The evolution of distributing music is a fascinating and long journey to learn about. Music that was once given to consumers physically is now being handed to us digitally. In the last two decades music has become more accessible than ever before. No longer do we have to burn CDs from our big desktop from LimeWire or use our voice memos to record music that we would like to purchase. No longer do we have to separate prices for music individually. In this present age we are able to listen to songs through our phones and download because of streaming platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud, and Apple Music. In researching the different types of streaming platforms, I found that most consumers usually go to what is already provided for them. For many, the company Apple is very popular with the younger population of listeners and that’s why I decided to research Apple Music as a digital service provider.
Apple Music is a digital music service provider owned by Apple Inc and is the second largest streaming service to their competitor Spotify. Formally known as iTunes Music, Apple Music was founded on June 30th, 2015. Almost 19 years ago, former CEO Steve Jobs announced a new software system that was coming to Apple. In 2001, Steve believed that the future of Music was leading into the digital age. As MP3s were getting more popular, music was being downloaded from the computers, He explained that the people would use their computers to rip cd, download music playlists onto them, and burn the cd to listen to the music in their cars. Although Apple was very late to the digital music scene, iTunes set the tone for the rise of digital music around the world. For the Next 15 years Apple would create the iPod, The iTunes Music Store, and more than 12 versions of the iTunes software. Within those 15 years as a service, competitions were growing in the digital streaming realm and iTunes tried to provide more services within the iTunes app (iTunes Radio). After 14 years, iTunes began to slow down and they needed to rebrand their business to compete with the new streaming apps on the market. In 2014, Apple met with Jimmy Ivined and Dr Dre, (Former owners of Beats Music) and from that meeting Jimmy and Dr Dre sold their company to Apple.
On June 30th, 2015, Apple music was created as a new and improved streaming service. Apple Music has almost 68 million listeners Around and available in 167 countries. Apple provides almost 60,000,000 songs in their catalog alone. With an Apple subscription user are able to download music and play on-demand. Users are able to create their own playlists and the company makes personalized algorithm playlists that are shown from the music that each listener is listening to. Apple provides a 24-hour curated radio station called Beats 1. Beats 1 features songs that are curated by DJs and sometimes artists. Apple Music also has music videos, exclusive album releases, and documentaries that are not available on any other platform. The Subscription for Apple Music is $9.99 for single users, $14.99 for families, and 4.99 for students. First time users are able to use the first 6 months to listen to music for free and after that term you have to pay. Although Apple music is run by Apple Inc, you can still download the app from PC, Android, and any other mobile device. As Music companies and unsigned artists are able to use Apple Music to distribute their music onto the platform. Artists are only paid 0.000675for each stream on Apple music which makes the company the leading service provider for paying artists. For every 1,000 streams that are Played on the app, Artists are paid 12 dollars from it. For artists, this isn’t a lot of money as they pay way more to produce the songs that are released.
As I mentioned in the introduction, Apple music is the Second highest Music streaming platform in the world and Spotify beats them for the first-place spot for streaming. The Subscription for Apple Music is $9.99 for single users, $14.99 for families for up to six people, and 4.99 for students, while Spotify is $10 month and $4.99. If you buy Spotify premium, there is a Free ad supported tier for listeners but with apple music there is not. The prices of each app are very affordable for listeners, especially for college students. Both Spotify and Apple music has a ginormous catalog of music within their app. As apple music has 60 million songs that can be searched, they also add almost 40,000 thousand songs per day within their app. Spotify on the other hand carries about 50, 000 million songs within the app but as apple music, sends out 40,000 songs throughout the app as well. When it comes to exclusive releases from the app Apple others Artist deals on release of their unheard music with the app attracting listeners to be more active on their app while Spotify doesn’t do as much exclusives on their platform.
When it comes to radio interaction Apple Music has the 24-hour beats music radio station where they could connect with their fans or you can listen to cool segments through the radio station. Unlike Apple Music, Spotify has an algorithm radio which is personalized for each artist that you listen to. Both Spotify and Apple Music have different features that they focus on Apple Music has focused more on videos on their platform while Spotify has focused more on podcasts on their platform which is great for users who enjoy listening or watching those types of things.
Within the last five years of Apple Music being in business there has been a few Artist that can attest that their very successful throughout the app. AM has took the initiative to offer Artist exclusive deals within the app, for Example Album release, interviews , and other Artist promo for listeners to be interested in. When we talk about Artist having success on the app, I think of Rapper Drake. According to Music Business Worldwide, Drake made over 100 million dollars from listeners through Apple music and Spotify alone. In 2018 Apple reports that Drake has over 10.1 Billion streaming on apple music making him the first to do so at time (Music Business Worldwide). When his Album More life was release was stream 300 Million times within it first week. For the Album Drake and Apple music teamed up for an exclusive one-week album release before any other streaming app. Back 2016 Independent Rapper Chance the Rapper Signed a deal with Apple Music for exclusive and A commercial for 500,000 for a span of 2 weeks on their app. According to the New York Times Chance felt like he needed to clear the air with His fans as Chance has also righteous professed that he will never sign his right over to a record company. Chance Explains “I feel like if I didn’t clear it up people would keep trying to discredit all the work, we did to make Coloring Book what it became,” (Chance twitter).
Within my research, I wanted to hear from people who I either know or follow through social media. I was interested in hearing what people my age thought about the way they listen to music. The first question I asked was which streaming services do you as consumer use. Four people said they use Apple music, seventeen people said they use Spotify, 2 people said that they use SoundCloud and one person said they use tidal. When asked if they pay for a membership for these apps 86% said they do while 14% don’t pay for subscriptions at all. When asked if they would pay full price for an Album, Ep, Single, etc., 63% percent said yes and 37% percent no. I also gave them room to discuss and many why they would or not. The comments from the voters were interesting. Most said that it was only right to support the artist in that way as many artists don’t make a lot of streams and many said it is not beneficial as they already pay streaming apps like Apple music, money to listen to any song they want. I found these statements quite interesting as they were many people who actually release music themselves. I also asked them which Platform is better for Artists to pay their royalties through these Streaming Apps and 60 percent said Spotify and 40 percent said Apple music. From these polls I realized that a lot of people are big fans of Apple and even though 24 people answered yes to Spotify, it is still a very popular streaming app within my voters. Also, I found it very interesting that many listeners would buy Artist music for full price, it made me overjoyed that non artist would support Artist in that way. I also found it very interesting that many people would prefer Apple Music. I thought to myself, maybe since typically a lot of phone users prefer Apple over any of these other devices that they probably wanted to have the same streaming app as their phone provider. It would make sense since Apple Music is already downloaded within Apple phones and it is very accessible to use.
Even though I am a Spotify user, I enjoyed researching Apple music. I think the future of Apple Music will consist of more Virtual Performances within the app. Within the digital realm, Apple has the chance to take over the video interview and music video realm one day. I also do think that they will come close to Spotify when it comes to algorithm playlisting. Also, with Beat 1 I do think that a rise of digital radio will come within the feature and Apple music will tackle that market since they have the lead as well.