With its launch today, and everyone under the sun (it seems) discussing Apple Music, why don’t we? If you DID miss the keynote, it’s still available here for your viewing pleasure… All 144 minutes of it. How do I figure out if Apple Music is for me I hear you scream… Here are the main strengths and weaknesses from me to you.
1. The fact that Apple Music has finally caught on to streaming music is a strength in itself. On-demand streaming maneuvers Apple away from the traditional iTunes sale model so that usage and revenue does not drop.
2. For those without an iPhone, Apple Music will be available on Androids and Windows PCs “in the Autumn.” There are no further details on this and the very vague wording does not inspire great excitement just yet. And, although this is a strength, it is also obviously just another way for Apple to extend their money making reach even to those without any Apple hardware. They must really be desperate for the cash…
3. The free trial of 3 months is substantially longer than competitors. I mean, this is actually pretty great. It’s longer than Spotify, Tidal, Google and Amazon’s 30 days for free. The closest rival is Spotify, who have recently been handing out 60 days for free, offer ending 5 July. This conveniently overlaps with the launch of Apple Music. Usually, the offer is 3 months for 99 cents. As well as this, Apple’s free trial is increasingly guilt-free now that, after Taylor Swift’s input, they have agreed to pay artists royalties during this trial period.
4. The family plan allows up to 6 accounts for $14.99 a month. I can see this being extremely handy opposed to the usual text-friend-to-tell-them-to-get-off-the-shared-account situation from Spotify.
5. Beats1 radio boasts Zane Lowe, enough said.
1.There is no free tier/ad supported version unlike Spotify. But baring in mind Google, Amazon and Tidal don’t have this service either, it’s acceptable.
2. Price. Apple could not convince record labels to lower the price anymore than the rates already given to other streaming services. But as a music consumer with a conscience, I have no problem with paying every month; I can get pretty much every track ever, it’s not that bad is it?
3. Lack of exclusives. Yes, we just received the news that Taylor Swift’s 1989 will be available on Apple Music and Pharrell’s new track will be exclusively on there from release day. However, no Beatles backlog? Extra special exclusives like this from Apple would have set them apart from the rest. But really, the tracks available will be exactly the same as every other service.
4. Launch date. Apple left so long between announcement and delivery that some may just forget about it. If your direct debit is already set up for another streaming service, let’s be honest, you may never get around to switching it unless you’re reeeeally keen for Taylor Swift.
The verdict, now Apple Music is downloaded to my phone, is that I’m excited to see the responses that occur in the next few weeks and really getting to know the usability of my brand new music app. Personally, I’m not ready to let go of Spotify just yet; it’s like a trusty old friend. But maybe, just maybe, it could be replaced.