Monday, August 17, 2015

Apple Music Enjoying Early Gains

Since the debut of its new streaming service, Apple Music has already racked up 11 million members. Not bad for five weeks. Apple executives said they are “thrilled” with the numbers … and why shouldn’t they be? Even though the service is free (for the first three months) users are still flocking to it in what could be described as amazing numbers.
That, plus being the industry leader in individual song sales puts Apple in a very strong market position. But how does Apple Music really stack up to its competition? Well, Spotify has 75 million active users, but only 20 million paid subscribers. Other competitors have less than 5 million paid subscribers. Doubters are already offering a plausible “yeah, but” … these are unpaid subscribers. What will happen when Apple’s freebie time runs out?

It’s a fair question, but, really, has Apple had any difficulty keeping clients in the past? If they just do what they always have – create a product that is also one part social phenomenon and one part cultural movement – then Apple Music will likely rise to present a legitimate rival to both Spotify and Google Play.

One thing that’s absolutely certain – streaming music is here to stay. A novelty just a few short years ago, streaming now makes up nearly one-quarter of the total digital music market. Billions are being made, and there doesn’t appear to be a ceiling coming any time soon. As more people discover streaming, it’s likely to grab even more of the market.

Recently, Apple successfully navigated a PR rough patch that could have sunk the platform before it really ever got going full steam. After uber star Taylor Swift caught wind that Apple didn’t plan to pay artists for plays during the three-month trial period, Swift put the service on blast and the company on notice. Change your mind or I boycott. Apple, in the best possible PR move, capitulated to the Queen of Pop.

Another smart move came directly from the tried and true Apple playbook: exclusive content. Thanks to a sweetheart deal with Beats, Dr. Dre has promised he would only release his new album through Apple Music and iTunes. Since millions are already planning to buy that album, this is another way Apple will get paid to play.

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.

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