How Apple Killed Spotify
And with its dying breath, Spotify said “Taylor, come back…”
When WWDC 2015 ended, the crowd of developers dispersed to their sessions, enjoying their week of geekiness and creating awesome stuff. People like me, who are somewhat well-versed in technology and enjoy the bleeding edge of the industry are now talking amongst themselves on Twitter, Facebook, and Medium about the new developments. This year’s “one more thing” was Apple Music, a music streaming service that promises one unified platform for people to discover the latest hits, as well as up-and-coming artists that otherwise might not have an opportunity to showcase their art. They also introduced Beats One, an always-on, live, 24/7 music station, which can prove to be pretty awesome. Anyway, all this sounds similar. It sounds like our current favorite music streaming service, Spotify. Music streaming? Check. Artist discovery? Check. Custom playlists based on mood, your likes, etc.? Check.
And yet Apple Music will destroy Spotify. Why? Two words: Taylor Swift. The pop artist of the decade made headlines when she announced that she is pulling her back catalogue from Spotify, claiming that the service does not place an “inherent value” on her music.
I think there should be an inherent value placed on art. I didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when I put my music on Spotify.
She said she is still keeping her music on iTunes (and Jay-Z’s Tidal, Beats Music, etc.), because then, since people are paying for accessing her art, there is a “perception of value.” From her Time interview on why she left Spotify:
With Beats Music and Rhapsody you have to pay for a premium package in order to access my albums. And that places a perception of value on what I’ve created.
Now, Apple Music fits this category. There is a premium package to pay. In fact, it’s the same premium package that people pay for Spotify Premium. Therefore, starting June 30, those who are paying for Spotify Premium are getting ripped off. Not only are they paying the same amount, they also paying the same amount for less music. Spotify doesn’t have Taylor Swift. Spotify doesn’t have The Beatles. Spotify doesn’t have AC/DC. Apple Music has all of these artists. Starting June 30, Spotify has the potential to lose 15 million paying subscribers. Monthly, assuming everyone pays $10/month, that’s $150 million, gone. And, since Apple Music is launching on every device: iOS, Mac, PC, and Android (that’s the killer here), every Spotify Premium user has no excuse to not switch to Apple Music. It’s literally the better deal. More music for the same money, and one less app to keep track of on your device. Only those that vehemently hate Apple for some reason won’t switch.
Now, I hope Apple Music also has an educational discount.