Apple Music: New or Deja Vu?

AppleMusic

On Monday, Apple announced that they would be carving a piece of the music streaming pie by reporting the release of Apple Music, their own, user-paid streaming service. While some Apple devotees are thrilled, many of us are scratching our heads. Haven’t we seen this before?

Apple Music Highlights:

  • Music Catalog: Apple Music comes bringing a catalog of around 30 million songs, like Spotify, and like Spotify, you will be able to incorporate your iTunes catalog into the service. Apple is yet to state whether or not you will be able to stream iTunes music that hasn’t been purchased.
  • Beats 1 Radio: Streaming from London, L.A, and New York 24/7, Beats Radio 1 promises, in addition to the music, boast exclusive interviews with artists, along with discussions about the hottest trends in culture and music.
  • Connect: Connect is the Apple-established social media platform available through Apple Music that allows artists to upload photos, videos, etc. Fans can “connect” with their favorite artists by liking or commenting on their updates, like a music industry geared Facebook.

User Benefits:

If you’re thinking so far, it sounds a lot like Spotify, you’d be correct. CNET took some time to break down some of the variances, and compare Apple’s to apples with the graphic below:

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 2.41.51 PM

Anything big jump out at you? No? Same here.

Also, the more we read about it, the more we’ve noticed that the one thing Apple seems to be pushing about Apple Music is access to “exclusive” content. The thing is, if that’s the main appeal, who would Apple Music appeal to? How many people have to be on the pulse all the time of what’s new in music in culture. It just seems like a very small benefit to the very small group of people that would actually care.

Artist Benefits: 

While major label artists will sign specific contracts with Apple in the same way they did with Spotify, independent artists will make nothing off music streamed through free accounts, and a meager 58% of royalties from music streamed through paid accounts. While every penny helps the, “I’ll work for (almost) free to get noticed” mentality ultimately ends up hurting creatives. You should get paid for your work, bottom line, and there is no way to measure just yet if the visibility of platforms like Spotify and Apple Music give to artists will translate to revenue, outside of these platforms, in the long run.

The Verdict: 

Widely regarded music industry critic Bob Lefsetz weighed in on it in an essay posted on his website . While the industry’s opinion of Lefsetz is tepid at best, he does make a point when he says,

You will only win by providing what the customer wants, by having people play in to your web. And the customer doesn’t want Apple Music, doesn’t need Apple Music, and the hardest problem facing musicians is getting people to listen to their tunes at all, not getting paid.

Long story short, Apple Music isn’t a game-changer. It won’t do anything exceptional that hasn’t been done by Spotify, or Pandora, or You Tube, and its variances will likely not be enough to convert many people over on a grand scale. From what we’ve seen thus far, Apple, a company known for being ahead of the curve with innovation, may have missed the boat on Apple Music by at least a couple years. While it’s too early to predict it’s actual fate just yet, this is an industry where tomorrow happened yesterday, and if Apple doesn’t know better, maybe Apple Music will be a great reminder.

Sources:

Lefsetz, Bob. “Apple Music – Lefsetz Letter.” Lefsetz Letter. N.p., 10 June 2015. Web. 12 June 2015.

Lovejoy, Ben. “Opinion: Will the Launch of Apple Music Mark the Beginning of the End for Spotify?” 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac, 12 June 2015. Web. 12 June 2015.

Mitroff, Sara. “Apple Music vs Spotify: What’s the Difference? – CNET.” CNET. CNET, June 2015. Web. 12 June 2015.

Resnikoff, Paul. “Apple Is Paying Just 58% of Streaming Royalties Back to Indie Artists… – Digital Music News.” Digital Music News Apple Is Paying Just 58 of Streaming Royalties Back to Indie Artists Comments. Digital Music News, 09 June 2015. Web. 12 June 2015.

-By: Jessica Kristnofe, Director of Customer Relations

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