With the official launch of Apple Music this morning, the multinational tech deity is once again attempting to redefine the way we listen to—and ultimately, think about—music.
However, considering the already clustered competition of streaming services, as well as the their lack of widespread acceptance among global music consumers, it is difficult to predict how fruitful of a venture Apple Music will prove to be. Tim Cook and Apple Inc. have invested way less in the marketing of their expansive new service than they seemingly have in the simplest upgrade of their mobile software, which inevitably casts some doubt on their confidence in the new service.
Nevertheless, preliminary reviews of Apple Music are mostly positive, and if it holds true to its promises, the service may be poised to become the new go-to paid service for music streamers. The first big promise has already been kept, which is the launch of Beats 1 Radio, a 24/7 radio station primarily hosted by BBC Radio 1 vet, Zane Lowe. This new station is actually free and available to users who haven’t paid for Apple Music membership, and it is made even more enticing by a track-skipping function, along with exclusive artist interviews (including an interview with Eminem that aired on its first day).
Other promises from Apple Music include the ability to sync with all other Apple and iOS devices (phones, tablets, watches, brain control chips, etc.), higher royalties to musicians (thanks, Taylor Swift!), a chat and comment function that allows fans to connect with their favorite artists, as well as a smattering of algorithms and sentient experts that drop suggested music into your dashboard on a frequent basis. How well these characteristics will function, and how popular each will become, remains to be seen, but with 800 million active iTunes accounts, Apple Music has the unquestionable potential to overthrow the reigning competitor, Spotify (only 20 million paid users to date).
Today’s release of Apple Music has made 2015 one of the most important years in the short history of paid audio streaming services, which also included the embarrassingly pretentious “relaunch” of Tidal, Jay-Z’s most recent business venture. But for now, many of the questions lingering in the air, including the disruptability of Apple Music, will remain unanswered.