Reactions to Apple’s announcement at its Worldwide Developer’s Conference Monday that it was indeed launching Apple Music — which it positioned as a service that takes the best of what’s already out there and adds a heaping does of its secret sauce — were generally favorable although some details about execution remain murky.
As Marco della Cava puts it in USA Today, Apple is “looking to reinvent radio” when the Music app makes its debut June 30 for $9.99 a month (or $14.99 for up to six members of a “household”).
“Apple Music takes the human-curation element of Beats Music, the subscription service Apple got in its $3 billion Beats Electronics purchase last year, and adds Beats1, a live DJ-helmed radio station aimed at giving music a cultural center that has been diluted since the digital revolution rocked the music industry landscape,” della Cava writes.
“We weren’t the first phone, we weren’t the first music player. That’s not where revolutions are made,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of software and Internet services, tells the New York Times’ Brian X. Chen. “Revolutions are about bringing it all together and having the best product that actually works.”
“As simple as the name is, what it offers is surprisingly complex. It bundles in a streaming service, a 24/7 radio network and a whole new social outreach tool for artists,” writes Nicole Lee for Engadget.
Lee is referring to Connect, through which “artists can share lyrics, backstage photos, videos or even release their latest song directly to fans directly from their iPhone,” according to Apple’s release.
Billboard’s Glenn Peoples writes that although there were many answers rendered by assembled Apple executives yesterday, questions still remain. Among them are whether Apple Music will have any exclusive content, whether it can get artists to use Connect for social marketing and, for artists, licensing and royalty details.
Speaking of which, “Apple Hasn't Convinced The Beatles To Let You Stream Their Music” reads a headline on The Verge. “Bloomberg reports that the company still hasn't managed to finalize a deal with Apple Corps,” writes Chris Welch.
That doesn’t mean its not trying. As for just about everyone else in the music business in any way, they’re in the “crosshairs,” observes Bloomberg’s Joshua Topolsky — not only Spotify and Pandora but also Sirius XM satellite radio and social Web services like Tumblr, Twitter, and SoundCloud.
“In fact, the theme on Monday could have been: Apple on the attack,” Topolsky writes. “The company lashed out several times against competitors that seem to be eating up small plots of land around its kingdom.”
Daniel Ek, Spotify’s founder, apparently was not “all that impressed,” reports Mashable’s Brian Ries, tweeting “oh OK” (but then taking it down).
“It’s interesting to see Apple trying to retake control of content,” Jackdaw Research chief analyst Jan Dawson tells the Wall Street Journal’s Daisuke Wakabayashi. “It feels like Apple has been in limbo, adrift in the last few years. Music went to streaming. Video went to subscriptions and Apple sat back and watched that happen.”
But it has inherent advantages to give it a jump start.
“Apple’s ability to ‘magically’ install its new Music app into hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads could help it match Spotify’s 15-million subscribers in less than a year,” according to Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey, write the Financial Times’ Matthew Garrahan and Tim Bradshaw.
“Apple comes late to the music streaming business, due in part to Steve Jobs’ refusal to believe that music subscription services would ever work,” McQuivey says. “But the writing is on the wall: digital downloads don’t make sense for consumers that are connected wherever they go.”
And to whom a Walkman-type device record that plays albums is no less quaint than a record store.
“There is this idea of appealing to a new generation with music,” Horace Dediu, founder of research firm Asymco, tells the WSJ’s Wakabayashi. “And this generation doesn’t buy music, they stream it.”
Apple also announced Apple News, a free Flipboard-like app that will allow users to “customize their feeds to see news stories from the publishers they like,” reportsWired’s Julia Greenberg. “News is smart,” says Apple vice president Susan Prescott. “The more I read the better it gets at showing me stories I’m interested in.”
Initial partners including Condé Nast, the New York Times and ESPN.
Natt Gurun put together a tidy list of all of yesterday’s WWDC news — including forthcoming upgrades to OS X for Macs and iOS 9 for portable devices — on The Next Web.
The Apple Music announcement generated the most interest among those tweeting their reactions during the 2½-hour keynote address, according to an email from Amobee Brand Intelligence, with 40,788 mentions. “iPad generated 35,568 tweets during the same time period, with the devices gaming abilities and new multitask feature the areas generating the most excitement. There were 28,764 tweets around the upcoming iOS 9; 16,569 tweets around the faster and more accurate Siri, and 15,462 tweets mentioning the debuting OS X El Capitan.”