grab the popcorn, and wait for the June 30th launch date.

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About the Author
Brian Galloway is an unabashed tech geek based in Nashville, Tennessee. When he's not obsessively searching for the next computer upgrade, he's probably curled up on the couch with a book and the day's third cup of coffee.

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