For millions and millions of mobile users iTunes is inseparable from music. Since the birth of the iPod Apple’s platform supplies anything they wish to listen to — all be it 99p per track at a time. Unfortunately for Apple much as the 8 track, the cassette tape and the CD before it; the digital download began to die.
The portrayed impression is that increased demand for streaming services such as Spotify and GMAA, as well as on demand services such as YouTube have shifted the music industry completely. Retail based best selling charts that once relied on visiting a store with shelves full of singles shifted to only count downloads.
Even without anecdotal evidence Nielson Entertainment figures released just before Apple flicked the switch, show a fundamental change in music consumption. Whether it be from the influence of more illegal music avenues, or the tend for on demand everything — the streaming service(s) became king.
Don’t Cross The Streams
In the first half of 2015, Americans streamed twice as much as ever before — consuming 35 billion songs or music videos. With digital purchases falling 10.4 percent to 531.6 million, combined with overall album sales (either physical or digital) down 4 percent to only 116 million units.
So Apple’s answer was the sincerest form of flattery — Imitation. Take one music streaming platform — add content from Spotify and expand until sufficient coverage. Mix in drive storage options from Google Music all access and warm until 10,000 songs. Once complete add in radio functions for live radio and serve in your own packaging — implement social network to your own tastes.
“Obviously, the streaming piece is really great news, when you’re talking about darn near 100 percent growth … with no new players” — Dave Bakula, senior vice president of Nielsen Entertainment, told Re/code
Apple clearly didn’t have a choice to move to a streaming platform, the resultant hybrid is not without its issues. When you put as many services into on app such as music streaming, uploaded music and also purchased music invariably some things are going to bump, overlap and have some teething problems.
Even with the promise of cross platform apps — Apple Music is not meant to be attractive to anyone other than iPhone users that pay for a streaming service currently, or at least entertain the idea. Whatever your thoughts on Apple Music a first party service on a platform that ships at a rate up to 70 million a quarter make the rumoured aim of 100 million users seem entirely possible.