back to article Virtually no one is using Apple Music even though it is utterly free

The 11 million people who signed up for Apple Music have two months to cancel their subscriptions or start paying. The streaming service went live in early July, is free for the first three months, and completely dwarfed by Spotify. Apple senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue dropped the 11 million …

  1. Grade%
    Alert

    Too many $9.99 services out there.

    You know, as a consumer I'd appreciate it if there was some consideration given to the sheer number of services there are to be considered adequately "connected". One does not have a change purse of holding infinite Steloj. So, get a grip and make the ARPU something a bit more rational. Please and thanks.

  2. oldtaku
    FAIL

    Yes, it is terrible, and they made iTunes even worse to do this (who knew that was possible?) I wouldn't use it even if they didn't charge $9.99 a month.

    1. thondwe
      FAIL

      Agree - Apple Music is barely usable on a iDevice, and the iTunes changes are appalling. Can't wait to see how bad the Android/Windows Apps are going to be. Has Apple lost all it's UI people now?

      It's saving grace is price - Spotify costs us £15 for two people, but Apple would charge the same to cover my whole family.

      1. Richard Wharram

        The UI is a confusing mess and a total faff to use compared to Spotify. Why on earth they thought that mashing up iTunes libraries with a streaming service would give a great experience is beyond me.

        However, if I can get used to it in the next couple of months and the library is on a par with Spotify I will probably still swap for the above reason. £15 for a family of four is cheaper than Spotify who would charge me £25 for the privilege.

        I just wish they'd realise the error of their ways and release an app free from the iTunes bollox.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virtually no one?

    How long did it take Spotify to hit 11 million users? If 90% of those people leave once the free trial is up you might have a point, otherwise I think El Reg is reaching and hoping for another bite at the "peak Apple" meme.

    1. Graham Triggs

      Re: Virtually no one?

      It's 11 million people out of 300 million iPhone users who theoretically ought to be trying it out immediately.

      They could have just pushed out a free trial to everyone, with a warning at the end that they need to subscribe, and claimed the numbers game.

      Or maybe it's very close to the number of people who are Apple users that already pay for streaming services, and they are all going to switch.

      But everyone I know that has taken the Music trial does not subscribe to another streaming service, and intend to cancel before the end of the trial.

      So it's somewhere between the two positions, and I personally suspect it's closer to the first, than the latter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Virtually no one?

        Some valid points however it should be noted that of the 300 Million iPhone users, a good proportion will be outside the target age demographic for this service.

        I have a company iPhone but will I subscribe to Apple Music or any streaming service?

        No never in a million years. I have all the music I want to listen to on an mp3 player.

        I have never spent any money on iTunes. All the apps (Trainline, BBC News, Podcasts etc) are free with no in app purchases.

        Now I've got that off my chest I only have one more thing to say....

        Apple is Doomed

        (naturally)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: a good proportion will be outside the target age demographic for this service.

          At what age do people stop listening to music?

          1. Naselus

            Re: a good proportion will be outside the target age demographic for this service.

            "At what age do people stop listening to music?"

            I thought all forms of joy were forbidden when you were over 25.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: a good proportion will be outside the target age demographic for this service.

              I set up the trial and I've listened to a few albums in the first week. Since then I've forgot it was there. I won't use it, I didn't use my Spotify Premium trial anyway. I already have 99% of the music I will ever listen to. I'm not going to pay for it all over again, regardless of the new laws about making backup copies.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: a good proportion will be outside the target age demographic for this service.

                "regardless of the new laws about making backup copies."

                What new ones? The ones that say it now LEGAL?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: a good proportion will be outside the target age demographic for this service.

                  It's now illegal again.

    2. David 138

      Re: Virtually no one?

      Hi haven't heard a single good review of it. It offers nothing over other services and the music is really tinny.

  4. Kurt 4
    FAIL

    Spotify, Pandora, and Xbox\Groove Music all have great apps for Windows Phone. Why would I choose crappy Apple music and and be forced onto an iphone? No thanks.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Play Music

    We don't need no Beats Radio

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google Play Music

      I too, much prefer this to everything else out there, the seamless integration of my free 50,000 of my own music, along with bought music and the dip in and dip out subscription with better than Pandora music discovery and human playlist curation (and hopefully the currently US, but soon UK free curated playlists). Nothing else has even come remotely close.

