Here at 5 Stones we have a few Apple enthusiasts, Dylan and myself. When Apple released their newest iPhone update that included Apple Music and Apple Music Connect, there were mixed emotions. I was excited to see Apple enter the music streaming service and try to create another music centered social media platform (remember Ping?).
Ping was Apple’s previous attempt at a social network that failed 2 years after its release. Ping was a difficult concept to grasp. It allowed users to “friend” one another but did not allow an artist any special privileges. There wasn’t a newsfeed or home page. It was more of a forum than a network. There was no real interaction on Ping, so Apple killed it.
Apple Music Connect, however, boasts to be “a place where musicians give their fans a closer look at their work, their inspirations, and their world.” The keynote revealed that artists could post things like candid shots, updates, lyrics, videos, and even new songs all from within the app. Only a week after its release, Artists have taken a liking to the platform. They are posting radio interviews, pictures, and their favorite songs. Some artists are also interacting with their fans by directly commenting on their posts within the app.
As excited as I was for this service, Dylan asked the question, what makes this different from Twitter or any other social platform that exists? The best answer I could come up with was that everything was in one place. There is no need to log into another account to find or listen to music. If someone is already in the Apple Music App, they can connect with their favorite artists and other fans. They have access to special content that can be shared anywhere, and if they want, they can still buy the song, all without switching applications.
Another big question about Apple Music is “Is there a free version?” The answer is, of course. The free version allows users access to follow artists on Connect, listen to radio stations (with commercials), and listen to the Beats 1 radio station. Paid members enjoy the other benefits like access to the entire library of songs, saving of Connect content, and being able to store those songs for offline use. The free version of Apple Music will be extremely similar to Spotify’s free version.
Apple has stepped into the ring of music streaming. While those who had all their music already in iTunes (like me) welcomed this change, it’s going to be difficult to convert users (like Dylan) that have been loyal to another service. Apple seems to be leveling the playing field by acquiring artists like Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean, and some artists are embracing their connect feature. The world wasn’t quite ready for Ping, but is appears to be ready for Apple Music.