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5 ways Apple Music could topple Spotify
If we can give you one bit of advice before watching an Apple keynote, it’s never leave before the end. Typically saved for the juiciest news, this year’s ‘and one more thing’ announcement at WWDC was reserved for Apple Music, a streaming service that will strike fear into the hearts of Spotify and Tidal’s head honchos.
At least that was the idea. Apple Music might have been carefully positioned as the next step in a plotted history of sound, but the feeling is that the app isn’t reinventing the wheel. Arguably the most exciting thing on display at the launch event was Drake’s $850 vintage Apple jacket, and even Spotify CEO Daniel Ek seemed to dismiss the service itself, tweeting, “Oh ok.” in response, before rapidly deleting it. We haven’t been able to find out what he thought of Drake’s jacket.
So, is Apple’s latest app a non-starter or a Spotify killer in plain clothing? Let’s take a closer look at some of its biggest strengths.
Five ways Apple Music could topple Spotify
1. It has BeatsOne
Apple has invested heavily in Apple Music, and the money hasn’t all gone on vintage jackets for Drake. It’s biggest long-term outlay will be BeatsOne, a commercial-free radio station (even for non-Apple Music subscribers) broadcasting 24/7 from cities around the globe. The tagline is typically grandiose, promising, “Not just radio reimagined. Radio like you’ve never imagined.”
If Apple wants to position its app at the top of the tree, then it’s needs to make BeatsOne unbeatable. Heading up the station will be former BBC Radio 1 veteran Zane Lowe who has all the experience to make the service successful, and help sell its other radio stations and the streaming service included in Apple Music’s standard $9.99 package.
But… Spotify doesn’t have a fancy free radio station, but it does offer it’s entire catalogue for free with only minimal ad intrusion.
2. It connects you to the artists you love
Another cool feature of Apple Music is Connect, which was presented at WWDC by Drake and his jacket (sorry, did we mention that already?). The idea is to integrate a social feed within the app curated by your favorite artists, giving them the chance to premiere their latest news, music and videos directly to your phone.
If Apple manages to snag the right exclusives – and Apple being Apple, it probably will – then it’s built a ready-made platform for artists to communicate directly with their audiences, and for fans to keep up with the latest news without navigating to a dozen different apps. Of course, get it wrong and we may have another U2 situation on our hands, where Apple is force-feeding its tastes onto our phones without permission, so let’s hope it’s learnt from its mistakes.
But… Apple may connect you to your favorite artists, but Spotify connects you to your friends. As far as we can see, there’s no social aspect to Apple Music that lets you keep up with what your peers are listening to.
3. It offers a family package
While Apple Music’s basic package is the same as Spotify’s, it’s secret weapon is a family plan that allows up to six members of the same household to share an account for just $14.99 a month. That’s tremendously cheap, and the rival packages from Spotify and Rdio are currently priced at $14.99 for two people, or $29.99 for five.
4. It stores all your music in one place
Jumping from app to app is a pain, and Apple seems to know this. While Facebook is trying to get you to install Messenger, and Twitter launched (before later abandoning) #Music as separate software, Apple wants to put all of its music services in a single place. Rightly, it’s recognized that streaming is the future and puts those features to the front, but you’re also a tap away from music stored locally or through iTunes Match. In theory, Apple Music will help you find, listen, save and share music all within a single app.
But… Apple Music appears to not have a desktop variant, existing only as an app. This could put off the casual browser and Android-users, for instance, who won’t have the app pre-installed.
5. It’s made by Apple
Okay, so on first glance Apple Music might not be doing anything radically different to the competition, but as The Verge points out – it might not need to. You see, Apple’s recent successes – from the iPod to the iPhone and Apple Watch – haven’t been about breaking new ground, but simplifying existing services and repackaging them as coherently, and as beautifully as possible. Spotify has made huge progress since it launched in 2008, but it doesn’t have a base of millions of iPhone users to sell to.
But… Spotify got there first, and while Apple will eventually rollout their service for Android phones, Spotify is already available on everything from your PlayStation to your next Uber ride.