      I also find Google music catalogue of music to be among the best and the buy prices equal or better than the others. The Google play music promotions (free tracks, 99p album of the week etc) are also great.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google Play Music

        Much like Britannia Music used to be in the old days

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google music catalogue of music to be among the best

        That'd be because, unlike grooveshark, they can pull that "If you ask for it to be taken down we'll take it down" bullshit and get away with it.

        (Doubtless followed by "Nice selection of youtube music videos you've got here, bet that's a great promotional tool. Be a pity if anything happened to them...")

    2. Chands

      Re: Google Play Music

      It's funny how Google Play Music is never mentioned. I switched from Spotify to GPM when they offered it at launch for £7.99 for life.

      The only thing missing would be a shared account for family. I still rate Spotify, but since I'm on Android all ready, makes sense for me.

      I wonder how many GPM users there are ? Do I Care ? not really, It works for me.

  6. Graham Triggs

    Apple Music isn't available on a lot of devices that have support for other services, and they don't offer lossless, even as a paid option (which Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz do).

    Unless you are utterly devoted to all things Apple, there is absolutely no reason to sign up for it at this time.

    1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge
      Pint

      I signed up to the 3 month trial as I was curious. I haven't used streaming services (unlike other members of my family) manly because (a) I didn't like the rip off the artists model (and Apple at least seemed to be paying more) and (b) quality.

      Now I don't have a major problem with iTunes (I have been running a Mac of one sort or another for the last 25 years) - possibly it's platform, possibly because 'awkward' features have accreted slowly and I'm just suffering 'boiling a frog' syndrome. It was adequate, although even my ears (fifty odd years old) could easily distinguish the differences between their streaming and a CD.

      Roll on a little and it did persuade me to get off my arse and try some other streaming services - actually Tidal high def is great. It has the music, the (beta) Apple player works very nicely and they even appear to pay rather more to their artists.

      For me the consequences of Apple's offering has been to decide to fork out £20 per month to a better providr..

      BTW - does anyone out there remember the application that Apple bought and which became 'player' eventually? I think it was written by one John Calhoun. Very simple, worked with Gracenotes to rip CDs, lovely bit of software (along with Gliders - wasted much time on that 2D scroller)

      1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

        Whoops -it was SoundJam MP - Jeff Robbin and Bill Kincaid. Just booted up a very elderly Powermac DUO to check. That's what age does to you. Cassidy & Green published it (and Glider)

      2. Naselus

        "and Apple at least seemed to be paying more"

        Yes, they definitely offered to pay artists based on their potent ethical standpoint compared to the other services. Not because a 20-year old girl had to shame them into it or anything.

      3. Steve Todd Silver badge

        @Richard Taylor

        I'd be highly surprised if you could "easily distinguish the difference between their streaming and a CD", it's encoded using MP4/AAC @ 256K VBR, which double blind testing has shown that most folk can't tell the difference between this and a CD. You may have better kit for playing back CDs, but the same amp & speakers with an ABX switch fed by your CD player and a HiFi grade DAC may prove more instructive.

        I'm using both Spotify and Apple Music at the moment. To my ear, and using a Marantz streaming music player, it produces better sound than Spotify @320K.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: @Richard Taylor

          "most people"

          That already tells me that it's feasible that someone could notice the difference.

          "most" actually leaves quite a lot of people out there able to tell the difference. Otherwise, the exclusionary language would have been stronger.

          1. Steve Todd Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: @Richard Taylor

            "Most people" means that it's not easy and you need good kit in order to do it reliably. It's certainly not something you can do "easily"

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Y as a service @ X per month

    Do not want.

    Thanks.

  8. Mystic Megabyte
    Boffin

    poor man's spotify

    Man gets mumps but drops mother and U turns

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: poor man's spotify

      You used Siri's dictation for that. Go on, admit it.

