9 Reasons Why You Won’t Pay $9.99 for ‘Apple Music’

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1. Free music on YouTube.

YouTube has every song ever made, and is the single largest source of music consumption in the world (by a huge margin).  Not only that, it has a larger collection than Spotify, iTunes, or the ‘Apple Music’ streaming service will ever have.

2. Free music on Spotify.

Spotify understands music streaming because they’ve been doing it longer, with tens of million of users.  But most importantly, they offer ad-supported, free music access for an unlimited period, not just three months like Apple.  And if that doesn’t change, you have no reason to go to Apple.

3. Free music on Pandora.

Pandora has nearly 80 million unique listeners, and virtually all of them (a) are not paying anything; and (b) don’t care about choosing which song comes next (which virtually guarantees it will remain free).

4. Free music on Soundcloud.

Soundcloud is currently negotiating licenses with major labels and publishers, but they’re promising never to abandon their free tier.  And, they’re renowned for having a collection of remixes and track versions that you can’t find anywhere else — not on Spotify, not on YouTube, and definitely not on ‘Apple Music’.

5. Free music on Grooveshark.

They just couldn’t kill it.  After burying the free-for-all grooveshark.com, clones started popping up everywhere.  The biggest of these is grooveshark.li, which has been live for nearly two weeks and is rapidly becoming one of the largest sites in the world (again).

6. Free music on iTunes Radio.

Most people like music, but they want someone else to deejay for them.  And they want it done for free, which is exactly what iTunes Radio (and Songza, and MixRadio, and Pandora) already do.

7. Free music already on iTunes.

Steve Jobs started a digital music revolution by marrying iTunes, iPod, and the entire MP3 collection that you didn’t pay for.  Now, that collection is iCloud-enabled and a major barrier for Apple’s next move, no matter how many millions of credit cards they have on file.

8. Beats Music.

It’s just not as brilliant as they think it is.  And if it were, more than 300,000 people would be paying for it.  Not only that, it doesn’t really fit into iTunes, which is why Apple probably should have paid more to acquire Spotify instead.

9. It’s just not ‘Different’ enough.

Apple likes to ‘Think Different,’ but ‘Apple Music’ looks like it will be exactly the same as everything else.  And if you’re one of the few people already paying for music, why would you switch?  Most paying music fans are already committed, and unlikely to switch from something they probably like.  Which leaves late adopters, who typically care a lot less about music (and don’t want to pay for it).

36 Responses

  1. george

    Is Apple streaming dead already due to bad press?

    How does everyone feel? I don’t know.

    • Name2

      It’s gotten bad press from someplace besides DMN?

      It has launched?

      DMN is “press”?

      The More You Know…..

  2. Jeff Robinson

    Don’t forget the prevalent reason, Beats seriously under-reports spins so they actually pay on less than have occurred. I say this because this is what our artists have experienced since Beats started. On the one hand, we should all applaud this because at least they aren’t relying on Venture Capital to float a losing service, but on the other hand we should all be abhorred, because if Apple has allowed this to happen with Beats, then how many sales from iTunes have been shaved since it’s inception? Selling invisible, sonic effluvium makes this possible.

    • Me

      I’ve always wondered about this. The only way to know is for a serious full fledged audit that would be very timely and costly.

  3. DavidB

    With the exception of reason 2, all of these are equally reasons why people won’t pay for Spotify. Yet Spotify’s official line (correct me if I’m wrong) is still that:

    ” By bringing listeners into our free, ad-supported tier, we migrate them away from piracy and less monetised platforms and allow them to generate far greater royalties than they were before. Once they are using our free tier, we drive users to our premium subscription tier, at least doubling the amount that they spend on music, from less than $5 per month (the average spent by download consumers in The US) to $9.99 per month for Spotify ”

    How Spotify ‘drive users’ to the premium tier is not explained, probably because it is PR bollocks.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Yes, this does get a little circular doesn’t it? But the same reason why people aren’t paying for Spotify Premium is the same reason they won’t pay for ‘Apple Music’.

      • Name2

        You’d better sit down. Okay, have it your way.

        Since I’m not a record company or an “artist”, I don’t demand everything be handed me for free.

        I do pay for my Spotify. Premium/family in fact. $15/mo.

        Fainting couch is over there.

  4. Anonymous

    This is what happens when record labels let a bunch of other companies do something they should just together do themselves.

    • RIAA Thought Police

      Go deeper, the artist should be selling direct from their own websites. Spotify represents the ‘Wal-Martization of Music Streaming’. No character.

      • Troglite


        In fact, I think its quite possible that artists are better off with piracy than ad-supported “free” steaming. The artist’s works are being used to build and empower a new set of “distribution middle men”. The labels don’t care b/c they’ve structured the deals with these distributors so they win no matter how large and powerful these middleman may grow.

        I’ve seen some argue that individual artists sites lack the gravity to draw as many users as a streaming service that can offer the full range of artists catalogs in one place. In my opinion, this is a red herring. This “issue” is easily addressed at a technical level (common protocols/standards or shared “backend” platforms). In other words, with the right tooling…. that issue disappears quickly.

        I’ve also seen many people assert that streaming has won and we should all just accept the new reality. Although I think this may be a reasonable approximation of current reality, I think it ignores one of the core dynamics of our new digital music marketplace. Reality can/will change MUCH MORE RAPIDLY. There isn’t one single revolution occurring, its a whole series of disruptions. Today’s kings could easily become tomorrow’s fools. This should be cause for hope for artists. Consumers aren’t loyal to streaming platforms or merchants, they’re loyal to the music they love and the artists that made it.

