Streaming music has become a real competitor to buying and downloading individual songs or even entire albums. Services like Spotify have become quite popular with millions of people. And now Apple is poised to finally enter the streaming music market with its own service.
Rumors seem to indicate that Apple is readying a $10 per month streaming music service that will compete head-on with Spotify and other earlier streaming products. While it's always better to take such rumors with a huge grain of salt, my guess is that a $10 per month Apple streaming service will probably do quite well if and when it is released.
I'll share my own thoughts about an Apple streaming service below. But first I took a look around to see what folks were saying about the rumors regarding an Apple streaming music service, and I found some interesting comments in a recent thread on Reddit:
Purell_Sanitizer: "I'm a paying Spotify customer but I'll be switching to this as soon as it's out. For the same price I'll get a music service that will be better integrated with all my Apple products as well as all the extra value-add stuff from original content from the BBC1 employees they hired, artists as DJs, etc.
Frankly I think Spotify is screwed. Overnight Apple's service will be on every iOS device and Mac. The friction reduced from that along with everything else trumps anything Spotify could offer.
My prediction: Apple will eclipse Spotify's 15 million paying subscribers within a year or less."
Fliptrik: "I don't think Spotify is screwed. They'll lose some subscribers, no doubt. But the article said that 15 million of Spotify's subscribers are paid and 45 million are free. It's looking like Apple's service won't give a lot of freedom for the free plan. Free users won't leave Spotify to something that gives them less options."
Abeliangrape: "I'll keep my Spotify subscription for sure (I love the new running features), but 15 million paying customers is small potatoes for Apple. That's only 2% of AppleIDs with credit cards attached to them. Apple isn't exactly competing with Spotify here. They're competing with non-consumption (of streaming services). And they know tens if not hundreds of millions of people who are willing to pay for music, who use their products every day. And Spotify might benefit from the increased exposure to streaming in the general public, and eventually convert the customers who want more functionality from their streaming app. There's plenty of room for both companies to win here."
Hellomynameisryan: "I think I would be switching to Apple's service, too, except for one big thing -- I'm listening to Spotify right now on my PC at work. Will Apple's service work on Windows, either natively or via browser? Without that support, I just couldn't justify moving off of Spotify."
Dagamer34: "Rumors are no browser support. Probably have to use shudder iTunes for Windows."
Sdcga161: "I will drop Spotify immediately for one specific reason: the Mac app stutters incessantly whenever I play music on my iMac. This is a well-known fault, and Spotify even emailed me a response on how to fix it, which still didn't work. So, as soon as Apple announces something similar, I'm there."
CyberCat: "Why do you think Spotify is doomed? At best Apple's service offers feature parity with Spotify, and it seems alluded to that Apple will have a smaller streaming catalog. Apple's is also twice as expensive as Spotify's discount option and Apple's doesn't offer a free version at all. Also, rumors indicate Apple's will have no web client either."
Copilot0910: "For me, the one detail I want to ensure focuses around offline streaming, as thats my main love of spotify, that on the train (NYC) every day I can get access to my music. As long as Apple incorporates some sort of offline mode, I'd switch in an instant."
Volcanopele: "I wonder how this will work for people who already pay for iTunes Match? Will we need to switch to the new $10/month model or will we get grandfathered in? Or should we just expect the level of service we have now if we stick with iTunes Match (music matching + ad-free iTunes Radio)?"
Lolzcatzz: "Apple is cutting edge in so many ways, but iTunes has been reactionary for years now. I'll stick with Spotify, I've got 3 months for $1 then will switch to $5 student."
As you can tell from the comments I included above, there seems to be a lot of interest out there for an Apple streaming music service. But there's also a "wait and see" type attitude being displayed as well. So it remains to be seen how many people will jump from Spotify and other services over to Apple. As always, the devil is in the details and we won't know what those really are until Apple finally announces its streaming music service.
How I missed the streaming revolution
I must confess that I have completely missed the streaming revolution for my own music needs. The closest I've gotten to it is listening to iTunes Radio on my Mac while exercising or doing work around the house. But I never bothered with Spotify or any other streaming music service.
Perhaps I'm showing my age (45) when I note that I tend to listen to a lot of classic rock these days. And for that I've found that my own iTunes music collection as well as a bit of iTunes Radio has been more than enough for me. I just haven't felt like I needed yet another service for more music when what I have already gives me plenty to listen to while going about my usual routine.
But for $10 per month, I might consider trying a streaming music service from Apple. That doesn't seem too much if I have unlimited listening and I can select whatever music I want to listen to while using it. And if it is somehow bundled or otherwise connected to iTunes Radio then I will probably feel comfortable giving it a shot.
Will Apple offer an offline streaming mode?
One of the comments from Reddit mentioned the need for an offline mode for Apple's new streaming music service. This is something that I'd never heard of before, so I took a look at Spotify's service and here's what I found:
Spotify Premium allows you to play your playlists offline. It’s perfect for plane rides, the subway, or just about anywhere you don’t have an Internet connection.
You can sync a maximum of 3,333 songs per device and stay offline for up to 30 days. Enjoy!
Wow! I must admit that having the ability to play songs offline via Apple's music streaming service would be terrific. I have a low cost data plan on my iPhone so an offline mode would let me listen to a lot of music while driving around without the need for a more expensive plan.
Given that Spotify already offers such an offline mode, it seems very clear that it's something Apple should offer right out of the gate rather than waiting to add it later. At this point an offline mode is definitely one of the basic and expected features for a streaming music service.
Stay tuned for WWDC to find out the real details of Apple's streaming music service
I'm glad that Apple is finally getting into the streaming music service market. It could be a good move for the company, and it might benefit many of their customers who want a service that is tightly integrated into their iOS and OS X devices.
But we'll have to wait until WWDC before we really know what Apple is actually up to with their streaming music service. These rumors are interesting, but I'll sit tight until I hear the real details from Apple next week.
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