  9. Beatnink

    It is the functionality, not the catalogue of music that matters

    Most of the music services have a similar extensive catalogue of music and provide a 'radio' function that allows you to listen to a random selection of artists based on your likes. But few go beyond that, and this is where Apple Music could have its opportunity.

    Take Spotify, which has no fuctions to browse artists and albums by genre and subgenres, or an easy way to save music in your own playlists. Google Play Music had both of these functions, but in a bizzare move has recently decided to remove it genre/sub-genre browsing functionality. Microsoft Groove does include this functionality, but does not cater for sub-genres.

    The other area where Apple Music or any of the other competitors can create a difference, in allowing users to collaborate on music likes and reviews. Currently this is typically limited to posting on Facebook or sending someone a message with a link to an album. Picture instead a music review + rating function similar to Rotten Tomatoes integrated with any of these services. Now that would make me want to sign up.

    1. janimal

      Re: It is the functionality, not the catalogue of music that matters

      The problem with genre's is they are subjective, fluid and ever changing. The R&B that I know is nothing like what kids call R&B today - in fact what they call R&B today is probably nothing like R&B just 10 years ago.

      Most mainstream music tends to straddle multiple genres anyway. I personally wouldn't find a genre search much use except at the highest level, and realistically I would miss a whole bunch of music that I do like that isn't in that genre.

      Anyhow my opinion really doesn't count. I stopped buying new music when they killed napster and winmx (per track P2P networks)

  10. fatbuddha

    it would be interesting to know how many of the 75 million free Spotify subscribers actually use the service. I have a free Spotify account but can't remember the last time I used it. many would have signed up after Spotify launched, perhaps tried it once or twice never to go there again. you can do anything with numbers for free services - the key is the paying subscribers. Apple are the newcomers here - let's see what their paid numbers are like in a year's time.

    PS - note to self - remember to unsubscribe from Apple Music after 3 months. :-)

    PPS - I have a paid Tidal account.

    1. janimal

      Me too

      I believe I had a spotify account many years ago. I only tried it out twice :/

    2. handle

      Unsubscribe

      Do you think the App Store would approve an app that reminded you to unubscribe from Apple Music once the free trial was over? ;)

  11. Sard

    Why Change

    If Apple want to succeed in this very competitive market they will have differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd. I currently subscribe to tidal because I like the freedom to explore new music in a lossless format. I also have access to Spotify through my sons account and use that to download music to my iPhone for offline listening. As much as I like Apple products there is no reason whatsoever to change to their music streaming service. In fact to do so would be a downgrade and they certainly won't lure away all the Spotify users who listen for free. I'm afraid Beats Radio and the 1989 album is simply not enough.

  12. Medixstiff

    But how many of those iTunes accounts are like the 26 we have at work, only setup to allow a user's iPhone to be setup, downloading the MobileIron@Work and Citrix apps and then sitting there until the next time the device needs to be given to someone else?

    1. Naselus

      This - where I work, we include iTunes on every desktop PC as standard now so that iPhones can hook up to them. It routinely crashes within about 20 minutes of logging in and takes the OS down with it... but every person working for the company has an iTunes account connected to their work email address, which uses nothing.

      If Apple did the Right Thing and split all the functions of iTunes up, you'd get a far more realistic number of users who actually want to use it for music alone... which would appear to be around 11 million.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was, now not...

    My mate subscribed to it as soon as it was available and was banging on about it. Next thing Amazon launched their version, and guess what – if you’re a Prime subscriber you get it as part of that bundle. My mate then cancelled his Apple Music subscription and we are enjoying the Amazon playlists as we car share (pool) our way to work in the mornings. Living the dream like some wannabe cool kids.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Was, now not...

      I used to have Prime. Then Amazon decided to bundle free deliveries with Lovefilm (as it was called before Amazon bought it). I had Lovefilm, but was unhappy with the awful quality on pretty much all classical films. Now they have bundled in music.

      Don't quite understand what "free" deliveries have to do with media streaming.

      Upping Prime from £60 to £100 in one go wasn't really on. I now save money by not having Prime at all.

