Remember Ping? Don’t worry if you don’t because few people have heard of it these days. A few years ago it was Apple’s attempt to create a social network based around music artists. Now it is back with a new name as part of Apple Music.
Apple Music has been in development since the company acquired Beats Music last year and the launch on Jun 8th was hardly a surprise. It is Apple’s very late attempt to join the streaming all-you-can-eat music party. The big question is, will it succeed?
How could it fail? Putting an app on the home screen of every iPhone and iPad is almost a guarantee of success. Imagine if Spotify was made the default music app on the home screen of millions of Apple devices. Just by being there it will be right in front of a huge audience. When apps are promoted by Apple they get large numbers of users, just ask any app developer.
Streaming music services are all very similar with tens of millions of tracks, a wide range of artists and genres, playlists, curated music, automatic playlist generators, radio stations and so on. We have yet to experience Apple’s streaming music service, but it is hard to see any obvious reason not to choose it.
It is priced the same as every other service (at least for individuals), it has the same music as everyone else (there are always a handful of exceptions), the app will no doubt be excellent (so are rival apps), and it is a default app on all Apple devices. Why bother to install a different app just to get the same music streaming? A lot of people are going to sign up just because it is Apple and Apple Music comes with the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
Connect is interesting and it sounds like Ping 2, an updated version of the failed social network. This time around it looks like only artists can sign up and create content. Everyone else is a follower. At least that is what it currently seems to be. We will see when the service launches.
Will it succeed this time around? We don’t know and it depends on how active artists are in posting content. With a social network, and it is a type of social network, people expect to see new posts every time they go on and that might be several times a day.
Connect will surely die of neglect if artists don’t post for weeks at a time, and this happened with Ping. Artists have so many places to post updates, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. Adding yet another place might be one too many. We will see.
What you get for free
Here in the UK we never got iTunes Radio, so we have never had streaming music from Apple. This was mainly a US service was in very few places outside of the country. Apple Music, however, promises streaming music radio around the globe.
That is big news for everyone outside of the US and it is what we have been waiting for for years. Not that there is any shortage of streaming radio stations, there are hundreds, but it is nice to see an Apple one.
Beats 1 streaming radio service is free to everyone (except if you are on Android, they must pay, even for content Apple users get for free). It will also be free to view and follow artists on Connect too.
It is hard to get too excited about the launch of yet another streaming music service because there are already several good ones to choose from. Being bundled with every Apple device and being available on Android will surely affect rival services and they must be worried. How will Deezer, Spotify and others cope in the face of competition from Apple? It could seriously affect their subscriber numbers and profitability.
The difference between one streaming music service and another is mainly interface design and app features. Apple’s apps tend to be slick and easy to use, so if you have an iPhone there is no reason not to switch to Apple Music. Rivals will have to respond, but it is hard to see how, apart from cutting prices.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Published: 09 June 2015