After the international success of music websites Pandora and Spotify, Apple has decided to step it up a notch and launch Apple Music, a music steaming platform fully integrated into iOS. This release uses Beats Music as a foundation, after Apple bought Beats for three billion dollars last year. The new service was announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on 8th June this year and then launched on 30th June with the first three months being offered for free.
You may not remember but Beats Music was actually a huge failure, despite the celebrity coverage the service had gotten: is Apple Music destined to end up like this?
There’s a strong argument for both yes and no.
The problem with Apple is that they do nothing for free; which essentially means that while YouTube and Spotify remain – partially – free, the Apple service you have to pay for will have a hard time imposing itself in a strong market.
This won’t be helped by the fact that Apple has been very limited on advertising, leaving the media to do it’s job for them. This poses a problem when you are trying to reach a very broad audience: only the “documented” people know what this product is and what it offers.
Another problem remains: Spotify is much older than Apple Music, and even if individuals want to change over, the fact that they won’t be able to import their library will prevent some users from even trying.
However Apple Music is not all bad, it’s actually is extremely well integrated into iOS, making it an easy way for millions of i-device users to listen to music. With the new iOS update, this service is perfectly compatible with all Apple products, including iTunes, which means it is easy to transition from the venerable iTunes into the gleaming new Apple Music.
As usual, Apple has invested heavily in the aesthetics of the app, ensuring the user has a great experience provided by an intuitive design.
Even if the earnings from Apple Music fail to reach that of Spotify, it will be hard challenged to do worse than the flop offering of Zune from Microsoft. The service, first offered in 2006 was a combination of mp3 players and a new media player for Windows. Over the next couple years, what seemed to be a promising start ended up to be a huge failure. After going up as high as 9% of market shares at its launch (iPods were around 70% at that time) until dropping off at 2%. We truly hope Apple Music does not have the same ending.
All in all this makes for a fun product that might not be up for the challenges that Spotify of Pandora offer: but only time can tell. Will this be the next Zune or will Apple once again show us that they are inevitably the number one on yet another domain.
Theophile Roques, Intern, Technology Team
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November 20, 2023
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