Thoughts on Apple Music

At WWDC on Monday, Apple unveiled their much-rumored answer to the questions about the future of Apple’s music offerings: Apple Music.

My thoughts on it —

  • I don’t immediately see anything that Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, etc. offer in their services that Apple Music doesn’t also have.
  • The price point is essentially the same as the competition.
  • Being able to pay $5 more per month to share a plan with up to 6 “family members” (let’s be real, it’s you and your friends) is a great deal and I suspect a lot of people will jump on that opportunity.
  • For most people, there’s little to no value to having multiple streaming service subscriptions. If the price is equal, people will likely pick the one with the largest catalog of music. With the power of the iTunes Music Store, this will most likely be Apple Music. Sure, the entire store isn’t there on Day 1, but you can bet they’re working on it.
  • This final point is probably the biggest— Apple Music finally combines the convenience of streaming music with the iTunes ecosystem that is already so well established. Personally, I like to purchase music and support the artists I care about and want to succeed. At the same time, inevitably there is some song that I want to listen to one time, on-demand, right now. Maybe it’s to break some dramatic tension with something funny. Maybe it’s to provide an epic Star-Wars-score to a mundane activity (bad example, I own the Star Wars soundtrack, of course). Maybe it’s because that new song topping the charts is super catchy but I can’t justify owning it yet. Whatever the reason, there will always be a gap between what I own and what I may want to listen to at a given moment. Previously I’ve turned to Spotify to bridge this gap. I’ve held it on my home screen alongside the pre-installed Music app on iOS for those moments when I want to immediately play something I don’t own. Now, I don’t have to. Apple has given me a solution to this problem under one roof. It now allows me to stream songs right next to the library I’ve been curating for years in the Apple ecosystem. The truth is, Apple Music doesn’t need to be better than Spotify, Rdio, or Pandora. It just has to be equally good at access to instant streaming music. The lock-in effect of iTunes for so many people will make Apple Music the logical choice for their streaming service. This assumes song-availability will be equal to the competition. From the announcement today, it seems it will be. In all likelihood, it’ll be even better (see my last bullet point). That’s enough for me to drop Spotify and consolidate my music habits into one app. I suspect it will be for many other people as well.

Well done.

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