Music streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify have been around as early as 2000. On June 8th Apple announced that it would be joining in the competition with its own music streaming service. What sets Apple’s new service apart from the others? Apple Music will not offer a free level of streaming. Spotify and Pandora both offer two levels of membership: A free level where users can listen on desktop or mobile devices with advertisements or, a premium level where users pay for membership and then can listen to music without any advertisements.
Because Apple’s streaming service will not have a free option it will not have any advertisements played. The new service will include internet radio called Beats 1, which will have life broadcasts from different DJs personalities. There will also be a social platform called Connect. Users will be able to access Connect and Beats 1 for free. The services that are free of charge will have advertisements as well as limited skip options. In addition to Beats 1, Apple Radio will still continue to be a free service. If users are paying for the streaming service they will then have unlimited skip options on Beats 1 and will be able to like and share content on Connect. The service options sound very similar to the freemium style that Pandora and Spotify both offer.
Pandora and Spotify had different reactions to the announcement of Apple’s new service. Pandora CFO Mike Herring said in an interview that he still feels confident as a market leader and that his company will continue to grow and thrive. Spotify as a company has had no comment however the CEO, Daniel Ek, tweeted “oh ok” when Apple made the announcement.
Apple’s new service will be released on June 30th and will offer a three month free trial period. This trial period caused controversy of its own when artist Taylor Swift took a stand because Apple was not going to be paying artists during the trial period. Swift posted on Tumblr that she would not allow her music to be shared in Apple’s new service unless they paid the artists during this time period. She did this because she believed it was unfair for new bands and artists who may have their first big hit within these three months. After her post Apple changed their policy and will now be paying artists during the trial period.
The release of this product will help show if users would rather pay for their music or listen for free with advertisements. Apple music will be available on all Apple devices with an Apple ID starting on June 30th. It will be hard to measure the success of the service until this free trial period ends. Then, we will have more information on how many users prefer to pay to stream their music rather than listen to advertisements.