How can a company with virtually unlimited resources and clout take down Spotify the streaming giant? It can create Apple Music.
With an influx of competitors adopting Apple’s original and innovative spirit in the ever-merging world of technology and music, a question hung over the $700 billion dollar brand’s head: was Apple still the pied piper? The answer to this question is a resounding “yes,” thanks to their upcoming streaming hub, Apple Music. With the likes of TIDAL, Pandora, Rdio, Google Play, and Amazon Prime scrambling to coerce cheapskates into giving up their relationship with the very convenient (and very free, for most) Spotify, Apple has figured out how to get ten dollars out of your wallet every month with ease. Which really shouldn’t be a surprise; these are the folks behind the surge of the digital music age.
I had the opportunity to see Apple Music in action, and my final thought was, “Shut up and take my money.” The new app, the sole addition to its upcoming iOS update, is quite literally the best listening experience I’ve seen thus far. With its acquisition of Beats Electronics, LLC., Apple took the best parts of Beats Music streaming and injected it with user experience steroids. It also learned from its not-so-hot iTunes Radio, and ditched copying its competitors in an honest – and successful – effort in blowing them out of the water.
Enough with the vote of confidence. Let’s get to why Apple Music will take residence in your bank account. Utilizing your 13-year history with iTunes via your Apple ID, the service curates a personalized experience, also courtesy of a selection of your favorite genres and artists. Elementary, right? Wrong. Once it has you figured out, an editorial team of music curators present you with a candy store of pre-prepared playlists, tailored to both engaging and broadening your musical tastes. You like hip-hop, Nas, Beyonce and Fall Out Boy? Apple Music says, “Cool. Here’s this playlist, filled with your favorites, and here are these other songs too, which I’m sure you’ll like.” You can also visit genre-specific pages of playlists and albums selected by their experts. The new service additionally includes a Beats Music favorite: situation-based listening. Tell the app what you’re doing and how you’re feeling, and it’ll hold you down.
Still, that is all child’s play compared to Apple Music’s radio component. Featuring stations that transcend genre and tap into lifestyles, the radio portion has tailor-made rotations for millennials, Generation X, and even a station strictly dedicated to the dance floor. Recognizing that few consumers listen to just one genre or artist, Apple Music tossed division aside for inclusion. And even that isn’t the best part of Apple Music’s radio section.
The company has once again succeeded at doing something in the digital music age that has never been done. Apple will be the first company to present a broadcast that can be listened to by everyone in the world – at the same damn time. With Beats 1, a Brooklyn rap fiend and a b-boy in Paris can listen to Apple Music’s live radio station together, notwithstanding their seven-hour time difference. Airing from London with Julie Adenuga, Los Angeles with Zane Lowe and NYC with Ebro Darden, Apple is once again bringing the world together with the sound of music. Listeners can also expect special broadcasts, including artists discussing their favorite albums by legendary artists. Step your game up, Sirius XM and Clear Channel.
That is not where the mystique of Apple Music ends. The app has another component that has never been seen before: a built in social network designed to keep up with your favorite artists’ latest content. Dubbed Connect, it’s like Instagram and Twitter, complete with the ability to “love” and comment, minus the pointless selfies and 140-character noise. Hit “Follow” on Drake’s page, head to Connect, and get updates on Drake’s latest music, videos and albums – straight from Drake. Such a simple idea. Such a huge game changer.
For years, Apple has displayed a customer-first approach to developing its products and services. No, it did not knock every ball out of the park, but it has certainly garnered trust. Accomplishing what others have thus far only attempted to do, Apple is set to change the way we consume music. Again.
Apple Music will be available on the iOS 8.4 update on June 30.