      So if you are unhappy about one aspect of the Prime membership, you still have to pay for it. You can't unbundle something and save some money to put towards a different service. Obviously, Prime will go up in price eventually -as soon as you have enough eggs in one basket, and are unwilling enough to let go of the whole bundle at once.

      See what Amazon is doing?

  14. TRT Silver badge

    I don't really care about music...

    Seriously. I like the stuff I like. I have it on in the car, but if it's not there, I'm "Meh, so what?"

    Now if they'd put some effort into fixing the problem where iTunes Match screws your music library completely and utterly, destroying all of the custom metadata you'd curated on your desktop... if they'd sort it out so that all the music I bought from the iTunes store (not much, I admit) whilst I had iTunes Match turned on would actually download onto my phone or preferably stream-play (it just says my subscription has finished and do I want a new one)... if they fixed the lack of private browsing in Safari under iOS 8.4 (it's there but it sucks major league compared to iOS 7)

    Something bad has happened to Apple over the last four or five years or so. They no longer seem to produce something with that Yum factor.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: I don't really care about music...

      > iTunes Match screws your music library completely and utterly

      Not just me then?

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I don't really care about music...

        No no no no no. Not just you.

        All those songs I duplicated to create more complete OST albums? Metadata wrecked, back to the original album you go... (Why create an album instead of a playlist? Because my car MP3 CD player can handle folders and iTunes can burn tracks inside a folder, but you can't specify what constitutes a folder - it decides folders contain tracks from the same album) Should I use an alternative software? Probably. But you know, I have an iPod and an iPhone and eco-system and all that. Thought I'd found a solution, a clever workaround for that little foible... nah.

    2. Naselus

      Re: I don't really care about music...

      "Something bad has happened to Apple over the last four or five years or so. "

      Steve Jobs died just under 4 years ago. Just sayin'.

      But seriously, I don't really agree. Apple hasn't changed. That's kinda the problem. Tim Cook is very much proving to be a caretaker CEO; all his success stories are just iterations of previous successes (iPhones, iPads, Macbooks), while his actual innovations are poorly-judged flops (Apple Music, Watch). He's doing very well at trading on past success, and very poorly at making new successes.

      Once the competition starts to get serious about market, Apple tend to lose market share like crazy, retreat to the high-end luxury zone with massive pricing to keep their margins up, and eventually become marginal players trying to keep ultra-high end pricing against equal-or-better spec machines being sold for half the price, where upon their presence in that area is reduced to fanboy bait only. They simply aren't very competitive, because they're so reliant on high margins over market share.

      This has gone quite well for them recently, but it's a high-risk, high-reward strategy. Jobs got it right about half the time, mostly toward the end of his life, and Apple pretty much exploded when it went well (but also imploded pretty badly when it didn't - to the point of having to go cap-in-hand to the Old Enemy at Microsoft in '97). Cook, conversely, appears to be terrible at picking winners, but remains wedded to the strategy of dominating new markets and then abandoning them to cheaper rivals the moment prices start to fall.

      This is kind of a shame, because Tim Cook is a hell of a lot more likeable than Jobs ever was. I suspect that, while Apple isn't doomed, it IS entering a period of stagnation and decline now. They'll keep recycling the same few products, all of which are no longer really innovative or impressive, and all of which are starting to get displaced by rivals who are willing to cut prices to pick up market share.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: I don't really care about music...

        Apple is where Microsoft was about ten years ago - lots of brand momentum covering an increasingly empty shell.

        Cook needs to move on. He's brilliant at detail and logistics, but clueless about innovation, consumer satisfaction, and software project management. Software quality has fallen off a cliff on his watch.

        The markets have been giving Apple stock a good kicking. Another six months of that and Cook's job will be on the line.

        The problem is Jobs was a one-off. There's literally no one at Apple - or elsewhere - with the same insight into consumer psychology.

        I can't imagine Jobs would have signed up Beats, failed so badly with Watch and Music, or missed the new markets Apple could have moved into and owned by now.

  15. Alan Denman

    A decent start.

    Those who have a paid service are maybe intansient, it happens.

    11 million is a decent start from near zero but musicis a funny thing.

    ITunes manages one music for the iPod, people are mainly using it for thie collection, not because they want to buy Apple music.

