After being in the music game for 15 years Apple (AAPL) has finally released Apple Music their live streaming music app. Priced similarly to competitors, Spotify and Google Play, Apple Music has hoped to prove itself as the best in music streaming, quality, and content however the first month of public use has proven that the app has quite a ways to go before it can hope to take users from it’s competitors.
Apple Music: Bad Omen
The highly anticipated music streaming service has an estimated 10 million users all of which are currently enjoying the service free for three months. Most of these free subscriptions will expire as soon as October. The number is impressive enough, however, when compared to Spotify’s 75 million users it seems more like a flash in the pan than the next big music app to explode on the scene.
Apple music has been hounded by trouble from the get go. The first bad omen was Taylor Swift causing Apple to bend the knee when it surfaced they did not plan on paying artists for the first three months of activation. “Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months,” wrote Swift. “I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.” Shortly after Swift’s open letter came to the public eye Eddy Cue tweeted a statement seemingly reversing Apple Music’s previous stance, “#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period, We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”
The music service has caught flack from many users including users very close to the company itself. People who would, in all other cases, be praising Apple. One of which is veteran Apple writer Jim Dalrymple. In the past Dalrymple has had the honor of interviewing Apple executives Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine but now the relationship seems to be on thin ice. After spending some time on the fussy app Dalrymple blogged, “Apple Music is just too much of a hassle to be bothered with … I just don’t care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices.”
Dalrymple isn’t the only one disappointed with the design which many compare to a Microsoft product or the issues with music syncing its a feeling being shared by the masses. Former Apple employee Matt Drance has posted a series of powerful tweets about the service, “The new Music app isn’t just bad. It’s designed around a business initiative, rather than user interest or intuition. That is so worrisome.” He acknowledges it’s not all the employee’s fault and that it may be an issue being forced on them from higher up in the company. Regardless of whose fault it is it is clear Apple has an up hill battle ahead of them if they want to eventually compete with Spotify, who shows no signs of slowing down.
Spotify Still Swinging
Recently Spotify acquired Echo Nest a music data company developed by MIT graduate, Brain Whitman. The software focuses on music discovery a hot topic for music streaming companies. Whitman’s software, Fresh Finds, will collect data from across the internet, sites like Pitchfork or NME, as well as music blogs to find new music and yet to be discovered artist. It’s a truly hipster algorithm one that could set Spotify even further ahead of the limping Apple Music.