When Apple launched the iPod in 2001, not even the company’s former mastermind Steve Jobs could have predicted what was going to happen.
Fifteen years later, the company is shaking things up once again with the launch of Apple Music, its own streaming service to rival the likes of market leaders Spotify and Deezer.
When the Cupertino-based company announced their new streaming service, it was a big deal. Behind the scenes, they were renegotiating deals with record labels and artists and, more recently, snapping up talent such as Zane Lowe from BBC Radio 1.
Little was known about what Lowe would be doing - until recently, when it was announced he was going to be a DJ on Beats 1, Apple’s live radio station.
“You have to humanise it a bit,” former Beats co-founder and now Apple Music head honcho Jimmy Iovine said. “Because there’s a real art to telling you what song comes next. Algorithms can’t do it alone. They’re very handy, and you can’t do something of this scale without ‘em, but you need a strong human element.”
So far, their pitch for Apple Music is that it will incorporate all sorts of playlists based on your personal taste, making it clear that the streaming service isn’t just aiming for a large slice of Spotify, Tidal and Deezer’s streaming pie, but also radio too.
Spotify announced earlier this month they had reached 20 million paying subscribers, with 55 million using their free service. More than 800 million have iTunes accounts already, and when the new streaming service launches, all they’ll have to do is a click a button and they’ll have Apple Music too, without the need to key in any more details to pay for it.
Of course, cost will be a deciding factor for many. UK figures are yet to be announced, but it’ll be $9.99 in the US, and like Apple’s other products, it’s unlikely to be a straight conversion to sterling.
Apple will almost certainly come in for stick when, on July 1, the Apple Music app installs itself on your iPhone or iPad automatically, just like when U2’s most-recent album landed in your iTunes account without consent last year.
n Apple Music launches on June 30