Ever since music streaming giants such as Spotify, Pandora and SoundCloud became mainstream around 2010, iTunes haven’t got as much love as it used to. Instead of paying for my music or ripping it off YouTube, I have a collection of radio stations that can be played whenever I want. Apple has noticed this trend and their response is Apple Music.
Apple Music and Spotify are nearly identical with the exception of a few key features. Both can play music saved on your device and both can play radio stations based off songs or artists. They even have very similar layouts and attempt to increase the social aspect of listening to music by making it easy to share what you are listening to with people. The only significant feature that Apple decided to include that separates it from Spotify is adding the real disc jockeys playing in New York, Los Angeles and London. This is pretty cool compared to the computer algorithms that most other music streaming services utilize. It’s almost retro in the sense that before online radio, there was AM and FM radio that also had live DJs. It is likely that Spotify may soon introduce something similar in order to compete.
In the beginning of 2015, Beats Music, a subsidiary of Apple, had 15 million paying users, only 5 million less than Spotify. With the Introduction of Apple Music, all users of Beats Music were asked to switch over. After a month of existence, Apple Music boasted 10 million users, a number that will surely rise significantly in the future. Now that Apple has entered the music streaming game, will people using iPhones for the first time go out of their way to download an app to do something the phone already does on its own?
The native music app also makes it easy for artists to publish their music and use connect to share it with their fans. This is big for underground artists that want their music to be heard more. There will be an influx of new tunes coming not only from professionals working with big labels but also from anyone with a computer.
Apple has stated that the DJ hosts will conduct exclusive interviews with artists. This gives Apple the power to promote artists it chooses, which is scary considering the lengths Apple has gone in the past to increase profit margins. Hopefully we will see a variety of artists promoted equally; however I am curious who decides which artists get interviews and which do not. Time will tell what kind of influence Apple Music will have on the music industry, with any luck, they’ll just make it easier to find new music that’s personally catered to your interests.