As a loyal Spotify listener and playlist maker, the recent news of Apple’s impending launch of Apple Music (June 30th) had me incredibly curious as to what the recent venture from the tech giant would offer me versus my current trusty headphone companion of the last 3 years. For anyone who knows me, it’s no secret I’m a Spotify advocate.
Next minute, there I am watching the Keynote presentation from this week’s World Wide Developer’s Conference just to hear it from the source itself. This I will point out is something I’ve never done, yet I decided that if I was going to be diplomatic in my Apple Music versus Spotify debate, it would only be fair for me to suck it up and hear it first-hand.
Now, before I make any commentary and also having now taken one for the team navigating the 1hr 44min Keynote presentation, I thought it would only be fair to share what I learnt from the presentation. Here it is…
Apple Music is their long awaited (and a little late if you ask me) solution to the “fragmented mess” that is the current music industry (their words, not mine). Essentially, it’s an ecosystem of music content that allows users to:
- Stream everything from iTunes – ‘My Music’
- Tune in to the world’s first live 24/7 global radio station – ‘Beats One’
- Connect with artists and connect artists with fans – ‘@Connect’
From my POV:
The streaming part is obviously the bread and butter to help it match its competitors – ability to stream what you want, when you want, curate playlists, follow playlists and stream songs based on individual taste. No surprises there!
I think the world’s first live 24/7 global radio station is a cool idea, in essence. In practice however, it will be interesting to see how people engage with something that is built for (literally) the masses when music preference is such a personal and culturally driven thing. This will definitely be something to watch, I can’t wait to see how this evolves and if it eventually becomes even more segmented to cater to various international and cultural music tastes.
For me, the most interesting part and quite possibly the thing that will win me over (sorry Spotify) is what it can do for artists & fans in bringing them closer together. Through @Connect Apple Music any artist, no matter how big or small, can use it as a platform for sharing content in all forms (images, video, music) for which fans can then like and comment. For artists, this means they can publish any content from one central hub and share to other social channels as they wish. For fans, this means they can follow the artist in one place and access all kinds of content (instead of having to get it in various forms from Facebook AND Instagram AND Twitter).
So now that we know what it does for artists and fans, being the marketer that I am, my next question was of course ‘well, what does it do for brands?’ This for now is still little uncertain but what we do know is that you have to pay for it ($9.99 a month) so there is unlikely to be a free ad-served option. But let’s face it, if it becomes as big as any other Apple venture I don’t think they will be turning up their noses to the odd advertising dollar.
For now, and in a market where consumers crave content and Apple Music is claiming to be a hub for artists to share content to connect with fans – this is where I see the big opportunity for brands. Cleverly partnering with artists (big or emerging) to bring to life their brand stories in innovative ways through artist led content that we know the fans will love. If brands are smart, there should be no need for an ad-served opportunity that users will most likely hate anyway. If you’re smart about it, partner with artists and music and build something from the ground up – create the content together and use Apple Music as the vehicle to reach an engaged audience.
So until we know more, the conclusion in my Apple Music versus Spotify debate? For now, inconclusive! Well, at least until I sign-up on June 30th for my free 3 month access.
World Wide Developer’s Conference http://www.apple.com/live/2015-june-event/