Apple’s own streaming music service was announced at WWDC 2015, and CEO Tim Cook said, “It’s going to change the way you experience music.” Apple Music is set to launch on June 30, and will be free for the first three months. After the trial period, a subscription will cost $9.99 per month for individuals, or $14.99 monthly for a family plan. The burning question on our minds, though, is just how well Apple Music still stand up against competitors like Spotify, Pandora, and Tidal?
The chart below, courtesy of SoftwareInsider, shows some essential facts about Apple Music and three of its competitors. As you can see, Apple Music offers almost twice as many songs as leading competitor Tidal Premium, at the same price point. Spotify, on the other hand, maintains a free plan and offers 24 million songs for streaming, just a million fewer than Tidal.
Beyond offering more music, Apple Music will provide something its competitors don’t really have: a 24/7 global radio station broadcast with live disc jockeys spinning songs for you. The radio station, Beats 1, will be broadcast from Los Angeles, New York, and London.
Apple Music also has a fully functional social aspect to it called Connect, where artists can upload their music, photos, and videos directly to their fans. The fans, for their part, can like, comment, or share the various posts. This is something that is not offered by other streaming music services, but Apple unsuccessfully tried something similar with iTunes Ping from 2010 until 2012. It will be interesting to see how popular Connect becomes.
Cupertino’s marketing plans for Apple Music, from what we know of them, are nothing short of brilliant. Even without knowledge of advertising, we do know that consumers will have the option of subscribing to Apple Music when they purchase songs or albums from iTunes. This can help capture a huge audience and give Apple Music a definite advantage over the competition.
My main concern about the popup invitation to subscribe to Apple Music lies in how persistent Cupertino will be. Will the offer keep popping up even after you’ve declined it once, or will iTunes remember that you chose not to subscribe to Apple Music and leave you alone for future purchases? If the popup keeps appearing after the first denial, the brilliance of this marketing ploy will fade away into sheer annoyance and harassment.
If done right, I think Apple Music will become the most popular streaming music service in the industry. Cupertino has more songs in its library than anybody else, it is developing what could be the best social media outlet ever for artists and fans alike, and the captive market of regular iTunes customers can help boost the subscription rate tremendously.