Bobbing for Apple: Will Apple Music Float Or Sink?

On Monday, Apple unveiled plans to enter the music streaming service arena, debuting their design for Apple Music. Naturally, we disagree on how successful this streaming service will be. 

Ben
By Apple standards, Apple music is going to tank. They’re just way too far behind the Spotify cocaine bag.

Siya
O_o Ya think??? I wholeheartedly disagree.

Ben
There’s nothing differentiating it from the other services. It’s the same music at the same price point. So why should I switch? All my playlists are already built on other platforms. You think I have the time to rebuild Morning Commutes on that shit? No. I barely have time to post this week.

Siya
1. They have hundreds of millions of users already vertically connected via devices, and iTunes Store accounts ALREADY (complete with credit cards.) That’s HALF the battle.

  1. They have hella deals ALREADY ironed out with the major content owners (labels)… Spotify continues to have this debate back and forth with labels AND artists (see Taylor Swift, see Beatles, see virtually every label). (And/or Tidal – which while not grabbing any significant market share was a very visible PR statement on content curation and ownership)

All this did Apple a HUGE favor… They barely have to bargain ANYTHING (they’re still the best bet in town for artists AND record labels). They’re STILL the most streamlined and scalable record delivery system for all parties involved  – from recording studio, to digital player (mobile or otherwise).

Ben
The Beatles won’t be on Apple’s streaming service, but Taylor Swift will.  I suppose that’s a win, but Spotify sure didn’t seem hurt by losing their Starbucks lover.  And yes, I will concede that 800 million credit cards is a huge, undeniable number.  But it’s no sure thing that Apple will convince those people to sign up. If they’ve been holding out on streaming music, is this what’s going to get them to start now?

There’s a reason no social media platform ever overtook Facebook (and probably won’t). People get comfortable with what they know and they want to be where their friends are. In the case of Facebook and Spotify, their stuff and friends are already there. If you’ve been on a platform like Spotify for four years, that’s a lot of history, a lot of playlists made, and a lot of algorithmic success already in play. You know the platform and the platform knows you. It’s cultivated for you. You’re comfortable in that environment. There’s no reason to switch for the exact same music (plus Taylor Swift) at the exact same price point.

Siya
I mean… that is unless you own an iPhone, and have iTunes on ya computer/tablet, and Apple TV and an Apple Watch getting ready to rain music all over ya life, home, and eventually car
Also before Spotify you HAD the EXACT same conundrum in switching. What’s a tougher switch? Going from the ecosystem that has all ya hardware, music files, and credit card already – to a new streaming service (Spotify) orrr the other way around?

Ben
The original conversion to Spotify for its current user base was a vastly different conversion. It was going from “owning” digital downloads at 99 cents a pop to paying for the right to stream without ads. Sure, there were the Napsters and the Pandora subscribers, maybe even a few fool on Zune music (moment of silence for our dearly departed), but Spotify let you play literally (meaning figuratively – shout out to The Beatles straight up chillin’ like “nope”) anything you wanted whenever you wanted, without an additional financial commitment. People who still download individual tracks might eventually be sucked into Apple’s new streaming ecosystem, yes. But Apple’s trying to play catchup in a race they’re 75 million (20 million paid) lengths back. I’m not saying it’s going to be Tidal, but it’s not going to do for them what their original iTunes Store did for them. It’s too late for that.

Siya
While I see your point, Spotify is cash-strapped as PHUCK… a problem that will only get worse as they lose market share in the streaming space (especially to those who will now switch back). Apple has north of $170 BILLION in cash to throw at advertising, placing, and marketing this as the new standard of music. Streaming together with the first ever 24/7 Worldwide Radio curated by the best DJs AND artists (whose music is already on the platform for streaming).  That all makes this launch a CNN of Radio AND the “New Deal” Apple desperately needed in a newly competitive space… Forget that force-feeding us a U2 album stunt.

This is EASILY Spotify’s biggest headache since conception…one that could turn out to be a stroke. It might not kill em, might even strengthen them if they adapt and capitalize on streaming being the new norm (now endorsed by the biggest record distributor), but “tanking” or “failure” on Apple’s part here is highly unlikely. Just by concept (haven’t seen footage), This is easily one of their best and most impactful product launches in the post-Steve-Era, even Top 10 EVER.

Ben 
I highly doubt Internet radio with real DJs is going to decide the streaming battle, considering Internet radio with real DJs has existed for two DECADES now. Apple Music can’t live up to Apple’s standards because they should have been in this game YEARS ago. And they would have been if VISIONARY LEADER STEVE JOBS didn’t have the misplaced belief that people wouldn’t go for streaming services, even though at that time 60 some million Americans had cable, which is essentially a video streaming service without the power of options. I agree it can’t completely flop, hell Apple can run it at a loss forever just for the rights to stream YOUTHFUL POP music in ads and it would be worth the cost to them. But this isn’t changing music. It’s just another fish in a pond too packed to monopolize. There isn’t any revolutionary thinking here. If this is Apple’s biggest post Jobs launch, it’s telling that it’s VISONARY LEADER STEAVE JOBS’ fault they’re so far behind, and how little innovation there is left in a company that keeps running out retreaded ideas like they’re solid gold turds. They’re chasing. That’s not the Job’s Apple version of history we’re being sold on a daily basis. They were never supposed to be behind the curve. But that’s all they are now. Watches. Streaming services. Hell, dipping their toes in the self driving car arena when they can’t even make maps. That’s reacting to the landscape, not creating it.

Siya 
Addressing the “chasing” point, Apple was not the first touch-screen-phone company, nor the first mp3 provider, nor the first tablet, nor first wearable. In fact, it’s a perception-misconception that they’re EVER first to ANYTHING they’re doing. They tend to learn lessons from suckas who tried and made mistakes first with some of their best product launches (with the exception of social-network, PING).

Ben
Right. They weren’t the first to market with any of those ideas, but they were the first to do those things SUCCESSFULLY. In the past, Apple made a killing by renovating ideas and products that other companies couldn’t make successful. There are already successful companies doing the things they’re rolling out now. And they sure as hell aren’t innovating. Hence, they’re chasing.

I’ll give you the last word: Convince ME to switch.

Siya
Last-word? YOU are far from the normal consumer of Apple products, software, music, or a combination of the above. But, the vast majority of consumers want ease of use and vertical connectivity. If they could help it, the average user would have EVERYTHING they want come from ONE app as soon as they consider or desire it. That is the Holy Grail that Apple has chased in the smart-phone era. Vertical integration. It WORKS. It’s what’s wholly responsible for them being the most cash-healthy company on earth currently. It’s why Apple Music will take over…
ONE MORE THING, just in case 80% of the worldwide smartphone market (Android users) feels left out, Apple is making an exception to their usual iOS app exclusivity. Apple Music will be available on Android, as well. Party ON!

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3 thoughts on “Bobbing for Apple: Will Apple Music Float Or Sink?

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