Monday, September 7, 2015

Apple Music vs Tidal vs Spotify: Will the original audio streaming king be dethroned?

Written by Dustin Kemp — The audio streaming industry is currently at war. Apple’s newest major enterprise, Apple Music, and Jay-Z’s streaming venture, Tidal, are both trying to trump the long-standing Spotify service and each other to become king of the hill. Neither of the two newer platforms, however, are being met with much success.

Apple Music was an inevitability. After all, Apple revamped the entire commercial audio scene with its revolutionary iTunes platform, and it seemed only natural that they would try and transition their commercial music success to the cloud with the rising popularity of streaming media.

Unfortunately, early users of the service, which offers a three month free trial period, are not as enthused about it as Apple executives might hope. The company attempted to make Apple music stand out from the competition by including exclusive extras, but, according to a Telegraph reporter, they may have gone too far.

“Apple’s new product comes across as fussy and spring-loaded with distracting extras nobody asked for. There is so much noise it is hard to focus on the music,” the report says.

Only 52% of the people who have used Apple music since its release on July 30 report that they are still using the service, according to a Business Wire survey of over 5,000 people. Apple refuted these results, and a recent Inquisitr article goes into them in more detail.

Tidal seems to be doing even worse, based on comments from reviewers and record executives. On a survey distributed by Billboard, in fact, 71% of executives said Tidal will go under within a year.

Fans and Artists alike have repeatedly commented that the service is “elitist” and “expensive.” An article from Forbes corroborates this sentiment.

“For Jay-Z and his buddies to come along and expect users to pay $10 or $20 per month for music is insane in this day and age. In order for that price point to make any sense Tidal would have to offer enormous amounts of exclusive content. Things like streaming concerts and curated playlists aren’t even close to enough to get fans to part with their money. If the Tidal folks had paid even a little bit of attention to consumers, they would have known that.”

As for Spotify, it still seems to be doing fairly well. It is still the most-paid-for music streaming service by quite a ways, with 20 million paying subscribers (Apple Music will probably have several million when its free trial period expires and Tidal has 770,000).

It has even dealt well with the new influx of competitors trying to exploit Spotify’s previously greatest weakness, lack of curated content. The company has done so by adding “discovery features” such as Fresh Finds, Discovery weekly, and a slew of professionally developed playlists to fit any mood.

The next year or so will be a very interesting time for audio enthusiasts, as they will get to see how “the streaming wars,” the battle between Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify, and their competitors, play out.

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