warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Apple Music And What It Means For The Industry

Jillian Morabito |
June 8, 2015 | 10:31 p.m. PDT

Music Editor

What Apple Music will look like (via @iTunes/Instagram).
What Apple Music will look like (via @iTunes/Instagram).
At the turn of the century, CDs littered cars, Walkmans were the perfect stocking-stuffer and radio was the end-all be-all when it came to deciding a Top Ten hit. 

Fifteen years later, the music industry has never been so different. With every song imaginable available at your fingertips, no one could’ve predicted this momentous shift and its implications on the business. 

Nowadays, it’s all about streaming. Whether it’s Jay-Z’s Tidal, the outdated Pandora or the “freemium” juggernaut Spotify, streaming is everywhere and cannot reasonably be avoided. 

Today, Apple launched its own version of a streaming service, Apple Music, at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference. Because iTunes sales have declined in recent years, Apple looks to not only make up for that loss, but also lead the streaming market.

READ MORE: How Tori Kelly Compares To Taylor Swift, Sia And Other Modern Day Singers

Benefits from Apple Music include the easy accessibility with an Apple account, a catalogue of over 30 million tracks (similar to Spotify), social media connectivity and a free option. However, the main benefits to this option is the family sharing plan in which up to six people can share one $15 per month plan. 

Another key factor in the Apple Music launch is its release in over 100 countries beginning on June 30. With worldwide marketing, including the likes of China, there is no telling the amount of potential subscribers that reside outside of the confined borders of the United States.

Music superstars like Drake and The Weeknd also came to support the launch today. In Drakes case, the rapper believes that streaming is what made him a household name today. 

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek was didn’t hold back from a salty response to the newest competitior. Many industry execs are echoing that sentiment, unfazed by the threat of a takeover. 

The valid conclusion is simple: this was bound to happen. Apple has been a leader in the tech industry for almost twenty years. Though Apple Music is not necessarily the most innovative idea, it follows the company’s reputation for perfection. Whereas other apps simply don’t have the mass marketing dollars and a valuable, expansive catalogue, Apple and its investors have both.  

READ MORE: ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ By Florence + The Machine: Album Review

Whereas Apple Music will not have all the music the iTunes catalogue has, it was have a lot. This then begs the question of whether or not iTunes will continue to live on as the leading digital download platform. If you can download offline from Apple Music, why would you a buy a song? 

Drake is certainly not straying from the social media posts today (via @champagnepapi/Instagram).
Drake is certainly not straying from the social media posts today (via @champagnepapi/Instagram).
Because Spotify is so engrained into the minds of music lovers today, it may be hard for momentum to switch. Another benefit to Spotify is free users are allowed to select music on their desktop whereas free Apple Music subscribers will only be allowed to listed to a radio-type feature, similar to Apple Radio or Spotify. However, the fact that Apple is offering the first three months of the service for free is a genius way to get many customers to try it, even if they do not commit. After that, the service will begin charging $9.99. 

“I think the only thing that would make me make the switch would be a major price difference or if a bunch of artists were to pull from Spotify and only be available on Apple Music. Right now, Spotify gives me everything I need, so I see no reason to switch,” says paying Spotify user Alexa Ritacco. 

“I don’t really know too much about Apple Music yet, but if anything it seems like it has too much in one. I just want to listen to my songs and discover new music. That’s it.” 

As of now, it is still hard to predict Apple Music’s success because essential questions still remain. How much of a cut will artists receive? Will iTunes prices increase in order to make up for lost revenue? Will there be a (coveted) student discount? Will there be any exclusivity when it comes to artist licensing? Will Taylor Swift make her return? 

Time will tell but until then, I’m sticking with Spotify.  

Reach Music Editor Jillian Morabito here



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.