As Apple seeks a company-wide transition from being known primarily as the iPhone maker to a Services provider, hiring for its IMG (Interactive Media Group) has hit a peak in January, with over 40 openings available. Further, job titles including the word “streaming” have slowly increased.
A well-known music industry analyst is estimating that Apple Music will hit 8M paid subscribers by the end of the year, and will reach 20M by the end of 2016, reports Music Business Worldwide. The prediction was made by Mark Mulligan, co-founder of digital content specialists Midia Consulting, who previously held senior research positions with Forrester and Jupiter.
In raw numbers terms, that would put it just behind market leader Spotify by the end of next year, but that may not quite present the true picture …
T-Mobile is extending its popular Music Freedom service, which allows unlimited use of Apple Music and other streaming music services without eating into your data allowance, to MetroPCS prepaid customers – albeit under a slightly different name. T-Mobile said that its Music Unlimited service would be available on a range of plans, starting from just $40/month.
Music Unlimited includes more than 30 music streaming services, including Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, iHeart Radio, and Google Play Music. Music Unlimited is available to new and existing MetroPCS customers on Metro’s new $40, $50, and $60 unlimited plans.
The company is also offering a Binge On equivalent, known as Data Maximizer. This compresses streaming video streams down to DVD quality to allow customers to stream three times as much video content for the same data usage … Expand Expanding Close
Apple Music appears to be off to a strong start in terms of paying subscribers, but as the old adage has it, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. A decent chunk of those who have opted not to pay for Apple Music appear to have headed instead to Spotify. TechCrunch notes that Spotify’s iOS app has taken the top grossing spot in Apple’s U.S. App Store for the first time ever.
Spotify was quietly hitting a milestone of its own. The company’s music streaming app just moved into the No. 1 position on the iPhone App Store’s “Top Grossing” charts for the first time in the US. Previously, according to data from App Annie, the highest rank Spotify saw on the “Top Grossing” charts stateside was No. 3, which it hit earlier this year and maintained in September.
When we polled 9to5Mac readers, 19.5% of you said that you would be switching to Spotify instead of paying for Apple Music.
If you want a Wi-Fi-based multi-room audio system, you so far haven’t had many alternatives to the market leader, Sonos. Other manufacturers offer their own solutions, but generally only in a handful of products. That looks set to change as Yamaha today announced that its MusicCast system will be supported by more than 20 products, with pricing starting from $250. That includes all but one of its 2015 receivers, reports CNET.
Rdio has likely been feeling the squeeze from the launch of Apple Music, and is today adding live streams of 460 traditional AM/FM radio stations, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The rollout, which starts Wednesday, includes 460 stations owned and operated by stakeholder Atlanta-based Cumulus Media Inc [including] long-running stations such as Cumulus’ KLOS-FM (95.5) in Los Angeles and KFOG-FM (104.5) in San Francisco, along with talk radio and sports outlets …
Update: Facebook tells The Verge it has no plans to enter the streaming music market.
Apple may not be the only new entrant into the streaming music business: Musically suggests that Facebook is in the early stages of planning its own music service.
Facebook has been talking to music labels for some time, but this was believed to relate only to YouTube-style ad-supported videos. But Musically says its sources say that Facebook sees this as a stepping stone toward a streaming audio service.
Music Ally can reveal that while Facebook will expand that trial to music videos soon, the social network is planning to follow that with the launch of an audio music-streaming service to compete with Spotify, Apple Music and others […]
Sources have told Music Ally that an audio service is very much on Facebook’s roadmap, but that both the social network and rightsholders realise that it has to get the monetised-video service right first
There is speculation that Facebook might take the same approach as Apple in buying an existing streaming music service, like Rdio, but Musically says that while this has not been ruled out, its sources suggests that the company wants to build its own service from scratch.
We noted yesterday that Spotify is planning to email its customers to advise iOS users to subscribe to its Premium service via the web to avoid the 30% ‘Apple tax.’
The rationale behind Apple’s move into streaming music can be neatly summarised in two stats from the latest Nielsen data on American music sales: music downloads fell by 10% in the first half of the year to 531M, while streaming almost doubled to 135B. The streaming figure includes iTunes Radio but not, of course, Apple Music.
