Apple announced its subscription Music service at the World Wide Developer Conference overnight.
From the announcement Apple Music seems an interesting mix of Spotify-like music streaming with DJs and human, not algorithmic, curation.
An interesting aspect of the Apple Music is that you’ll be able to store all your music, including iTunes purchases and personally ripped albums in the cloud. There’s an overlap there with Apple Match which, no doubt, will clear up over time.
Apple Music is to streaming what iPod was to MP3
While most of the features in Apple Music echo those found on other streaming services, Apple seems to have wrapped the package neatly. On the surface it looks as if Apple Music could do for streaming what the iPod did for downloaded music: move it further into the mainstream and make it safe for consumers.
The service is due to start streaming music to most of the world, including New Zealand on June 30.
Apple has fixed the US price of Apple Music at US$10 a month for a single user. A family subscription, allowing up to six people to share an account is just US$15. There’s no free, advertising supported service, but customers get a three-month trial period.
The US price is competitive with Spotify. Both have a $10 basic subscription. Apple’s family deal will put pressure on its rivals.
What will Apple Music cost in New Zealand?
Apple has yet to announce the local price.
At today’s exchange rate, US$10 buys NZ$14. Add 15 percent GST and on a straightforward conversion it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get an Apple Music subscription for less than NZ$16.
That’s a fair price for unlimited music, but not compelling. Spotify offers a free tier and broadcast radio plays tons of tunes for free. The paid service is NZ$13 a month, which may act as a benchmark for Apple.
It isn’t hard to understand why Apple launched a streaming service. Digital music download sales are plummeting. Streaming is growing and newcomers have disrupted Apple’s iTunes business. Apple Music fixes that.
Apple should do well. Spotify can count its customers in tens of millions worldwide. Apple’s active customer database runs to hundreds of millions. If it can convince one tenth of them to sign-up, it will top the music streaming market and keep the digital music crown.
It’s no accident that Apple Music will also be available on Android devices. Until now Apple has avoided Google’s operating system, delivering an Android version shows the company’s determination not to drop the ball with digital music sales.
We’ll have a clearer idea of the worth and potential of Apple Music when we get to hear it later this month. There’s an opportunity for Apple to work off its existing strength with iPhones, iPods and iTunes.
If the service is better than Spotify and the price on a par, then it will disrupt the music business. The first victims may be commercial FM music stations which could struggle to find an audience if listeners change their habits.