The introduction of Apple Music in 2015 marked the further expansion of the product ecosystem of Apple while cementing its status as a publisher and distributor of digital content. The streaming service has expanded beyond music and has since streamed music videos and original video content. Nevertheless, considering the presence of other streaming services such as Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora, and Amazon Music, among others, first-time subscribers would have a hard time choosing. This article provides a quick review of the pros and cons of Apple Music.
Pros of Apple Music: Reasons Why You Should Subscribe
Apple Music boasts over 100 million songs and a growing title of music videos and other video content in its catalogue. This streaming service is accessible in 167 countries in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific.
Furthermore, the platform is available across different operating systems and devices. These range from desktop operating systems and mobile devices to video game consoles and other smart devices such as smart televisions and car audio systems.
It has features typically found in other streaming platforms. These include playlist creation and content curation, options for downloading songs, lyrics in most tracks, content sharing, and specific content discovery sections such as top hits and feature lists, among others.
Subscribing to Apple Music might be a good idea for individuals who are owners of Apple devices such as iPhones, iPad, and Mac computers. There are advantages to using complementary products. These include convenience and seamless integration.
Below are the specific selling propositions of this streaming service:
• High-Quality Audio Streaming: One of the strongest selling points of Apple Music and its advantages over other streaming platforms is that it offers high-quality audio streaming that is based on Dolby Atmos mix, Spatial Audio tech, and the lossless audio codec ALAC. Note that Spotify and YouTube Music do not stream lossless audio.
• Available in Different Platforms: It is available in different platforms. These include the operating systems used in Apple devices including macOS, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, CarPlay, and HomePod; operating systems of competing products including Windows, Android, and ChromeOS, and other devices such as Google Nest, Amazon Echo, Sonos, PlayStation 5, Xbox, Tesla, and Web.
• Flexible Subscription-Based Pricing: This streaming service follows the freemium, decoy, bundling, and psychological pricing schemes of the overall pricing strategy of Apple. It is available via a single-license subscription or a group-license subscription. Furthermore, considering other Apple services such as Apple Arcade, AppleTV+, and iCloud services, it can be bundled under a single, more convenient, and discounted subscription plan called Apple One.
• Music and Content Discovery: The service offers different means for subscribers to discover content. There is the “Listen Now” section that automatically curates content based on the listening history and habits of a particular user. There is the “Browse” section that features new songs and album releases, spotlights specific artists, and provides lists of top hit songs based on location or genre.
• Sing-Along Feature With Apple Music Sing: Apple has also included the Apple Music Sing feature that enables listeners to sing along to a selection of tracks. It gives a particular subscriber control over the volume of vocals. The supported tracks display lyrics in a precise manner along with separate backing vocals and verses. Note that this feature is available in more recent models of iPhones and iPads.
• Other Value-Added Services and Features: There is a live internet radio called Apple Music Radio that can be accessed by users without needing to subscribe. The internet radio has numerous channels that are genre-specific and trend-related. A dedicated profile section allows a subscriber to pick a username and follow friends, relatives, and even other artists. A subscriber can explore the listening habits of the people he or she follows. There is also an option to share songs with followers or create a playlist and broadcast them on a user-created internet radio station.
Cons of Apple Music: Reasons Why You Should Not Subscribe
Spotify remains the most-used music streaming platform with over 195 million paid subscribers. Apple Music has 88 million subscribers. There are more than 600 million subscribers across the world using on-demand music streaming services.
There is also an abundance of other music streaming platforms from other tech companies that have their respective unique selling propositions and competent music catalogue. YouTube Music seems to be taking advantage of the product ecosystem of Google and the existing user base of the YouTube video-sharing platform.
It is also important to note that these music streaming platforms are also competing against substitutes. Apple Music has positioned itself as a music and video streaming service. It competes with video-sharing and video streaming service providers.
Nevertheless, considering the availability of alternatives and substitutes, there are also reasons why one should not subscribe to Apple Music. The platform has its issues and limitations. Those who are subscribed to a particular provider have no strong reason to subscribe to another one while those with a limited budget might find the service too expensive.
Below are the specific issues or limitations of this streaming service:
• No Free Plan Unlike Other Platforms: The built-in internet radio is free but on-demand music streaming is not. An individual must subscribe to his or her chosen plan. Other platforms have a free-tier option for those who are not interested in paid plans. Take note that Spotify can be used for free without needing to subscribe because it has an advertisement-based revenue model. Amazon Music is a free music streaming platform that also uses an advertisement-based model.
• Absence of a Dedicated Podcast Catalogue: Another disadvantage of Apple Music is that it does not have a dedicated catalogue for podcasts. It is not a podcasting platform. Apple Podcast is a separate platform and service. Take note that Spotify has expanded itself as a platform for podcasting. It now has a growing list of podcasts from digital content creators, online influencers, and celebrities.
• Video Catalogue is Unappealing for Some: The platform has a decent catalogue of videos that include music videos, interviews, and even shows. However, these might not be enough to convince others to subscribe or switch from another platform. The entire catalogue remains limited in terms of size and the variety of genres or show format. Apple Music seems to have a hard time expanding further its catalogue while also making existing video content readily discoverable.
• Issues with User Interface and User Experience: Subscribers who are used to the interface of other platforms such as Spotify might have a hard time navigating through the pages or sections of Apple Music. The entire user interface and user experience can be confusing or not readily straightforward for first-time users and those who are not familiar with the design philosophy of Apple products.
• Major Restrictions on Certain Features: The app has limited support for non-Apple operating systems and devices. Lossless audio is not available to all songs and may not be supported by certain devices. Dolby Atmos in Spatial Audio is only available to newer AirPods devices, Beats Fir Pro, and compatible Apple devices. Apple Music Sing is only available to newer models of iPhone and iPad beginning with the iPhone 14 and the ninth generation of the iPad and M-series powered iPad Air and iPad Pro.