Apple Music makes its debut in a few short hours/minutes/seconds and if you want to spend that time reading about what early reviewers thought (after migrating your playlists), we’ve got a list of Apple’s selected journalists who’ve played with the app and listened to the music with a few choice words: Expand Expanding Close
Spotify appears to be feeling the heat from the impending launch of Apple Music. While it currently offers U.S. consumers a trial of three months for $0.99, most other countries are offered only a one month free trial – which it has just doubled to two months in a bunch of other countries.
It was confirmed this morning that Apple would be taking the same approach as Spotify in effectively paying labels a 35% royalty – half the going rate – during its own three-month free trial.
I recently outlined my reasons for believing Spotify will really feel the pressure from Apple Music, while Chance Miller believes Beats 1 is the killer feature.
For each song that is streamed free, Apple will pay 0.2 cent for the use of recordings, a rate that music executives said was roughly comparable to the free tiers from services like Spotify. This rate does not include a smaller payment for songwriting rights that goes to music publishers.
Spotify bases its royalty payment for free users on a 35% share, half of the 70% it pays for tracks streamed by paid subscribers … Expand Expanding Close
Metallica haven’t always been the greatest fans of Apple’s music, criticizing iTunes’ track-based sales model as “contributing to the demise of the album format” and only allowing the band’s music to be sold on the service in 2006 – some three years after its launch. iTunes sales outside the U.S. didn’t happen until 2008.
Speaking at Cannes Lions, drummer Ulrich said he and his Metallica bandmates were excited about the launch of Apple Music’s streaming service. “I think that Apple is just about the coolest company in the world. I am a huge supporter of Apple and all their products, and I have been fortunate enough to meet most of the people there, a lot of the people who make key decisions, and I feel very safe with them,” Ulrich said.
Ulrich said that the band had good relationships with the Apple team, including Tim Cook and Jimmy Iovine … Expand Expanding Close
Suggestions that Apple will pay music owners just 58% of subscription payments for its Apple Music service are not true, says the company. Robert Kondrk, the Apple VP who has been working with Eddy Cue on negotiating deals with music labels, says that company actually pays a little more than the industry-standard 70% figure.
In the U.S., Apple will pay music owners 71.5 percent of Apple Music’s subscription revenue. Outside the U.S., the number will fluctuate, but will average around 73 percent, he told Re/code in an interview. Executives at labels Apple is working with confirmed the figures.
The 58% number doing the rounds earlier this month appears to be based on a misunderstanding: that’s the usual cut for the label, which owns the recording; the publisher, which owns the rights to the song itself, gets a 12% cut. Add the two together, and you get the 70% number that is standard for streaming music services.
But the most interesting revelation to me was that Apple is not paying music labels a single cent for tracks streamed during the three-month free trial period … Expand Expanding Close
Line, best known for its messaging app, has launched its own streaming music service in Japan, ahead of Apple Music’s release. Available on iOS and Android, Line Music offers a two-month free trial, then costs 1,000 yen ($8) per month, with a half-price option offering up to 20 hours per month.
While Line may have beaten Apple to the punch in Japan, it is lagging some way behind on tracks. Although TNW says the company plans to hit 30M tracks by next year, matching Apple, it currently has only around 1.5M – comprising a mix of local and international artists. The service is available only in Japan and Thailand.
A separate report suggests that Apple Music may launch in India at the heavily-discounted price of 120 Indian Rupees – equivalent to just $2/month. Other streaming music services in India charge similar sums, reflecting far lower average incomes in the country.
Streamed music is great for having access to almost everything, but it isn’t always ideal when you’re on the move thanks to patchy data coverage and carrier data caps. While Apple didn’t mention it yesterday, it has now confirmed to Re/code that Apple Music supports offline listening. The feature is also listed in a feature checklist on Apple’s website.
As an Apple Music member you can add anything from the Apple Music library — a song, an album or a video — to your collection. And that’s just the warm-up act. From there you can create the perfect playlist from anything you’ve added. You can save it for offline listening and take it on the road.
