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Apple Music and the music streaming industry

by Raoul Celdran2015/07/04

Apple’s streaming music service and the rivals:

Apple’s streaming music service will officially launch on Tuesday, putting consumers on the edge of their seat, especially music lovers.

The company is putting their hopes on the 800 million users with iTunes account to sign up for their new music streaming service. The service will launch with a 90-day free trial, which will serve as an observation phase for the industry on how much it really takes to get a lot of users to use the service, which will take a lot more to take on its great competitor — Spotify.

Here are some facts and features to compare each music streaming service in the industry today:

Apple Music

  • The music streaming service is based on Beats Music which includes a paid service on a live radio station called Beats 1.
  • Available in 100 countries which is starting on Apple devices, late this year’s turn is for Android and Windows apps.
  • 3-month free trial plus Beats 1 is free.
  • 30 million tracks.

The service has no users yet, now let us hear about the pros and cons.

Pros: Beats 1 attracts listeners from playlists made by experts.

Cons: Not yet justified to be better than its competitor Spotify.

Tidal Music streaming

  • The service debuted early last March, was bought by Jay Z for $56 million.
  • Available in 63 countries.
  • Costs around $9.99 a month for normal streaming, and $19.99 for high-fidelity sound quality.
  • 30-day free trial.

The service has around 900,000 users.

Pros: Tidal promotes new artists and promises to pay higher royalty than its rivals.

Cons: 16 of the music industry’s highest earners were on stage to complain about its trivial royalty which does prove any significance to the company’s image.

Rdio Music streaming

  • Founded by Kazaa and the Skype founder, Janus Friis.
  • Provides different online radio stations with on-demand access.
  • Available in 85 countries.
  • Costs around $9.99 a month for the higher level, while it allows 25 downloads at a time for $3.99, for selected versions.
  • Free version for users who are okay with ads coming in regularly.
  • 32 million tracks.

The number of users has not been disclosed.

Pros: Has won good impression by critics for its wonderful user interface, plus its price range is appealing to customers.

Cons: Some have been left unimpressed by its radio-like feature.

Pandora Music streaming

  • Synonymous with internet radio.
  • Uses user data analysis, and recommends tracks based on the user’s music tastes.
  • Available in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • Costs around $4.99 a month for users who prefer to have no ads.
  • Free but includes ads.
  • 1 million tracks.

Pandora has 76.1 million free users, and 3.8 million subscribers.

Pros: Ease of use. The user enters only the name or the song title of an artist, and a radio station is created from that input.

Cons: Users have been complaining about repetitive songs in Pandora stations, mainly because it has limited number of songs available. Also, limited skips for ads is kind of frustrating for users.

Rhapsody Music streaming

  • The first ever streaming music subscription service, has been around since 2001. Bought Napster International in 2011.
  • Available in 32 countries.
  • Costs around $9.99 a month after the expiry of its 14-day free trial. Costs $4.99 for its unRadio version, which has online radio stations.
  • The service is not free.
  • 32 million tracks.

The service has 2.5 million subscribers.

Pros: Critics are happy with its ease of use, and great look and feel for the user.

Cons: The first ever streaming subscription, but doesn’t mean that it’s the best considering its other competitors rising in the market today.

Google Play Music

  • An online music storage and streaming service provider.
  • Available in 58 countries.
  • Costs around $9.99 a month.
  • A free Pandora-like radio option.
  • 30 million tracks.

The number of users has not been disclosed.

Pros: Subscription includes the YouTube Music Key which allows access to unlimited music videos, plus it is ad-free. It also has a cloud storage for up to 50,000 songs possible.

Cons: No native app for Mac users, but only through web browsers.

Spotify

  • The biggest subscription music service today.
  • Available in 58 countries.
  • Costs around $9.99 a month for a premium service, a 3-month trial for $0.99.
  • 30 million tracks.

Spotify has 20 million subscribers and 55 million free users.

Pros: Critics are convinced with the service’s ease of use, social media sharing buttons, and its sound quality. Recently added podcasts and some videos. Works with all major smartphones and even in home audio systems.

Cons: Hass faced criticism from big artists for its low royalty rates, especially from its ad-supported version. Taylor Swift knowingly pulled her catalog from the service from last year’s November due to the royalties.

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