Apple has partnered with Best Buy to offer six-month free trials for Apple Music and other services.
Best Buy routinely offers four-month free trials of Apple Music to its customers. But that offer has recently been extended an extra two months for new subscribers. The subscription offer covers Apple Music, Apple Fitness+, and Apple News+. Apple is no stranger to offering free trials as a customer acquisition method, but this is one of the most generous yet.
The Best Buy Apple Music free trial offer says new subscribers only, but I was able to sign up, and I have definitely subscribed before.
The only catch is that you’ll need to make a purchase at Best Buy to be eligible to receive the offer. The offer appears to be free on their website, but trying to add it to the cart produces an error. Apple Music has been pretty aggressive with the free trial offers lately, as it seeks to compete against Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music.
Meanwhile, Spotify is aggressively expanding its podcast offerings to take on a new segment of the market. Apple Music is also embracing podcasts, but it keeps them separate – something old-school podcast lovers (like me) tend to prefer. Not to be left out, Amazon recently acquired Wondery to fill out its podcast-exclusive content. So the next battleground for content seems to be podcasts.
Customer acquisition costs for music streaming services are through the roof. But when Apple Music, Spotify, and others offer these free trials, how are creators and rightsholders getting paid? The short answer is not very well, if at all.
Creators and rights holders are paid a percentage of revenue by these music streaming services. All the money they collect from subscription fees, advertising, and other revenue becomes a massive pool. Around 65-70% of this revenue is distributed to creators and rightsholders, while Spotify and Apple keep the rest.
Free trials have a proven track record of improving customer acquisition; otherwise, they wouldn’t be so popular. But how much of that is good for music streaming services versus artists and right holders? There’s very little value if someone discovers your music during their free trial, does all of their listening, and then moves on within those six months.