By Anthony Walsh
If you decided to update your iPhone on June 30th to check out Apple Music, Apple’s new music streaming service, and sign up for the three-month free trial, your days are numbered. But, as the free period comes to an end for most users, there are a few questions that need to be brought up.
How many people ended up using the service? Has anybody switched from another music streaming service exclusively to Apple Music? How many will stay once the free trial is over?
Like Spotify, Tidal, and other online music streaming services, Apple Music allows people to stream music through internet access or have the option to download music to their respective devices and listen without using WIFI or cellular data. Users can listen to their own curated playlists or to ones created by other users or employees of Apple Music, but this is nothing new.
A logical, yet refreshing feature that Apple Music introduced to the streaming market was the merging of your original iTunes library with the new Apple Music library you have created. While this was possible to do with Spotify, it wasn’t as simple as the click of a button as it is with Apple Music.
As a former Spotify user myself, it was quite annoying to have switch between the apps, but now all my music, whether it be purchased or downloaded, is all in one place. Call it petty, but it makes a big difference to me.
While the previous feature seems like an obvious move for Apple, no other streaming service provides a smooth method of doing that. Another feature Apple is borrowing and molding from other streaming services is the radio. While it is standard for most streaming services to have a radio component, most of them simply have an algorithm to play a set of songs based on an artist, genre, or specific song.
Apple Music provides this generic radio, but they decided to add something that no other streaming service has provided thus far — live radio.
A little over a year from their purchase of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s Beats Electronics for $3 billion, Apple decided to slap the name on their very own radio feature, Beats 1 Radio. It is a 24-hour radio show with three hosts set in Los Angeles, New York, and London. Similar to a traditional radio station, Beats 1 allows for artists to come in for lengthy interviews to promote their upcoming releases and plays the featured artist’s music during breaks.
Apple Music also adds a “Connect” option which allows users to follow their favorite artists to see what new music, videos, or pictures that are, for the most part, exclusive to Apple Music. This component is necessary, yet not original as Tidal was the first streaming service to introduce an artist-fan connection feature.
So, as we wind down to the close of Apple Music’s three-month free trial period, people should now be pretty familiar with the service’s shiny interface and several new features. People can be awed all they like with the flash of a product, but do they really want to use it is the question.
Just barely eclipsing half of Spotify’s worldwide paying subscriber population of 20 million , Apple Music has reported that its service is being used by 11 million free subscribers, according to Music Business Worldwide. I have to say, in three months that’s very impressive. However, the entirety of the service are users not having to pay a penny, so we’ll see how that works out.
Evidence also shows that rival streaming services have not been affected much by Apple Music’s recent launch. According to Music Watch, only 11 percent of free Spotify and Pandora subscribers switched over to Apple Music exclusively. Music Watch also reported that 28 percent of Spotify users also use Apple Music simultaneously.
The most important question still remains for Apple Music is: how many people will continue to use the music streaming service once their three-month free trial is over? In a survey conducted by Music Watch, the answer was a modest 64 percent. This is a good, but not great sign for Apple Music as the survey indicates they will most likely retain over half of their users that have only been using the product for three months.
However, if they want to make a serious run at catching up to Spotify’s 20 million paid subscribers, I suggest they add a $5/month college subscription just like Spotify. Streaming music is the perfect way for a college student to “legally” enjoy as much music as they want and stay within a budget.