Apple’s problems continue to grow as users of its Apple Music service have yet to be impressed. Investors seem pessimistic about the future success of Apple Music as it appears that people generally are not using the product. Where Apple thought there would be easy pickings from the likes of Spotify and Pandora, it appears the incumbents have a firm grip on their users and the streaming music industry in general. Troubles with Apple Music, decreased iPhone sales in China and overall slow revenue and profit growth, have compounded investors’ worries.
Subscribers of the recently released Apple Music service have two months left to decide whether to cancel their free subscriptions or start paying $9.99 per month for the service. Although the verdict is not yet in regarding how many of the 11 million users will actually sign up, early predictions are not favorable to Apple. Factors such as a confusing interface as well as competition from well-established programs such as Spotify do not necessarily bode well for the company that revolutionized the music industry with the creation of the iPod.
The 11 million subscriber number was released by Apple Senior Vice-President Eddy Cue in an interview with USA Today earlier this week. Although Cue stated he was thrilled with the number, the announcement did not help Apple’s share price, which has fallen about 6% in the last five days.
Apple recently acquired Beats Music, a 24/7 streaming Internet radio service, to the tune of $3 billion. That appears to be the number one draw for subscribers to the Apple Music service. However, the confusion regarding the program may be just too much when considering spending money for the service. Jim Dalrymple, an influential Apple enthusiast who writes for the blog, The Loop, is extremely disappointed in the service and has voiced his feelings. “I had high hopes for Apple Music. I really wanted it to work and become my default music streaming service, but after the problems I’ve experienced over the last couple of weeks, I’m disabling it altogether.”
Specifically, the biggest problem with the service appears to be the “unintuitive interface.” Regardless of whether a user has accessed Apple Music through and Apple operating system (“iOS”) app, or iTunes via a computer, navigating the options is confusing. Certain features of the system appear to disappear, which make creating playlists difficult. The “add” music option is sometimes nowhere to be found.
Moreover, every time a user wishes to launch Apple Music on a new device, he/she has to go through the whole setup process again, thereby duplicating playlists and individual songs in a user’s music library.
In addition to the user problems with Apple Music, there is also the issue of competition from music streaming juggernaut Spotify. According to Spotify, it boasts 75 million users for its free service and 20 million users of its $9.99 per month premium service. Pandora also reports 79.4 million users. Essentially, Apple and Spotify are offering the exact same products, thereby raising the issue of whether users are likely to jump to Apple Music. Given the ease of using Spotify and the problems with Apple Music, people simply may stay with Spotify.
Once the three-month free subscription of Apple Music ends, we will see how competitive Apple Music actually is.