Apple has opened the door to a world of music and music discovery with a service that combines the best of streaming with the depth of existing music collections owned by the biggest digital music purchasers on the planet, iTunes users.
Real music fans
You can’t ignore the significance of iTunes Store when you think about Apple Music. iTunes Store users are the most enthusiastic digital music purchasers in the world using platforms with the largest number of active users on the planet. Almost every single one spends money online – so will Apple convince them to sign up for Apple Music? On the basis of a day using Apple Music I think the answer is yes.
Think about Beats One radio, the station that began transmission alongside Apple Music yesterday.
Within the first few tracks played by DJ Zane Lowe I’d heard music from Brian Eno, a Pharrell exclusive, and a new act called Spring King. And no ads.
This ads-free diversity suggests Beats One could be an antidote to the commercial playlist-driven stations currently boring the airwaves in most countries.
Freedom is sexy
Lowe put it this way: "So much of radio and broadcasting can be one way traffic, let’s open this up…We’re dedicated to exposing and discovering new music... and to tipping our hat to the legends.”
In music, freedom is sexy, so if Beats One DJs do get to play music they like then pretty soon I expect some of the world’s most exciting and influential DJs will begin knocking at Apple’s door requesting a slot – they want that freedom, too.
You will be able to watch that side of the story unfold on the all-new Apple Music Tumblr page where Apple will announce high-profile guest slots. (And if there's music you're not hearing that you'd like Beats One to play, you can request it).
What I’m saying is that Beats One will drive the world’s most committed digital music purchasers to explore new music and take a three month trial of the service.
Apple has sold over a billion iOS devices. If we assume just 650 million of these are still in active use and speculate just 10 percent of these users end up testing and sticking with the service, that’s big numbers.
When you consider that the iTunes Music purchasers Apple is aiming at here are the most committed digital music buyers on the planet, then there’s a good chance.
This is certainly driving optimism in the music industry. “It’s going to be huge. There will be exponentially more users, like a Facebook with a billion users,” said Tracy Maddux, CEO of CD Baby, one of the largest distributors of independent music.
What about the people who don’t choose to subscribe? It’s too early to call but it seems likely many of these will become Beats One listeners, which means they’ll be exposed to an eclectic mix of well chosen new, old and unexpected acts, ads-free, from a station that seems to have respect for the spirit of independent radio, albeit on a global scale.
Speaking to The Loop, Apple’s Cue and Jimmy Iovine explained Apple Music Radio is hand programmed by curators who choose the songs. This means you can “get songs from multiple genres coming together in a way you wouldn't have before.”
“One of the things we wanted with Apple Music was depth, said Cue. “We wanted you to be immersed in it when you started using it.”
Apple says it hopes to measure success in engagement and it seems to be off to a strong start, according to social media sentiment analysis firm, TheySay.
TheySay analyzed 84,845 Apple Music Tweets and found 76 percent of Twitter to be positive about Apple Music – not so bad for a digital music incumbent breaking into new territory.
In fact with 76 percent of the Twitterverse on side, I’m calling this an excellent start.
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