Is Apple Music what we've been waiting for?
As a tech enthusiast and person who makes their living in music, Apple's latest offering has been a long time coming. While never first out of the gate, Apple has always made an impact on any category it decides to enter. Music is nothing new to Apple, they flipped the industry upside down with iTunes and the iPod and are looking to make the same impact with its streaming option. The question is, is this new venture into streaming enough to make people change their listening habits or service?
Apple Music was introduced at WWDC 2015 as the company's infamous "one more thing" finale. The introduction to the service was odd to say the least. Jimmy Iovine's delivery was a bit dated and uninspiring. His comment on the "fragmentation" of music services was bit misleading. Yes there are many services but isn't competition good? Yes there are many ways to socially interact with music but do we really need another?
Spotify, Rdio, YouTube, Deezer, Rhapsody, & Google Music have all been major players in the streaming music game. I'm leaving Pandora out of this since it's a internet radio streaming service and does not allow full album streams. All of these services offer a compelling reason to stream music on their platforms. Spotify seems to offer the most attractive option, allowing user to listen to entire albums with audio and graphical ads inserted to monetize this option. YouTube is quickly emerging as a prominent player as they are utilizing their abundant user base to push an ad free paid service with Music Key. Rdio has a sleek interface, Deezer has been a major player in Europe since 2007, Rhapsody has teamed up with mobile carriers to offer their service and there's Google Music (not much to say here ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).
I can just about guarantee no one wants another social network to post things. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat have that covered. So what can Apple Music offer these music services and social networks can't?
Pricing is the same on just about all these services for a single user. Catalog seems to be comparable unless Apple has some exclusives lined up. Connect seems like more of a chore than a viable music social network. Just add it to the list of places to post things. While 24/7 radio curated by actual radio DJs seems like a good idea, playlists created by users, artists, labels and known music enthusiasts are much more intriguing.
There's a few thing Apple Music does have going for it. The Music app itself is automactically installed and unremovable on every iOS device in the world. You're literally talking millions of devices with Apple IDs tied to credit cards ready to spend at the contact of a thumb to the home button. You can't deny the impact that will make. Apple is also the biggest player in the paid download market. There's no reason it can't do the same with in the music streaming department. Its enormous cash reserve and connections in the industry will most definitely land Apple exclusive content to allure new users and switchers.
Typically when Apple introduces a new product or service, I'm thinking about how I will integrate it into my life. With the Apple Music announcement I was left unimpressed. I use Spotify daily. It's vast catalog, social integration with Twitter and Facebook, and user generated playlists are the things I enjoy the most about the service. I love seeing what my friends are listening to and sharing new music. If Apple Music will have similar offerings, will it be enough for me to switch? Will any of the features be enough for new users to sign up? As of right now, I don't see many happy users switching their preferred streaming service but I do see Apple gaining many steaming newbies, giving the service a shot. This will be the majority of Apple's user base and most definitely be enough to take a large chunk of the music streaming market even without the glaring differentiator from other services.