    I mildly wonder if the majority do not trust Apple to have music consumers interests at heart, after all they are in the business of premium prices.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But keep in mind that spotify does still not make any profits.

  17. Iain Cognito

    Mystifies me how anyone ever put up with what Apple have done to music,

  18. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    It's an outrage

    That someone from the UK uses the word "sucks" to mean contemptible.

  19. TheProf Silver badge

    Wimp out

    Apple Music just fucking sucks and millennials (and their darned digital literacy)

    https://xkcd.com/798/

  20. Imthemobileguru
    Devil

    Imthemobile.guru

    By those metrics it would seem then that:

    Virtually no one is reading this article.

    Excellent analysis from the Twitter girl.

    Classy.

  21. Robert E A Harvey

    No thanks

    I ignored it because it was not free - it cost $9.99 a month after the intro, and that is a lot of money for a bit of mild distraction. I already have enough recorded music that I don't need to buy any more.

    And then the cheeky buggers wanted me to pay £9.99 in the UK, which works out at $15.50 a month. Which is industrial-grade urine extraction.

    I have cancelled my subscription to music match too, because all that ever did was wholly confuse my already carefully indexed music collection. and no, the 4 movements of Beethoven's 9th are not "songs" that can be played in a random order, you hipster halfwits.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: the 4 movements of Beethoven's 9th are not "songs"

      But the Scherzo transforms seamlessly into 'On the Run'

      excellent comment.

      screw streaming:

      a> i already have all the good music,

      and

      b>never seem to have bandwidth to burn

    2. Hollerith 1

      Re: No thanks

      Mr Harvey, I concur. I have had to invent a rigid naming convention to make sure no device plays random movements, and that all parts of a suite stay in the right order. Imagine my dismay when, trying out a music service, I found Albertini cozied up to Sibelius etc. Canceled, wiped, restored, and now rely on various internet radio stations (BBC3, Klara.Continuo, etc) to be introduced to new music, which I then usually buy on CD, rip and feel safely provided for until I finally pop my clogs.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: No thanks

        Sounds like all the BBC Sound effects CDs I bought from iTunes. 100s of guns and pops and screams and birdsong and footsteps etc etc etc. but for some reason they are classed as music not e.g. audiobooks and the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of them really screws up a simple shuffle play of music.

        1. ravenviz
          Thumb Up

          Re: No thanks

          You can change their assignment fairly easily, or use playlists (very easy as well). In fact playlists are very handy indeed.

          1. Iain Cognito

            Re: No thanks

            Mine are interspersed with singing exercises and German lessons

          2. TRT Silver badge

            Re: No thanks

            The point is that you can't change their assignment easily. You can if they are downloaded to your PC. If you, like I do, have too much for the memory of your phone, or you simply don't want to clog up the memory with stuff, you stream your purchases from the iTunes store. There's no way to mark a file as "do not play in random shuffle", e.g. as someone pointed out various movements in classical music which simply don't stand alone as a track. You have to hide the purchase, which means you can't then use it without faffing around unhiding it from a web browser.

            Apple's Music... the only music app without an actual "play" button. Go on, try and find it. There isn't one unless you've got an already playing track and you've paused it.

            1. ravenviz
              Facepalm

              Re: No thanks

              the only music app without an actual "play" button

              In fact there are Play buttons everywhere, Recently Added has Play buttons and selecting an album shows a Play button for that album. Selecting a track doesn't need a Play button, it rather assumes that you want to play it if you select it.

              The Add to Playlist function is quite comprehensive as well and even allows searching while browsing tracks to add. This is all on the phone.

              I admit I didn't like the new player when it came out, but I have got used to it and now think it is better.

              About the article though, I won't be signing up for Apple Music.

          3. TRT Silver badge

            Re: No thanks

            Playlists might be handy, but you can't set e.g. a smart playlist up on your phone.

        2. Robert Ramsay

          Re: No thanks

          your ipod on shuffle play must sound like Spike Jones and his City Slickers! :D

          1. Robert E A Harvey

            @Robert Ramsay

            Nowt wrong with Spike Jones, when in the right mood.

