Since before the launch of Apple Music last week, we have heard opinions saying aloud what many users are thinking: why has Apple introduced a music streaming service? What is the raison d’être of this service? Furthermore, how do you intend to beat Spotify and similar in your own field?
These are three questions that we will be answering throughout this article. The first one is very simple. As the company executives say, we love music . John Gruber said in his last podcast that one can debate about the convenience of Apple Music if we use a financial point of view, but that one cannot reason an argument against “loving music” .
Apple and music, something that comes from far away
Apple’s relationship with music is well known. The iPod and the iTunes store were responsible for the re-foundation of the company into a consumer electronics company, leaving the niche to which the Mac was relegated. It did so at a time when piracy was ravaging the music business and record companies were floundering around.
iTunes grew to become the industry’s leading source of digital revenue. Not before passing through several generations of iPod, new models that complemented the family with more affordable prices and the appearance of iTunes for Windows, not to mention the change of the FireWire port for a USB. The breakthrough in Windows and the USB port allowed the iPod and the iTunes store to experience a real explosion in sales.
Music as a lever to move culture and society
Not to be forgotten is the iTunes Festival, that series of concerts organized by Apple since 2007 and in which all kinds of famous artists participate (and not so much). The concerts are held in London and last year a new location was introduced in Austin, Texas. Admission is paid, but they are broadcast worldwide free of charge to all Apple device users.
There are technology companies that have sponsored concerts on other occasions, but none have come to hold such events unilaterally . The iTunes Festival is another example of how Apple has music in its DNA. I wonder if this year it will be called Beats Festival.
This isn’t about beating Spotify
I retrieve this sentence from an article we saw last year about iMessage, the free messaging platform between users of iOS presented together with iOS 5 in 2011 (how much has happened since then). At the time, many interpreted this move as an attempt by Apple to defeat other instant messaging services .
It’s the same situation we’re experiencing right now with Apple Music and Spotify. Cupertino’s company isn’t looking to blow up Spotify. What they want is to create complete products that include hardware, software and services that work right out of the box (although in this case we’re seeing problems in the user experience).
Apple Music: Dudas resueltas.
Spotify, with its more than 75 million active users, has proven that streaming is the next step of music as an industry. This way of enjoying music has become the cornerstone on which millions of people rely every day. It is logical that Apple wants to complement its devices with its own service. One that gives you independence from the interests, problems and demands of a third party.
A real déjà vu
The Google mapping war is a sample of what can happen
Apple Music strengthens Cupertino’s position on its own products and ecosystems. Just take the example of Apple’s infamous maps and the Fight of the Giants that he had with Google. The search engine company was deliberately delaying the appearance of new features ( turn-by-turn and voice-guided navigation) in its version of the iOS maps to favor its Android operating system.
Apple’s maps were a masterstroke in strategic terms, but at the expense of the user in the short term. A few months later we saw Google bring out its own mapping app, much better than the one we had as standard in iOS until then. Google had Apple “kidnapped” thanks to the power of its maps , but we have already lived similar stories in other occasions:
- iBooks and Kindle.
- iWork and Office.
- FaceTime and Skype.
- Notes and Evernote.
- iMessage and WhatsApp.
- Maps and Google Maps.
- Apple Pay, PayPal and Square.
- Flipboard and News.
- And now Apple Music and Spotify.
Each of the services or apps on the list have been created for the same reason: to provide a baseline from which the user can start using their devices from scratch . If Apple had not created them, their products would no longer be what they are.
Of course, none of the alternatives offered by Apple are intended to serve everyone. For more demanding users or those with specific needs, there’s the App Store. Apple Music is an update by Apple , or as they say in English, a me too . But there is no denying that it has a lot of good things to offer.