Apple is aiming to sign up a massive 100M subscribers for its streaming music service, according to a source cited by the Associated Press (reproduced in the NY Times). This would be more than double the subscriptions for all other streaming music services combined.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry says that existing worldwide streaming subscriptions total around 41M across all services. The market leader, Spotify, has around 4.7M subscribers in the USA … Expand Expanding Close
Apple TV doubled its share of premium viewing in just three months, from 5% in Q4 2014 to 10% in Q1 2015, according to data from the Adobe Digital Index. Roku’s share increased by only 1% in the same time period, from 7% to 8%. Principal analyst Tamara Gaffney told TNW that Apple’s growth was unprecedented.
Apple TV devices doubling their share of premium video viewing quarter over quarter (QoQ) from 5% to 10%–overtaking Roku […] That’s huge. We never see double in quarter-over-quarter in something that’s been around for a couple of years. We expect Apple TV to take off even more.
Why the spike? Apple dropped the price of the Apple TV to $69 and it grows a few new channels every month but the survey didn’t offer any guesses. Adobe also noted that iOS devices account continue to dominate mobile video viewing, representing 82% of non-subscription viewing … Expand Expanding Close
Update: We’ve gotten word from a Spotify spokesperson that the Free model isn’t going anywhere. Director of Communications at Spotify Graham James told me “This is totally false. Our model is working.”
Digital Music News is claiming that Spotify is coming under pressure from music labels to end its free, ad-supported service, limiting users to a three-month free trial.
The three-month ‘proposal,’ advanced most principally by major labels Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, would allow current, free-access, ad-supported (or ‘freemium’) subscribers to continue their plans for 6 months, while new users would be limited to three months only.
Coincidentally or not, Universal Music Group is one of the labels specifically mentioned in two investigations into whether Apple is attempting to stifle competition in the run up to launching its own streaming music service … Expand Expanding Close
Apple’s upcoming Beats-based streaming music service will likely be named “Apple Music” and will have deep social networking integration for artists, according to industry sources briefed on the plans for the new service.
Taking a page out of the discontinued iTunes Ping feature from earlier this decade, the service will allow artists to have their own pages within the streaming music service that they can use to post track samples, photos, videos, and concert updates.
Artists will also be able to share the content of other artists in an effort of cross-promotion. For example, all-gold Apple Watch wearer Kanye West could promote a new album from Taylor Swift on his “Apple Music” artist page, if he so chooses…
Synology today unveiled two new multi-bay network-attached storage (NAS) solutions: the $649 DiskStation DS1515 and the $599 RackStation RS815. Both models take advantage of Synology’s excellent DiskStation Manager 5.1 system for managing “remote access, scalability, unparalleled reliability, cross-platform file sharing, and 24/7 security solutions.”
Synology’s OS and hardware make great NAS systems for Apple and cross platform homes/businesses because they not only make huge Time Machine backups a snap, but they also provide apps for streaming media and other files to iOS, Apple TV, Android, PC and just about every platform.
I was an early adopter of digital music (you hide your surprise well). I bought my first mp3 player in 1998, some three years before the first iPod. It cost a silly amount of money and stored exactly one album at a time in its 64MB (not GB) of flash memory.
Me being me, I went through a few different generations of mp3 player before Apple completely changed the game with the iPod. Ironically, by adopting a less sophisticated technology–a hard drive in place of flash memory–Apple created a far better product. One that allowed us to carry around 80 albums at a time. I bought one the day it went on sale, having by then finished ripping all my CDs to mp3.
When the 160GB iPod came out in 2007, I again bought one immediately. That was large enough to hold my entire music collection at the time. I not only carried it everywhere with me, I also plugged it into my hifi at home and to the AUX socket of my car stereo. At which point, I started wondering why I still had a wall full of CDs … Expand Expanding Close
Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any tougher, London’s Financial Times reports that the European Commission is considering launching an antitrust investigation into the service, even before it launches. The Commission has contacted several music labels to ask what deals have been done with Apple, says the FT.
The commission, which also has contacted Apple’s music-streaming rivals, is said to be concerned that the company will use its size, relationships and influence to persuade labels to abandon free, ad-supported services such as Spotify, which depend on licenses with music companies for their catalogues.
The newspaper implies that the investigation may have been triggered by a formal complaint by an existing streaming music service … Expand Expanding Close