Apple Music: "The next chapter in music. It will change the way you experience music forever."
In a Spotify monopolized market, Apple have thrown their hat in the ring with the announcement of their much rumored online streaming service, Apple Music, at WWDC this afternoon.
Despite revolutionizing the way that we purchase and consume music, Apple are relatively late to the remit of streaming online. Following the mammoth success of Spotify and the comparatively disastrous failure of TIDAL, there's been endless speculation as to how Apple intend to compete (and avoid the kind of humiliation that Jay Z and co. have suffered this year) so naturally their Jimmy Iovine helmed announcement has drawn a fair amount of comment and debate.
As with any announcement of this nature, the speeches were filled with verbose declarations of their own superiority and unnecessary hyperbole but the crux of Apple's plans for the imaginatively titled Apple Music seem to be:
Firstly, the synthesis of Beats Music and the iTunes library. All of iTunes will be available to buy or stream on the service after Apple's acquisition of Beats Music last May. Supposedly their unique selling point above and beyond Spotify is that not only will generated recommendations be made regarding what music you should purchase and listen to, but said recommendations will be curated by industry experts rather than computerized algorithms.
Secondly, the inception of Beats One, a global, 24/7 radio station which will broadcast from London, LA and New York, created with help of Radio 1's Zane Lowe. Of all of Apple's propositions this seems the most likely to hook a unique audience. With artists like will.i.am, Pharrell, and Drake signed on to act as DJs, this is theoretically the most interesting part of their approach but needless to say, it'll have to be executed well to be anything other than yet another radio station for music consumers to ignore.
The final and most redundant part of the pitch involves a pseudo-social media platform called Connect where artists can upload original content - songs, videos, photos, remixes etc. As almost everyone with an internet connection seems to have observed, it appears to be a cross between Twitter and Myspace, and there's no real reason it'll stand out from the myriad of platforms that a 21st century artist has to promote their music. Granted, Apple will undoubtedly provide an excellent interface and with the right kind of celebrity endorsement it could gain traction, but it's not revolutionary.
Indeed, nothing that Apple have proposed today is revolutionary, despite Tom Cook's assurance that they plan to irrevocably change the face of music, but it is solid, cohesive and potentially attractive to those who have an Apple product in their pockets, which frankly is most of us.
Apple have made billions selling by product integration - an iMac is the easiest tool to properly manage your iPhone and an iPhone has the same interface as an iPad so you already know how to use it, and so on and so forth - and there's no doubt that the free trial which Apple plan to load all new devices with will peak the public's curiosity. Will it claim a significant portion of the 60 million consumers who pay for a Spotify subscription? Only time will tell.
What is clear is that Apple are already under the skin of their competitors, as this (since deleted) Tweet from Daniel Ek, the founder of Spotify, attests.
Whether they'll best Spotify remains to be seen, but it's abundantly clear that Apple have made a far more promising start to their bid for supremacy than TIDAL - especially with a $10 price tag.