The age of the discman is over, and in turn has been replaced with music streaming platforms – but when weighing up options, is Apple Music a worthy contender?
In August 2011, Apple founder and visionary Steve Jobs resigned as CEO due to health complications. Jobs died just two months later, marking the end of an era for the company. However, under new CEO Tim Cook’s command, Apple has continued to be ground zero for tech innovation in not just the United States, but the world.
Although Cook is regarded to be a ‘metrics man’ when compared to Jobs’ visionary outlook, the former has managed to catapult Apple into a new era of profitability. In turn, the company has managed to expand on the development and manufacturing of devices used by millions, and is now also focusing on the global demand for streaming services through Apple Music.
Apple music is a music and video streaming service developed by the tech titans at Apple Inc. Designed to allow users to stream music on demand, make their own playlists or listen to existing ones, the service also includes access to prominent internet based radio stations such as Apple Music 1, Apple Music Hits, and Apple Music Country, which stream twenty four hours a day in over two hundred countries worldwide.
Originally launched as a strictly music based service all the way back in 2015, Apple Music began to expand into video a short time later in 2016. Executives from Apple have disclosed that their intention is to position the platform to eventually be a ‘one stop shop for pop culture’. As a result, the company is actively investing heavily in the production and purchasing of video content, both in terms of music videos and concert footage that support music releases, along with music based web series and feature films.
The original release of Apple Music received surprisingly mixed reviews, with criticism directed towards its user interface. However, the platform did receive praise regarding its playlist curation, vast library of songs on offer, and of course, its integration with other Apple devices and services. Apple aimed to rectify the complaints with a significant redesign that was launched with 2016’s iOS software update, and boasted less clutter, improvements to navigation and a bigger emphasis on the music libraries already on rotation by users. After this relaunch, a whopping ten million subscribers pledged their allegiance to Apple Music in only six months, with that number sitting at over 72 billion people as of June 2020.
In terms of brand direction, the move has paid off for both Tim Cook and Apple. The platform managed to make approximately $4.1 billion revenue in 2020, and accounted for 7.6% of Apple’s total services revenue. However, how does it stack up against the competition?
Well, while Apple Music has more subscribers than Spotify in the United States, the latter does have a heavier presence in Europe and South America. However, the biggest appeal for many users who are considering Apple Music as a means to solve all of their musical needs is the company’s opening pitch: it’s completely free for the first three months for new users, whether that be Apple users, Android users, and even desktop users.
If you’re weighing up whether this music streaming platform is the one for you or not, other than the free entry price, it does differ slightly when compared to alternatives like Spotify, Tidal and YouTube Music. The most important factor for serious music lovers is that it offers a larger selection of tunes than most of its competitors. With over 75 million songs, it also comes in at roughly the same price depending on your selected subscription, which starts at just $4.99 AUD per month if you’re a student.
If you’re already hooked into the Apple ecosystem with your library synced up in iTunes, it really is a no brainer to try out Apple Music. Users can add up to 100,000 of their own songs to the app’s streaming library via iCloud Music Library. The ability to have all of your purchased music and an extensive streaming library in one place is no doubt hugely convenient for music lovers, as this also helps the service to tailor new suggestions based on your previous listening history.
While listening to your own tunes on Apple Music is completely free, users also have access to the freebie internet radio stations. Although this can be a great way to discover new music, be warned, it will chew through data if you’re not connected to WiFi. Thus, giving Apple Music a try – at least for the free three month trial period – is definitely worth it, particularly if you are already a devout Apple user.
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