      • GStorm

        And how are the artists going to hire to set that up? Artists don’t get venture capital. Independent record labels used to and then did the business side for them. People like Bob Dylan and John Lennon were blithering idiots when it came to technology or business. That’s not their skill (thankfully too). Nor is it for a vast majority of musicians.

      • Name2

        Dear God, no. If I want to get inside the “artist’s” visual headspace, I’ll hit the website, buy the app, whatever.

        In the meantime, spare me the wasted bandwidth.

  5. There is something...

    If the integration with iTunes is good, I’ll switch in a heartbeat.

    Also it’s funny to see that after years of Spotify bashing, DMN is now a Spotify supporter against Apple ?!
    You guys look like you’re really afraid that Apple could in fact succeed in the streaming business…

    • smg77

      Apparently the luddites that run this site are against anything that isn’t a return to conning consumers out of $18 for a physical CD.

      • superduper

        Jeez, NOBODY is asking for the return of the $18 CD. $18 is too much for a CD. I say we should focus more on finding the right price point for individually purchased music, like $7-10, which is a more reasonable amount for something like a CD, so that people are not “conned” as you say.
        And I like streaming as temporary but hate streaming as a permanent fixture. I ONLY buy CDs and the occasional downloaded song and I like it simply because I think CDs are the superior format.

        • MarkH

          Kids listen to music on phones and Ipads. They don’t use PC’s and have no use for CDs.

          • superduper

            I think it may be a generalisation because a lot of people still use desktop computers (not to mention laptops). Also, as for CDs I am sure a decent number of young people still buy CDs. As for the CD drive,
            1) drives still do exist in certain computers
            2) a lot of affordable external drives exist
            3) it’s not as if they can’t be put back internally if discs become more popular.

  6. Versus

    Too soon to say. Let’s wait until we see the actual product before pre-judging, please.

    May of these reasons do not fly with me.
    – YouTube is an awful way to listen to music. Usually poor sound-quality, ugly interface, no tagging of track files, Internet connection required, often have to stream video content as well, etc.
    – Free tiers of Spotify etc? No. I do not want ads ruining my experience of music.
    – Pandora? No. I want to choose, sorry I mean “curate”, my own listening.

    Etc. Thus far I still prefer to own (legally) music files, that I can categorize, tag, playlist, rate, etc within iTunes. At least I know these won’t disappear if one of these companies collapses or radically changes its software.

    I do find Spotify and YouTube etc. useful for music discovery and research, though. But when I like a discovery, I buy it, either as digital, or as vinyl, or both.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      – YouTube is an awful way to listen to music. Usually poor sound-quality, ugly interface, no tagging of track files, Internet connection required, often have to stream video content as well, etc.

      So awful, that it’s the single largest source for consuming music on the planet. I see the deficiencies, but I’d urge you to think about the massive advantages that may be far more important.

      • Versus

        I am not denying its prevalence and usage stats, only stating that I find it an awful way to listen to music. It’s fine for discovery, but I don’t use it for listening in general.

      • Jeff Robinson

        Paul, it depends on who is providing the music to Youtube. Their playlist ability has gotten pretty comparable to most other services BUT you have to be signed in to play anything that way.

  7. Anonymous

    Here’s the real reason, though:

    It doesn’t have video.

    Which makes it worthless.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      That’s possible in v1, though video is definitely seeping into subscription music services. Just look at Tidal, and massive video initiatives from Spotify.

      You may also want to take a look at Vadio, a startup dedicated to attaching video content into audio-specific music subscription services.

    • Sarah

      I think it’s probably safe to assume (at least of the leading services, and we’ll include Apple streaming in that simply because of Apple’s size and resources) that if a service doesn’t already have video, they are actively planning for and/or working on it. You’re going to get video from all of them, probably within 1-2 years 🙂

  8. Name2

    Apple likes to ‘Think Different,’ but ‘Apple Music’ looks like it will be exactly the same as everything else.

    A distinct possibility. But one question:

    Have YOU used it?

    Simple “YES” or “NO”.

    • Tom Green

      Right – less ‘looks like’ and more ‘may very well likely be based on my pre-conceived notions of Apple products as a devout Android user’. Funny. I’d like to get a look – I’m a UX designer and would like to compare the look and feel, usability of it to others. That’s the differentiator IMO – everyone has a big catalog, discovery features, social. Zzzzz.

  9. Name2

    10. That super-cool dude in the article pic looks like he’s not happy. I’m out, too! I wanna be just like him!

    • djg

      Oh no! not the photograph by Olaf Mueller worth over $100,000

  10. Johan

    Also have a look to Blitzr :

    Unifying music sources (Youtube, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Rdio, Spotify, Deezer…) with context (bios, pics, gig listings, new discovery & recommendation tools…) in a free service !

  11. Tone

    #2 is the biggest reason

    why pay for something that you can get for free (and just as good) somewhere else?

  12. SomeoneYouDontKnow

    Also, used CDs are often so cheap, $9.99 seems expensive in comparison. Speaking of used goods, your iTunes music can’t be re-sold, as ReDigi found out the hard way. So, when you’re tired of hearing that one CD album, you can re-sell it, and invest that money in another album. It’s legal, and doesn’t require you to hand over any money to the studios that don’t deserve it anyway (they may claim it goes to the artists, but in reality they usually keep as much of it for themselves as possible).

  13. Jared

    Soundcloud is one of the best platforms for emerging artists. It’s a shame what’s happened to it. It’s launched more careers than any other service.

  14. ownership rules

    i believe versus is right when it comes to listening behaviours,youtube is more of a discovery platform and when i want to permanently listen to the song i either buy it from itunes or or use a downloader to download the files from youtube,so the real experience is in owning the music and playing it whenever