Everyone knows that Apple is rich and powerful. So few will be surprised to know that despite arriving late to the party, the Cupertino company now seems to be winning major battles in the war of streaming music.
According to the Wall Street Journal , Apple Music is about to dethrone Spotify as the most popular music streaming service in the United States. In fact, it may have already done so.
The WSJ report is not reliable, although its conclusions seem inevitable. Because Spotify and Apple do not report accurate figures, the newspaper sifts what we already know about the growth of each company, and uses estimates to predict how many people (who pay or not) are using the services.
People who work with the music company and who know the values told the WSJ that Apple Music is gaining new users in the US at a monthly growth rate of 5% while Spotify is behind at 2%.
It does not take many accounts to realize that Apple poses a real threat to Spotify in something Spotify basically invented ten years ago. The success of Apple Music should seem almost insulting to Spotify, too, as the Swedish company is allegedly preparing an initial public offering.
These numbers only provide part of the scenario, however. Although Spotify said it reached 70 million global users last month, it seems Apple Music and its 36 million global users are now dominating the US market, which is also the world’s largest music market. In its latest earnings report , Apple did not specify how many subscribers were from the US, although it said its service category, of which Apple Music is a part, saw an 18% jump in revenue. Even without the millions and millions of people currently enjoying their free trials, the number of North American users of Apple Music is now roughly equal to that of Spotify, according to the Wall Street Journal. If you include these free tests and assume that several of them will forget to cancel the subscription when the account arrives, Apple Music may already be defeating Spotify in the United States.
These are staggering statistics, but this is where inevitability comes into play. Because all Apple devices come preloaded with Apple Music, several service users start using ii. It has become the musical equivalent of Microsoft pushing Internet Explorer to people.
Many had speculated Apple Music’s success simply because Apple was big and rich enough to achieve this. Think of it this way: Spotify became successful after its release in 2011, largely because music enthusiasts had seen their streaming model succeed globally and wanted to test this thing in a new way . After all, there was nothing like it at the time, and Americans love to feel innovative. But quicl, Spotify stopped looking special and new.
As the years went by, virtually every major technology company launched its own streaming music service. Google Play Music was released just a few months after the release of Spotify in the United States, followed by Amazon Prime Music, YouTube Music and Tidal over the next few years. All these services offered tens of millions of songs, just like Spotify, and they all cost around the same price.
And then, in 2015, Apple unveiled Apple Music, which was actually a revamped version of Beats Music, part of Apple’s $ 3 billion acquisition of Beats. It was clear how the new service would succeed. Because Apple can pre-load the service on iPhones, Apple Watches and Macs, the company was able to effectively leverage a new revenue stream without actually inventing anything. And since these people were paying, Apple could keep them stuck by adding unique content, like Chance’s Rapper’s latest album . Apple even persuaded Taylor Swift to make the streaming rights to her music exclusively to Apple Music for a year and a half .
It’s also increasingly clear that Apple wants people to sign Apple Music for more than just music. The company is about to start making high quality TV shows and, someday, movies. In recent months, Apple quietly signed contracts with heavyweights like Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Dr. Dre, Kristen Wiig and Ronald D. Moore, who made fame in Battlestar Galactica .
It’s unclear how Apple will distribute all of this premium content on video, but since Apple’s first TV shows, such as Carpool Karaoke , debuted at Apple Music, you can bet new and better shows will go as well. That said, Apple’s past attempts at original programming have been failures to pity, will know what will happen.
What we do know is that Apple will sell several HomePods in the coming months. The new smart speaker with Siri will join Amazon Echo and Google Home on the great mission of putting a voice assistant in every US home. Unlike its competitors, however, HomePod will favour Apple products. That means you can ask Siri to play Daft Punk on Apple Music, but you can not ask Siri to play Daft Punk on Spotify. You will only be able to use services other than Apple Music by connecting to HomePod via AirPlay. Siri simply does not support Spotify on HomePod.
None of this means that Apple Music is better than Spotify.
However, if Wall Street Journal numbers are correct and the trend continues, Spotify may no longer be synonymous with streaming music – at least in the US. It seems Apple will win again – not because the underdog can not hack it, but because money can, yes, buy success.