    3. Hans Acker

      Re: No thanks

      This weak article has aged extremely poorly. Apple Music is doing extremely well and may overtake Spotify at some point not too far into the future.

  22. the unironed

    Bin your Nanos and Shuffles

    We've been trialling Music as a family since it launched, lack of support (DRM) on Nano and Shuffle devices is a deal-breaker for us. Won't be subscribing.

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7106800

  23. Kar98
    Boffin

    Don't need to be a squeaky voiced millennial...

    ...to disable Apple Music as soon as it popped up in iTunes. There's only so much entertainment one can take, especially since we're talking about a service here that will analyze your tastes and preferences, and then will force-feed you Taylor Swift.

  24. Joerg

    Competitors desperate to claim a faliure... so pathetic...

    Really... all competitors employees are so desperate at claiming that Apple Music is a failure and already dead...

    They hope people will be fool enough to trust their lies and avoid paying for Apple Music or even just try it out.

    That is beyond pathetic. They all deserve to go bankrupt. Apple Music is better than their crap products and they use dirty business tactics in a hope to stop Apple.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Key Word is: Free

    Show off 11million /paying/ users and then I might be impressed.

    Personally, I don't use it because of my limited data plan (thanks to Canadian providers).

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like it, use it daily, love the Apple playlists and will happily pay for the family to use it in the future.

    Silent majority?

    Only time will tell.

  27. Howard Hanek
    Unhappy

    ...and how much does Netflix cost a month?

    What a great deal huh? In comparison to other services? I mean, they really bent over....us.

    Let's see? $9.99 a month by 0 is.....0, right? Unless your're an Apple accountant who will just make up numbers for the boss as required, like say Apple Watch.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: ...and how much does Netflix cost a month?

      The cost of Netflix includes VIDEO which has always been more expensive than music. Over here, it's a replacement for 30 or so of the channels you would have on a 500 channel package. It's basically all of the reruns you would get on cable.

      Plus Netflix has original content along the lines of AMC or HBO.

      That makes Netflix a considerably better value. Apple has to compete with that and every other audio and video service.

      Pandora is just plain free. Spotify has a free option too.

      Apple is late to the party and they have to prove themselves.

      1. handle
        Happy

        Re: ...and how much does Netflix cost a month?

        Do you think if you're registered blind you can get a reduction on Netflix as with the TV Licence?

  28. Tom_

    It's because of iTunes

    I absolutely hate using iTunes whenever I want to update the music/videos on my phone. There's no way I'd start paying a subscription fee for it as well.

    It's the only software that gives me the chills to open.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: It's because of iTunes

      Why would you have to open iTunes? Anyway, it's nowhere near as horrible as it used to be.

      But you can listen to and purchase music without opening the OSX or Windows iTunes app.

      I usually buy CDs from Amazon, listen to them on Amazon's player (auto rip) before the CD arrives. I may then sometimes rip them at home and put them on the iPhone (which now means they will show up on all iDevices automagically).

  29. NotWorkAdmin

    Not really surprising

    It never ceases to amaze me when a company that's good at doing "A" sees another company doing "B" and says to itself "hey, that looks easy, let's do that and start counting the dollars".

  30. ma1010
    Thumb Up

    ROK Works

    Here in the US I use Rok Mobile. The concept is brilliant - add phone service and music together into one package. The streaming is fairly horrible, but they allow you to use WiFi to download albums to your phone which are stored in a DRM'd format but sound (to me, anyhow) as good as a CD. The app needs work. It does a lot more "phoning home" than it should and has a propensity to stop playing at odd times, but the music selection is amazing and the quality of downloaded music is excellent. While the ROK music app leaves a lot to be desired compared to Poweramp, I'm hoping they will improve the app in future editions and eliminate the odd halts and maybe cut down on the "phoning home."

    The price is also quite reasonable - you get unlimited calling, texting and data ( data is 5 GB a month over the phone network at LTE speed, after which you get 3G speed) for $50 a month. If they can fix the bugs in the app and add a few features to make it more usable, they will have a total killer phone/music service.

  31. deadcow

    Spotify goes everywhere...

