The world of music streaming, currently lead by the pioneering Swedish company Spotify is set for a re-shuffle with the addition of Apple Music, launching June 30th.
Digital music market leader Apple has announced their new streaming service, Apple Music, at their keynote speech delivered by CEO Tim Cook in San Francisco. Since the wild success (less so for the artists) of Spotify, the music streaming world is rapidly becoming more saturated with other contenders scrambling for a piece of the pie, it was only a matter of time before Apple decided to join the party.
In Apple’s traditional and almost aggressive ‘holier than thou’ approach they claim ‘It will change the way you experience music forever’. At this stage it is difficult to tell how innovative Apple Music can be with so many similar services available to users. Jay-Z recently released Tidal, a streaming platform bringing lossless audio music to the table. Backed by Rihanna, Kanye West and several other high profile artists including Jack White and of course Beyonce, Tidal has the potential to make waves in the industry. But is there really enough demand for high fidelity music streaming to sustain Tidal? And what can Apple Music offer users to draw them away from other more established services?
Apple has emphasised the artistic importance of music and promise to deliver a cohesive streamlined environment for music to be enjoyed. Their opinion that ‘the music industry is fragmented’ would suggest their intentions to create a platform where music tracks, videos, news and other content can be found in one place, eliminating the need to artists to spread their material across multiple platforms and potentially rendering some of them redundant.
Perhaps their new Beats1 international radio station, anchored by Zane Lowe in LA and included in the Apple Music service can attract enough users for Apple’s continued domination of the online music market.
Recently, Tidal has experienced turbulence as a fledgling streaming service seeing the exit of two CEOs this year. Interim Tidal CEO Peter Tonstad left the company after serving in the position for only three months. The music-streaming firm will be overseen by current executives in New York and Oslo until its transition to a new permanent CEO is in place. The company has not yet hinted at a replacement for Tonstad but has said it is ‘thankful to Peter for stepping in as interim CEO and wish him the best for the future.’ So far Tidal has enticed 770,000 paying subscribers compared to Spotify’s impressive 20 million.
Apple Music has experienced problems concerning its audacious decision to not pay royalties to artists in the 3 month free trial period. Keen to avoid tarnishing its reputation before it even launches, the company has since U-turned on its plan after receiving heavy criticism from artists and labels alike, most notably from country-pop star Taylor Swift who slammed Apple’s policies online. Calling out the company’s proposed strategy she called the decision ‘shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company’. Swift gained widespread support for her views and in doing so has secured a fair deal for artists and labels signing up to the music giant’s service.
After picking up on Swift’s rant, senior vice president of internet services and software Eddy Cue announced a change in policy had been made the next day.
‘Apple will always make sure that artist are paid #iTunes #AppleMusic,’ he wrote.
‘#AppleMusic will pay artists for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period. We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple (sic).’
Set to launch on June 30th, Apple Music will cost £9.99 per month.