Long rumored, now confirmed—Apple is throwing their hat into the music streaming ring. At yesterday’s WWDC conference, the tech mega-giant unveiled “Apple Music,” an online streaming service that will compete with industry stalwarts Spotify. The grapevine was filled with whispers of Apple’s potential foray into the streaming market when they acquired Dr. Dre’s Beats Electronics for $3B last May, and on June 30th the service will become a reality for consumers.
The main question though: what separates it from Spotify? Aside from Taylor Swift—not much. Like Spotify Premium, the service still requires a monthly fee ($9.99, $14.99 for a family of six), and will contain essentially the same library.
But this is where Apple has always excelled. They take already established technology—some faltering consumer-wise, like tablets—and swoop in with their own offering, somehow making boatloads of money and creating the industry standard. There’s no arguing that Apple makes a top-of-the-line product, but they’ve famously withheld features already present on other tech companies’ offerings, just to provide them later and market their inclusion as massive selling points (my Apple mouse didn’t have a right-click button until 2009.)
It almost sounds counterintuitive, but it always works. And as Apple is one of the most profitable companies on the planet, there’s obviously genius behind their motives.
So while their streaming service may not be much different than Spotify, do not count on its ability to compete. Apple consumers are famously enthusiastic about its products—almost to the point of being cultish—and when you have a motivated customer-base, they’re likely to buy-first and ask questions later. At the end of the day, the consumer wins in this scenario, because you can believe both Apple and Spotify will strengthen their efforts to put out the best service possible.