Apple Music’s Web Player Now Streams Entire Songs – No iTunes Needed

Apple Music's Web Player Now Streams Entire Songs – No iTunes Needed
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With Apple Music now compatible with embeddable widgets, the Cupertino-based company takes yet another step back from iTunes.  Here’s why that’s a great thing.

Several months ago, Digital Music News shared some pretty interesting news.

Sources inside the company confirmed that Apple would shut down iTunes in ‘early 2019.’  Specifically, internal roadmaps showed that the Cupertino-based company would phase out the service on (or around) March 31st, 2019.

The news makes sense.  Just a week earlier, Jimmy Iovine, the former Global Head of Apple Music, said that the company would shut down when “people stop buying.”  Just a single financial quarter later, we found out that Apple now makes more money from its Services division.  Last month, Services revenue totaled $9.2 billion in revenue.  This includes, of course, Apple Care, Apple Pay, the App Store, and cloud-based services.

Even more interesting, during its Q2 2018 earnings call, CEO Tim Cook didn’t mention iTunes music downloads – not once.  Separately, we’ve heard projections of music downloads slipping 40% year-over-year by Christmas.

Now, the company has taken a step back from iTunes once more.  And, this will ultimately help Apple better compete in the streaming music market.

Finally, stream Apple Music from your web browser… sort of.

Ahead of the company’s WWDC presentation, a single user on Reddit noted a feature previously unseen on Apple Music.  The company had “accidentally enabled” streaming from its web player.  Users could now listen to full tracks from embeddable widgets after signing in.

Apple confirmed the news today at its WWDC conference.  The company has updated its MusicKit developer software.  So, web developers can now allow music fans to stream their songs, albums, and playlists on embeddable music players.

This marks the first time that music fans can listen to complete tracks without needing iTunes.  Previously, users with Apple Music subscriptions had to launch iTunes after 30 seconds.  These embeddable widgets now sport sleek sign-in buttons.

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Image shared by The Mac Observer

The feature, however, remains inconsistent for the most part.  Some users have reportedly had success streaming tracks on the widgets.  Others haven’t.  They’ve reported only streamed 30-second samples, despite having an active subscription to the service.

So, what does this mean for the future of iTunes?

Simple.  Apple won’t have to depend on the service any longer.

In the near future, users on Apple Music will likely stream full tracks on browsers sans embeddable widgets.  Keep in mind that competitors, including Spotify and Deezer, have already enabled this feature years ago.

This, in turn, will allow the streaming music service to better compete in countries where people don’t frequently use Apple products – something the service needs to ultimately dethrone Spotify worldwide.

Just take a look at India.  After nearly three years on the market, the company’s streaming music platform only has a 0.1% market share.  A big part of the reason for that is Android, which has overwhelming smartphone dominance in India.

Ditto for music fans in South Korea.  Android devices currently have a 73.3% market share in the country.  iOS devices – mainly iPhones and iPads – only have a 26.5% market share.  That explains why – despite launching there two years ago – Apple Music tied with Samsung Music with a 4.6% market share.


Featured image by Apple.

3 Responses

  1. from the bunker

    I think this article is just a guess opinion, sure iTunes downloads sales are down but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dead.

    The market is more diverse now and some consumers prefer to pay $1 or $2 a track and have them stored in their music collection without the expense of taking out a monthly streaming subscription.

    One size does not fit all .. today’s market is a mix of choices for the consumer.

  2. Lest it be overlooked...

    The word from deeper within the bunker is…

    Paul has been pretty good at “sniffing out” the scoop over the years IMHO, so I would not write this off simply as a “guess opinion.”

    That said, speaking of “some pretty interesting news,” the plot thickens.

    Having stated that Facebook and Spotify are, and have been, “joined at the hip” on more than one occasion throughout the years, the following comes as no surprise in that regard, but I did not realize the magnitude and scope of the situation.

    Those who have read my previous comments in this regard know that I drew attention to the rampant Facebook “freebooting” situation (where, for example, Facebook users would upload content to the Facebook platform that they had “freebooted” from the YouTube platform without permission), as well as the very real possibility that Facebook and Spotify were inextricably intertwined regarding the content shared by Facebook users on the Facebook platform (in this regard, I also drew attention to the very real possibility that the songwriters, artists and bands who uploaded their content to the Facebook platform may find that it has been “licensed” to other platforms and stored on their servers without the songwriters, artists and bands prior knowledge or consent). Perhaps this would provide an explanation for low songwriter, artist and band payouts – independent, self-published, or otherwise?

    It may also provide an explanation as to Facebook’s panic-play, that is to say, to sign deals with the songwriters, artists and bands with content on the Facebook platform before the Spotify direct listing. Does the MMA come to mind?

    Why post this on an article relating to Apple you ask, well, just read the article.

    Perhaps Paul might want to write a “guess opinion” on the subject?

  3. dhenn

    If so, it will be the stupidest thing Apple has ever done hands down. They keep taking away every freakin tool musicians use to create and distribute music so what the fck will they be streaming, dead air. So sick of this crap.