Apple Music becoming a virtual record label?

“Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine says streaming services are too similar – and need to diversify to survive,” Mark Savage reports for The BBC. “‘The streaming services are all charging $9.99 and everyone has the same music,’ he told the BBC. ‘And it’s really nice. You get whatever song you want, you get your playlists – but there’s got to be more interaction between the artist and the audience. Sooner or later, something’s got to give,’ he said, indicating that Apple Music wanted more original content.”

“Apple has had some success with exclusives in the past, scoring big hits with Drake’s Views and Frank Ocean’s Blonde,” Savage reports. “But it has recently moved away from the strategy, preferring to invest in filmed content, including the Carpool Karaoke series, and its Beats 1 radio station, which boasts shows presented by Elton John, Drake and St Vincent.”

“The company’s chief rival, Spotify, has largely avoided exclusives. However it released its ‘first ever original new song’ – by up-and-coming pop singers Nina Nesbitt, Charlotte Lawrence and Sahsa Sloan – earlier this week, indicating ambitions to become a virtual record label,” Savage reports. “Apple has previously denied rumours it would “phase out” the iTunes download store next year, but Iovine told the BBC such a move was inevitable. There is no concrete timescale, but he said: ‘If I’m honest, it’s when people stop buying. It’s very simple.’ Iovine was speaking to the BBC a few days before the Wall Street Journal reported he would step back from day-to-day involvement in Apple’s streaming business and move into a consulting role.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple Music already is differentiated, the company just needs to trumpet things like size of library, Beats 1 exclusive programming, and exclusive music from the rooftops. Right now, the marketing for Apple Music sucks.

You’d have to be stupid to subscribe to Spotify when it has 33% fewer tracks than Apple Music for the same price. Apple Music boasts a catalog of 45 million songs; Spotify has a mere subset of just 30 million. Don’t be stupid. If you’re still subscribing to Spotify, it’s past time for you to cancel it and upgrade to Apple Music. (See also: How to move your Spotify playlists to Apple Music.)MacDailyNews, February 6, 2017

Currently, Apple Music succeeds in spite of itself, thanks simply to the vast size of its addressable audience.

Simple mathematics makes it blatantly obvious what’s going to happen to Pandora.MacDailyNews, September 24, 2013

Apple Music has rendered Spotify’s future decidedly dimmer.

The best customers are those who pay. As demonstrated by years of data, form disparate sources, those paying customers are also significantly more likely to be iPhone owners than those who’ve settled for poor iPhone facsimiles. A healthy portion of these coveted customers will leave for Apple’s comprehensive offering which offers better family rates, more music, likely exclusives, and seamless integration across all Apple devices. It’ll even work with crappy Windows PCs and Android phones eventually (not that those are likely to be Spotify’s paying customers, but whatever, some of them will join Apple Music and maybe even graduate to Apple devices because of it).

Spotify could quickly be left with an unprofitable system, with a dwindling music library because they cannot afford to pay music royalties. — MacDailyNews, June 9, 2015

Spotify is a poor man’s Apple Music. The demographics in this race, as ever, greatly favor Apple in the long run. — MacDailyNews, January 3, 2018

Apple Music hits 38 million paid subscribers – March 12, 2018
Apple Music expands student membership pricing to 82 new countries – February 13, 2018
Apple Music poised to knock off Spotify – February 12, 2018
Apple Music was always going to win – February 6, 2018
Apple Music on track to overtake Spotify, become No. 1 streaming service in U.S. this summer – February 4, 2018
Apple Music and Spotify now account for the majority of music consumption in the UK – January 3, 2018
Spotify files for its IPO – January 3, 2018
Spotify hit with $1.6 billion lawsuit from music publisher – January 2, 2018
Apple Music passes Pandora and Spotify in mobile usage – March 29, 2017
Spotify hits 50 million paid subscribers – March 3, 2017
Apple Music surpasses 20 million paid members 17 months after launch – December 6, 2016
Oh ok, Spotify listeners are upgrading to Apple Music – July 19, 2015
Spotify CEO claims to be ‘ok’ with Apple Music – June 9, 2015


  1. “The music companies loved the idea of subscriptions because they wanted to jack up the price every year. It was a money-driven thing, some finance person looked at AOL getting paid every month and said, ‘I’d sure like to get some of that recurring subscription revenue. Wouldn’t that be nice?’ It was certainly not a user-driven thing. Nobody ever went out and asked users, ‘Would you like to keep paying us every month for music that you thought you already bought?’ We told them, “Nobody wants to subscribe to music. They’ve bought it for 50 years. They bought 45s, they bought LPs, they bought 8-tracks, they bought cassettes, they bought CDs. Why would they want to start renting their music? People like to buy it and they like to do what they damn well please with it when they buy it”. The subscription model of buying music was bankrupt. I think you could’ve made available the Second Coming in a subscription model and it might not have been successful.”

    “Discovering and buying music on a computer and downloading it to the iPod in our opinion is one of the geniuses of the iPod. An interesting thing that we learned was that you could only buy about 20% of the catalog that a record label owns. Like if you take Warner, great record company, you could buy about 20% of their songs, because the rest of them didn’t sell enough for the record stores to carry the CDs. They wouldn’t carry the inventory, so 80% of music we had never heard over the last few decades. It was in a fault somewhere, but it was not on the record store shelves, well when you didn’t have inventory like in an online store all of a sudden that catalog could open up, and you can find stuff you never heard before.”

    excerpt from: steve jobs: the unauthorized biography

    1. Obviously Steve was wrong. I don’t like the subscription model for either, but clearly millenials and Gen Z, as well as a lot of others will pay (or get their parents to pay) for subscriptions.

      1. I’ve spent a couple thousand downloading from iTunes over the past 15 years (I believe I’m pretty much average). That works out to about $130/year.

        During that time iTunes upgrades caused me to lose about 400 songs (mostly ripped from CD/DVDs I own).

        I resisted Spotify and Apple Music because their formats sucked a big one. But with my purchase of a HomePod, I have been reintroduced to Apple Music, and find it much better than before. Is there room for improvement? There is always room for improvement in anything/everything.

        I now find streaming the best alternative. I can’t lose any more music and the cost (average monthly) is less than I have spent in the last 15 years.

        Oh, I’m a baby boomer aged 71.

  2. Yes, marketing at Apple truly blows. Tim Cook is nothing but a caretaker CEO. He does nothing at all remotely innovative. Apple Music should be incredibly more successful than it is. It is profoundly embarrassing to Apple to STILL be trailing Spotify years after launch. Apple Music should be marketed until everyone on the planet knows about it. I know several people with iPhones who have no idea what Apple Music is.

    Nice job Tim.

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