I have had an iTunes account for about 11-12 years now (Is it me or does time really fly? That’s over half of my lifetime o.o). I made an account on Pandora 5-6 years ago. I joined Spotify 2 years ago. I opened an account on Apple Music two weeks ago.
I was more than reluctant to make a Spotify account because I felt that it was betraying my commitment that I had made to Apple, but not having to purchase a song anymore was just too enticing for me to ignore. I am well aware that one can download songs from YouTube using the mp3 converter, but I am one of the few who refuse to download music and movies without paying for it in some way or another. I broke this rule for about a month in my senior year of high school.
I mean, why would I switch to an unfamiliar platform when all of my music was already in one place? Yes, it is very attractive to not have to pay for it, but by switching to Spotify, I would be breaking up my music library. So, I sat and pondered on it for a bit.
Something tells me, though, that I am not the only one who was a bit hesitant to join in on the jump to Spotify. And, in all honesty, I probably never would have done it had they not taken advantage of Spotify. I still remember seeing people post what song they were listening to on Spotify, which is exactly how I found out about the platform.
Because of this of this, Spotify has managed to be the leader in paid subscribers for a music streaming platform. For the sake of this particular article, I will only discuss Spotify and Apple Music.
According to 9to5Mac, Spotify currently has 40 million paid subscribers while Apple Music has 17 million. Some may argue that it is unfair to compare the two numbers considering Spotify has been around longer, but Spotify is actually also outpacing Apple Music’s growth.
And after all, the two platforms are quite similar. Here are screenshots I took of the Discover tab in the Browse section of Spotify, and of the For You section of Apple Music:
So, why is it that we are so slow to move back to Apple and embrace their streaming service? I was at a friend’s house today discussing the moves we made in order to listen to Frank Ocean’s Blonde. My friend noted, “Isn’t Apple Music so dope? I’m still using Spotify, though.” The numbers show that we are not alone, and I have some ideas as to why this is:
- Apple Music Only Offers A Free Trial
While I was discussing the previously mentioned Frank Ocean album (I highly recommend you give it a listen), a lot of my friends revealed that they had listened to it using some kind of torrent website. Why? Because they had already used up their free trial of Apple Music way back when and felt no need to actually purchase it. Clearly, this poses quite a few problems, two of them being a. People do not feel the need to pay for Apple Music because b. Apple Music is not doing it’s job by maintaining high customer retention.
- Spotify has both Free and Premium features
Something I personally loved about Spotify was the fact that I could use it for free and get used to the platform while also listening to whatever I wanted, for the most part. Yes, there are frustrations that come with the free version, but it is better than having to constantly buy songs, right?
- Spotify Has A Social Component
I am typically someone who likes to lay low on platforms such as Spotify, Pinterest, SoundCloud, and every other type of media sharing platform. This is probably due to my being a relatively private person, but I am aware of what Spotify has to offer to users who are more open and public with their interests. Beyond sharing your “Currently Playing” track on Facebook, and like Twitter and Instagram, you can follow your friends on Spotify, and you can see what your friends are listening to along with going through whatever playlists they have made available for you. I am new to Apple Music, but something tells me that this is not something you can do. If you can, I can’t find it. People love to collaborate, share, and be inspired by others, especially people they know, so this social feature of Spotify definitely gives them more of an upperhand.
So, at the end of the day, as much as Apple is the big dog in the tech world, they have some catching up to do in the music world. They did set the tone for legal archiving of music, but they didn’t seem to make any moves to stay on top. It was almost as if they assumed no one would try to take the throne from them. But with companies like Spotify, Pandora, and Google Play (to be discussed in the near future) solely focusing on music, it wasn’t a difficult task.
Should Apple want to put Apple Music on top and make it worth their while, I would recommend they learn from their competitors while they come up with new features rather than simply doing the latter. They can all have all of the greatest features out there, but none of this matters if everyone is still signing up for Spotify Premium.
Furthermore, using social media to their advantage would not hurt. Maybe they could team up with Instagram and allow you to stream a portion of a song along with a photo or video that you post, but you would have to click on an icon in order to find out what the song is rather than having the song be listed. Or take a page out of Shazam’s notebook, and have the Apple Music logo pop up on the corner of the screen while an advertisement is playing. I personally am someone who has discovered a lot of songs from commercials.
This post is the tip of the iceberg – I am planning on continuing to analyze and discuss the intersection of music and social media, so stay tuned! (See what I did there?) In the meantime, jam on. However you do it.