Apple Music has helped the growth of its main rival Spotify, says the Swedish music streaming service’s vice president Jonathan Forster. The ten-year old company now has close to 100 million users across 59 markets.
When Music launched in June last year Apple was no doubt hoping to disrupt the industry in a similar way to other products – for example, the Apple Watch, which despite being a late entry into the smartphone market was able to easily become a market leader far less than a year after its launch.
However, Spotify has seen its growth continue with the arrival of Apple, and Forster believes it’s down to Apple raising the profile of music streaming. In an interview with Reuters he explains: “It’s great that Apple is in the game. They are definitely raising the profile of streaming. It is hard to build an industry on your own.”
Of course, there are differences between the two services, and the medium itself could be seen to lack innovation. The majority of music streaming services offer similar libraries and features. In this regard it’s difficult for Apple to offer a premium product in the way it can with its hardware. Placing the price point at the same level as Spotify’s premium tier places it on a similar level to its competitors and many will be unlikely to switch just on Apple’s name alone.
As a result Spotify has remained the market leader with 100 million users – 30 million of those on its paid tier, compared to Apple’s 13 million.
However, the publicity – both positive and negative – surrounding the Apple Music launch has clearly affected the public consciousness when it comes to streaming. However, Forster also told Reuters he doesn’t believe that the huge number of streaming services currently on the market (Pandora, Tidal, Google Play Music, SoundCloud etc.) is sustainable. “My Internet history would tell me that there’s probably not going to be that many significant players, and then maybe smaller niche cases … maybe there could be a classical music streaming service. It’s a hard business.”
Of course, Apple has had its own significant wins and growth spurts – just last week Drake’s new album Views which was available exclusively through Apple for one week was streamed 250 million times via Apple Music. Better still, it led to 1 million downloads within the first week showing some important cross-pollination between Apple’s streaming and download purchasing businesses.
As for the Reuters articles, there’s some interesting material from Spotify’s vice president, and despite some issues with Apple Music, including confusion over how the iCloud Music Library works, it’s likely we’ll see that service continue to grow healthily as well.