Apple Music is one year old today. At Apple’s WorldWide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), the company announced that the music membership platform had accrued 15-million subscribers.
The Number and its Nuances
There are two interpretations of that number: The good and the bad, to be simple about it. On the upside, attracting 15-million sign-ups in one year is a blistering pace of adoption in the music subscription field. On the downside, the number seems to shrink when you consider the addressable market of one-billion-plus Apple devices in the world.
Apple doesn’t really need to make money from its music service, of course. With a market cap of a half-trillion dollars, the company doesn’t need your $9.99/month to pay its electric bill. But it does need a robust music service in its mobile ecosystem, and it needs to diversify its music take beyond the dwindling download business in iTunes.
Accordingly, Apple announced a much-needed redesign of Apple Music. (The much-needed part is our assessment, because the launch product has dreadful usability in our opinion.) The modernized look appears refreshing.
As a baked-in feature o Apple’s mobile operating system (iOS), the new Apple Music app is not available as an upgrade now. It will come with iOS 10, which was the main focus of this year’s WWDC. iOS 10 is available now to third-party app developers, and will be released to the public this fall. Current Apple Music subscribers have to shine on with the original (honestly, really dismal) interface until then. Apple Music is also available in Android devices; the new app is not currently available in the Google Play app store.
In the refreshed app design, the menus and screens do look simpler more usable. There are a few slight adjustments on the content front. The New tab has been changed to Browse, and it includes options for flipping through new music, charts, genres, and curated playlists. The For You tab has been updated with a Recently Added menu. Connect, the social feature, has been significantly downplayed.
No world on the potential expansion of Beats 1 radio, disappointing rumors of building out that franchise to Beats 2, 3, etc., to represent different music types and programming innovations.