Apple Music’s slug line is basic. “Never stop playing.” Fair enough. With a music catalog of somewhere around 30-million or more songs, it’s likely I could play something new on my iPhone for about 170 years and not hear a duplicate (I did the math; about 3-minutes per song, 20 songs per hour, 480 songs per day).
So far, after compiling a number of playlists I have yet to run into a song I wanted that I couldn’t download. Apple Music has plenty of specials that don’t show up on other music services like Spotify or Pandora or whatever Google, Amazon, and Microsoft push these days. I like exclusives but that’s not why I would consider subscribing to Apple Music.
If you head over to the Apple Music website you’ll be treated to the expected three month promotion, what’s hot right now, either album or playlist, then a promo for Apple’s new AirPods which you can’t even buy, then a promo for the two remaining iPods (I was surprised there’s still an iPod touch; who knew?). After that Apple displays an ad for Beats headphones and speakers, then iTunes itself, and thanks to the upcoming holiday gift giving season, iTunes and Apple Music gift cards.
Before going on, here’s a tip about the gift cards. Buy them at a discount. They show up at Target and other retailers, sometimes with a 10-percent to 20-percent discount. Buy a bunch, then redeem them to your iTunes account.
Apple takes the monthly fee for Apple Music from your iTunes balance first, so the $9.99 monthly subscription fee turns out to be as low as $7.99 or so.
Back to basics– there’s just not much to not like about Apple Music. You control what you hear through playlists, and you can download about all you need to each device with ease. As long as you pay the monthly subscription fee, you get the music. Stop paying, and the music goes away.
This took some getting used to because I like buying and managing my own music collection of 3,500 songs in iTunes on my Mac. With Apple Music I get more songs and they’re easily organized into playlists that extend beyond my music collection.
There’s just one more thing Apple Music needs.
A lower price. The iTunes account balance discount is a good way to save 10-percent to 20-percent, but I’m not willing to fork over $10 a month to rent music. $7.99 a month I can get with judicious iTunes gift card purchases. So, I’m thinking that the best price is about $5.99 for a couple of devices, $6.99 for a few more devices to share the account, and maybe $9.99 per month for an entire family of Mac, iPhone, and iPad users that subscribe to Apple Music.
The reason Apple throws in all those extra goodies for Apple Music subscribers is simple. They need to differentiate from Spotify and other competitors in an age where streaming music is a commodity. Apple, price matters. Get the price down, tier the pricing scheme a bit, and I’ll subscribe.