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In the immediate aftermath of the Apple Music announcement, the internet was awash with negativity – equal parts indifference, disappointment and ridicule.

“It’s just another streaming service,” said some, while others simply yawned.

The commentators have a point – very little about Apple Music is genuinely fresh. And yet, it might just revolutionise the industry. Contrary to popular belief, Apple’s greatest strength is not its inventions. The company’s real talent lies in its capacity to rework and polish existing ideas, before using considerable resources to maximise reach.

The company’s plan is to target swathes of consumers and jolt their enthusiasm for music with some of the best features on the market, which the company says is currently ‘a fragmented mess’. It's a strategy that worked with MP3 players, tablets and smartphones, which all went stratospheric after the Apple treatment. Now history looks set to repeat itself with music.

User engagement will be the easy part. The company already has numbers on its side. As of April 2014, Apple boasted 800 million iTunes accounts, all with immediate access to Apple Music as soon as the company flicks the switch. In effect, iTunes could be the most effective Trojan Horse ever.

This preinstalled user base easily eclipses all Apple rivals. And then there’s the three-month free trial, which will no doubt ramp numbers up further. If even 10 per cent of these people stay subscribed after the trial, Apple would already be miles ahead of its nearest rival.

As for the features, they’re nothing new, but nobody has yet managed to combine these disparate elements into a singularly digestible offering.

MORE: Apple Music - everything you need to know


Sound quality

Apple already has 800 million iTunes users, dwarfing the subscriber numbers of rival music services

But what of audio quality? Well, Apple is about fighting smart, not fighting hard. It has previously drawn the line at 256kbps, and seemingly has no interest in an arms race of sampling rates and bit depths. It is content leaving that to the likes of Tidal and Qobuz.

This approach may not chime with audiophiles, but in the end it's almost inconsequential if Apple succeeds. The very fact that the company has entered the fray means music streaming is no longer a niche concern.

If nothing else, Apple’s millions of dollars will serve to increase consumer awareness. Competition will heat up, standards will improve, and hopefully breed a healthier music industry. As Sony Music CEO Doug Morris put it: “A rising tide lifts all ships.” Whatever happens, one thing is certain: music consumption has just entered a new phase.

MORE: Apple Music bitrate reported to be 256kbps

More after the break

Apple Music will be released on 30th June as part of iOS 8.4


Big Aura's picture

is the service limited to

is the service limited to Apple phones, or will it work on Android?

800m iTunes accounts - but how many are active?  How many have iPhones attached? I've an iTunes account I've not opened in 3 years.  

Ced Yuen's picture

Android support (and Apple TV

Android support (and Apple TV support) coming in 'Fall 2015'.

That's the thing about figures: it's a number that Apple has boasted but there's no telling whether it accounts for duplicate accounts, or how many are being used. We'll try to dig up some numbers for 'active' or paying users.

johnjay's picture

Apple's oranges

"Apple’s greatest strength is not its inventions. The company’s real talent lies in its capacity to rework and polish existing ideas..."

Says a lot. They have never had a problem investing millions in original ideas from the shoulders of giants. Now they are the giant crushing the giants who innovated all their products & features, some maybe at beta, but apple seem to have a micro-fibre cloth that can cover up the original innovating Co's DNA...

bigfish786's picture

Streaming services

I honestly can't see any of them surviving. There isn't enough money being made from services.

apple has a few quid, so they can wait it out, wait till all the other companies go bust, then the only option will be to use apple for streaming. 

They'll probably start charging a fee to have an iTunes account then.

me, I couldn't care less. 

Buy a CD player, and buy a couple of CDs a month. You'll soon have a great collection. 

RogerThat's picture

800 million users?

I do agree that competition will probably be good for the consumer, but I suspect that those 800m users is nothing but a highly inflated number.

 I opened my iTunes account a few years ago, when I bought my first (and only) iPhone 3gs. Later, I bought the retina iPad and all over these years, I only bought a few apps for both devices, but not a single song (and I love music much more than I love gadgets).

Then I switched to Android, and the same thing happened. I have a paid account on Spotify (for the convenience of it) and I don't plan on switching for anything but (maybe) Tidal (my current collection of CD's and stored lossless music makes Tidal a less obvious investment at the moment).

But is it Apple announcing my account as an active user, even if I didn't buy anything on iTunes for years (not even apps)? Is Apple announcing inactive accounts from all the people that made the switch from iOS to Android over the years?

Let's wait and see, but we should keep in mind that Apple had a huge number of registered accounts when they launched Ping (which was supposed to be "the next big thing". 

And I'm still typing this on the same iPad. Wink


MattEssex's picture


I can see me switching from a paid Spotify subscription as I always stream my music but the ability to use Siri in the car to play any song I fancy is a big selling point. At the moment I just stick with playlists I have made but being able to say play the top songs by, or hey Siri play top songs in rock will make my journeys a bit more tolerable I hope.

landzw's picture

Always so much negativity

Always so much negativity when it comes to Apple, but why get yourselfs all worked up on numbers? Who cares? If the project works for Apple than its a good thing for all of us regardless if you like Apple or not as this will push others into there own little adventure (see how it works android user?) 

Roger you can still use iTunes with Android when it comes to music just as it works the same with my Windows phone and there will be an app for android for the music stream/radio station, and my guess it will work from iTunes toooooooo.

But for those who like music and not stuck in there ways this maybe a good thing, i will give the one month trial ago before i start losing sleep over 800m registered users (surely that cannot be right)