“When it comes to music streaming, it is looking like Apple waited too long to get into the game,” Micah Singleton writes for The Verge. “As of October, Apple Music has 6.5 million paid users, which is a great number for paying subscribers for such a young service. But Apple Music’s biggest problem is and will continue to be that millions and millions of people stream music for free from other services, and have little incentive to switch to a paid music service.”
“Let’s lay out just how large the head start its competitors have. Apple Music is essentially in fourth place, miles behind Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube, and all the companies ahead of Apple are only getting bigger and better,” Singleton writes. “Pandora, which has 78 million active users, just bought Rdio and has plans to launch an on-demand service late next year, giving its users an in-house option and push it into direct competition with Apple Music. Spotify announced it had 75 million users in June, and expects to reach 100 million users by the end of the month. YouTube — which is easily the largest music streaming service — just launched a standalone YouTube Music app to make it easier to stream audio content.”
Singleton writes, “Even if Apple somehow manages to grow its user base ten times over, it’s still only at 65 million users, and it’s not at all clear that would slow down growth from Spotify and YouTube.”
MacDailyNews Take: No, Apple did not wait too long to get into music streaming.
Comparing free services to Apple Music is disingenuous. It’s Apple’s and oranges. When you compare Apple’s to apples, you’ll see that 6.5 million paying members (it’s likely significantly more now, BTW) is 2nd only to Spotify’s 20 million. Apple Music is only 5 months old. Spotify is 9 years old. In which universe is garnering 32.5% of the market leader’s total paying customers in 4.63% of the time considered “late?” Puleeze. Spare us the B.S., Micah.
Artists and labels don’t like the free tiers. They routinely complain that they aren’t getting paid properly. CarPlay is just now arriving in vehicles where much music consumption occurs and, oh-by-the-way, Apple Music is front and center on CarPlay. And all the while, Apple is selling hundreds of millions of devices with Apple Music pre-loaded per year while Spotify sells none. Suffice to say, there’s much to shake out.
So, no, Apple did not “wait too long to get into music streaming.”
Okay, it’s Dichotomy Time! Micah now makes an about-face from hit-whoring nonsense into actually making perfect sense:
“After five months, Apple Music on iOS is still filled with bugs. Using the service on the desktop isn’t any better, as you have to once again deal with iTunes on a daily basis like this is 2008,” Singleton writes. “Apple Music also needs a standalone desktop app far, far removed iTunes, one of the least beloved pieces of software Apple has created.”
“Earlier this year, Apple replaced iPhoto and Aperture with Photos for OS X, which has been a step up for most users. It should do the same for iTunes and build a new Music app for the desktop from the ground up,” Singleton writes. “And Apple can’t wait until WWDC every June to make significant improvements to Apple Music. It should move to a more frequent update schedule to keep people engaged in the service.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Agreed. iTunes with Apple Music bolted onto it is really an abysmal, Microsoftian experience.
One pet peeve of many (fix this, Apple): in iTunes Store, you can see the popularity of each track. This helps you quickly sample new albums. You start with the most popular tracks when deciding if you like the new album. Switch over to “Apple Music” — which, by the way, means clicking not “Apple Music,” but the rather incongruously-named “New” — and check out an album there: No popularity is available. Have fun flying blind, iTunes users! Obviously, Apple knows how many times each track has been streamed. Display that as “popularity” (or if it’s such a big secret, use iTunes Store’s “popularity” data in Apple Music, at least). It’ll provide the exact same guidance for users. Maddening, thoughtless, sloppy, un-Apple-like discrepancies like this abound in the iTunes/Apple Music experience.
Apple, especially under Steve Jobs, has shown a great and admirable willingness to cannibalize themselves. They obliterated their iPod business with the iPhone, for one example. But, when it comes to iTunes, they seem paralyzed by fear of change. Apple paralyzed by fear is not a pretty thing and it doesn’t yield pretty things. It yields hot messes like iTunes.
iTunes screams to be broken up into separate, streamlined apps. It’s been screaming that for years. But Apple seems to be scared silly to do so — perhaps 800+ million credit cards have something to do with it — so they’ve tinkered around the edges, making questionable tweaks here and there and bolting on even more bloat.
Grow a pair, Apple, and do what needs to be done already. — MacDailyNews Take, July 17, 2015
Should iTunes be split into 16 different apps? – October 20, 2015
The tragedy of iTunes: Nothing ‘just works’ – July 28, 2015
Dear Apple, please go thermonuclear on iTunes – July 28, 2015
Marco Arment: iTunes is a toxic hellstew – July 27, 2015
Jim Dalrymple: I got (most of) my music back; Apple working to fix Apple Music issues shortly – July 26, 2015
Jim Dalrymple: Apple Music is a nightmare, and I’m done with it – July 23, 2015
Apple’s iTunes: Whatever happened to ‘It Just Works? – July 17, 2015
The iTunes Report: Still a mess – July 14, 2015
Apple releases iTunes 12.2.1, fixes iTunes Match issues – July 13, 2015
Apple Music, both on iOS and OS X, is an embarrassing and confusing mess – July 10, 2015
iTunes 12.2 is mangling network-shared libraries – July 6, 2015
Serious iTunes Match issues for some users ahead of Apple Music launch – June 26, 2015
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015