Apple Music … What Now For Spotify ?

Apple Music … it’s been rumored, expected, and a damn near certainty for sometime now. In fact since Apple announced their acquisition of Beats Audio last May. The internet has been a buzz with analysis, rumour, and intrigued about what Apple planned to do with Beats Audio and it’s music streaming app Beats Music.

It was pretty clear from the outset that it wasn’t about headphones. Although many still suggested it was Apple’s attempt to gain some sort of coolness again in the younger strands of the market place. All these suggestions were dealt a firm and abrupt slap down, last Monday when Tim Cook stood before this years WWDC and announced the launch of Apple Music.

Giving users access to stream pretty much the entire iTunes catalogue for the rather familiar and low price of $9.99 a month. That familiar price point most probably and definitely should have pricked up the interests of executives over at Spotify who also price their service at $9.99.

The Stockholm based streaming services has for the last few years, ruled the roost when it comes to streaming music. With few competitors challenging it’s position as top dog in the marketplace. Even the might of Jay-Z and his posse of music industry heavy weights couldn’t upend the service. When they launched Tidal back in March. But Spotify’s position as top dog could be about to change thanks to last Monday’s announcement.

Spotify has benefited hugely from it’s status as first to market. But has failed in recent years, to really push it’s product further than what they originally offered at launch. In part this stagnation, could be blamed on it’s lack of competition. That’s why Apple’s offering could make a huge dent in the Swedish companies market share.

Apple Music is going to be hard wired into it’s devices. With the ability to directly give Siri instructions such as “Play me the top songs from 1997” or “Play the most popular songs by Jon Bon Jovi”. It’s this built-in functionality that really will give Apple Music the edge over Spotify. And there is very little Spotify can do to compete.

While some might point out that not everyone owns an Apple device. The reality is Apple has sold well over 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models sold*. That’s a sizable chunk of users who will have a direct access to Apple’s new service, and is on par with Spotify’s rumoured 10 million premium users*.

The only way that I can see Spotify really competing with Apple is by making their app, a much more passive experience, and really working to make music discovery and suggestion a much more intuitive process.

In the end it will all come down to how many of Spotify’s users jump ship on June 30th. Only time will tell if Spotify can retain it’s user base, and in turn roll out features that will help it compete in what it now a rapidly changing marketplace.

The future is streaming … but whose server will we be streaming from ?

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