Here’s How Apple Is Planning To Compete Against Spotify

Read original story on: 9to5Mac

Apple acquired streaming services Beats Music back in May 2014, and now we are finally getting some updates on its fate. Reports suggest that Apple is planning to launch a redesigned Beats Music later this year that will be deeply integrated into iOS, iTunes, and the Apple TV.

To compete with existing services like Spotify or Rdio, Apple is reportedly looking to set the monthly subscription fee at just $7.99. Would the Cupertino company be able to upend the OTT music market with system integration and competitive pricing? Stay tuned to find out.

How Apple Can Use Beats To Beat WhatsApp

Welcome the newest competitor to the battle for messaging app domination: Apple.  This week the company announced a souped up version of iMessage that lifts a number of key features from Snapchat and WhatsApp like ephemeral messaging, and photo, video, and audio sharing.  There are three reasons the new product is unlikely to be a real threat to the big players in the space:

1. You can use the platform to interact with other iPhone users, but you need to use another service to chat with Android and Blackberry friends.

2. There’s no compelling product innovation to lure people away from their current go-to messaging apps.

3. Apple is unlikely to steal market share from Snapchat since the two platforms appeal to different demographics. WhatsApp is a more likely target, but it has a huge head start on Apple that’s hard to overcome.

If Apple really wants to shake up the messaging space, it has one big potential advantage and differentiator– Beats.  Apps like Tango have partnered with Spotify to deliver music clip sharing, and Kik has partnered with One Direction and apps like Rithm to connect with teens and acquire new users.  Music will be a key battleground in this space because people love to share it, and Apple is in the position to create a deeper music sharing experience than the competition with Beats in its arsenal.

No messaging app has corralled the entire music industry yet, but it’s only a matter of time before artist pages on these platforms are as ubiquitous as artist pages on traditional social media. Among messaging app owners, Apple is in the best position to get the music industry to embrace its products– iMessage included– since the industry already depends on iTunes.

Every label and artist wants its record featured in the iTunes app store, and Apple has premiered an impressive number of major records in the last two years including releases from Coldplay, Vampire Weekend, The Black Keys, and The National.  If Apple gives Beats and individual artists a chance to connect with users through iMessage, the music industry could play an active role in bringing its audience to the platform.

For now Apple’s messaging app approach has positioned it as a follower, but with the tools at its disposable it could easily transform into a messaging app leader. It better move fast, though, because the competition already has a serious head start.

Beats Comes To Apple’s Store

Beats’ new streaming service has, for the most part, stayed clear of traditional app stores. Today, though, they’re reversing that policy in what amounts to a concession that Apple’s app store has a reach beyond that of Beats’ present capabilities. With that reach and power, though, comes a hefty fee: Apple usually keeps about 30% of the purchase price on whatever users buy. For Beats, whose subscription is $10/month, it means giving $3 of that fee to Apple every month for every subscription sold through iTunes. Nonetheless, it opens Beats up to a market presently occupied by Rdio and Rhapsody, and to an app store that attracts millions of eyeballs and potential customers. The goal, here, is clearly to boost subscriber numbers as quickly as possible. It’s not to ultimately say that Beats music is failing, or that streaming music is going downhill – it’s simply to say that Beats is looking to expand its numbers to compete with bigger competitors like Spotify. 

Beats Music Releases Public API

In a move to overtake Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, and others, Beats Music wants to differentiate itself from the crowd by releasing a public API to developers. The API was previously only available to specific partners and developers, thus the integration with Sonos speakers and Now that the platform is more established, Beats wants to scale its product across as many devices as possible to compete with the likes of other streaming platforms, which are almost universally available across many devices. Developers will be able to write code such that users can search Beats’ library, play tracks, as well as create, update, and display custom playlists. Even as a late-comer to the streaming game, Beats has been making waves with their partnerships and immediately popular interface. Whether they can remain a force in the digital music space, however, remains to be seen. 

Beats Music Launches

The day is here: we now have a big third competitor in the streaming music market. Beats Music launched today, and its take on streaming music is a $9.99/month service. But whether it can take on Spotify – which boasts more than 24 million monthly users – and Pandora might take more than just a “better service.” To push Beats music to the fore there will have to be some meaty marketing moves; users are mostly already entrenched in the Pandora/Spotify market, not to mention other options like Rdio, Google Play, iTunes Radio, and to pry them out of it will take some serious incentives. Beats won’t have a free tier after a 7-day trial, so it’s counting on users signing up. It’s a big ask; taking on this many established players at once is a bold move. But the wide reach of the headphones and brand name might just be enough to give Beats a leg up in the initial phases of development.   

Spotify & Pandora Prepare For Imminent Beats Music

The imminent launch of Beats Music is causing Spotify and Pandora to do some back peddling. Pandora’s personalized music streams, that will incorporate listener tendencies into recommendation engines, and Spotify’s International removal of free listening caps both come within a week of Beats’ launch. Beats Music claims to do both of these things – algorithmic artist discovery and custom streaming stations with unlimited play time, anywhere – which before this week Spotify and Pandora didn’t sponsor. Although Pandora is still the number one streaming service in the U.S. market, but Spotify is making rapid gains in an attempt to solidify its position in advance of the Beats Music launch. We’ll have to wait and and see how Beats Music does – or doesn’t – shake up the already competitive music streaming market.