Beats1, Spotify0? #Beats1

Apple Music kicked off today around the world. It is a massive move by Apple, and based on listening to a few suggested playlists and Beats1 for a couple of hours this evening, it is clear that Spotify is at a high risk of losing millions of subscribers over the next few months alone.

Because Apple Music is included with the iOS 8.0.4 upgrade – baked in just like notes or health – and it uses your iTunes account to sort billing details – switching over from whatever streaming music service you were previously using is trivial.

I don’t have the time like I used to have when I was a student to curate playlists – I haven’t listened to radio (save National Radio for the news) in quite some time, because in the age of the curated playlist, ads and people talking can kill the vibe.

So far, the DJs and light advertisements on Beats1 are very different from what we’re used to on commercial radio in New Zealand. The DJs know their music and transitions are quite snappy. There is an interesting opportunity here – for a generation that has moved away from radio towards Spotify/Pandora/iTunes/Soundcloud – perhaps Beats1 might shake up commercial radio in a way that satellite radio never really did outside of the US.

Anyway, the user experience is great. The suggestions obviously play on previous iTunes purchases so that was a trip down memory lane, but the curated playlists, particularly in electronic music, are excellent. They might be brief – but this is the tl;dr generation so a 9-10 track playlist in between listening to Beats1 means that Apple Music could capture the ears of tens of millions of subscribers in the next year.

What does this mean for other streaming music services? From a technology point of view, they’re basically competing as a standalone product against a firm that has made integration with all of its products and ease of use a priority. I will definitely smash Apple Music for the next couple of weeks – and the more I tune in, the less likely I’ll still be a Spotify subscriber this time next month – that is disruption.

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