    I can use it on my phone online and off, on my mac at work, on my PS4, on my PC, with very minimal effort, that's a pretty big draw. Now I'm settled, it would take something truly spectacular to get me to switch from Spotify because where's the advantage?

  32. PghMike

    Apple Music still very confusing

    My old way of using iTunes involves having a bunch of music local to my iPhone and Mac, and streaming anything not present from iCloud. All that still comes for free -- you can stream the music you've purchased on any iDevice.

    When Apple Music was released, the streaming option disappeared until I signed up for Apple Music. But even today, a lot of my ripped CD music in my iTunes library now shows up as "Apple Music" even though I don't have iTunes Match. Fortunately, it appears that this "Apple Music" isn't DRM'd (at least, VLC can play them); some are even MP3 files!

    The iTunes store app on the iPhone is a nightmare. My youngest (sharing the same Apple ID) bought Taylor Swift's 1989, and iTunes shows the songs as downloadable on my Macbook, but on my phone, the iTunes store app doesn't seem to know that I own it. The phone's Music app offers me an option to "make available offline" but I don't know if that means downloading a DRM'd version that'll go bad when I drop Apple Music, or if it is downloading the iCloud version. I guess I won't find out until the subscription runs out, at which point I suspect Apple's support phones will be ringing off the hook.

    Finally, what's the deal with the "Beats 1" radio station? Does Apple really not know that there are literally hundreds of thousands of free Internet radio stations, many of which are more interesting?

  33. cordwainer 1

    Apples and oranges...er, Spotify, Pandora, etc - how about a realistic comparison?

    C'mon, El Reg....we expect you to be outrageous, and love you for it, but this pitiful clickbait is unworthy of the Snarkmeister of IT.

    No, I'm not defending or complimenting Apple's music service. It's not up to snuff yet, not by a long shot.

    But the "virtually no one" headline, and the rather absurd comparison between number of subscribers to long-standing, quite different services vs. a fledging one, is yet another example of rehashed tweets masquerading as journalistic analysis.

    Has everyone forgotten Spotify's early days? The multiple security problems? The limits they placed on number of plays? The lack of mobile service at launch? The multiple and confusing subscription plans? Etc.?

    Or that Pandora's business and service model is completely different from either, and difficult to compare?

    Pandora, for example, has been around since about 2004 in some form or another. That's 11 years, and even now it's not available worldwide. Plus the majority of its revenue comes from advertising, not subscriptions. Most of its users are on the free service - maybe 5% are paying subscribers. And if industry figures are correct, they've lost almost half their users in the past 3 years.

    Re Spotify, I don't usually quote Wikipedia, but the figures checked out, and it's succinctly phrased: "Spotify was launched in October 2008 by Swedish startup Spotify AB. On 15 September 2010, the service had approximately 10 million users, including 2.5 million users with paid subscriptions."

    So after 2 years Spotify only had 7.5 million FREE subscribers, and until 2012 discriminated against non-US free users by limiting them to 5 plays per song. Even by August of 2012, almost 4 years after inception, they had a mere 4 million paid subscribers.

    A sloppy, amateurish comparison of a new service (even one from Apple) to products that vary wildly, have already gone through years of adjustments and tweaks, and which have received their own billions of dollars in capital injections, provides no useful benchmark for how Apple's service compares in any realistic terms.

    On a slightly different note: a fun idea for a future article would be to compare the status of ALL competing services at the 1-year mark, including some intelligent commentary on how current technology might have altered their history for better or worse.

    This, however, is piffle.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please, El Reg ...

    Put a stop to this new fad of embedding Twatter comments into articles. If I wanted to read the inane and totally uninformed ramblings of a complete and utter fuckwit, I would sign up for the 'service'.

    1. handle

      Re: Please, El Reg ...

      Eh? Is that something AdBlock spares us from?

  35. Matthew 17

    The software has become unusable

    I like Macs, always have, they used to be nailed on reliable, Apple software was always super polished and reliable. But they (along with every other tech company) is under so much pressure to 'innovate' and stay on top that the quality is all over the shop. MacOS 10.11 needs to be really special, not due to some nonsense new feature that no-one wants and will disable but have that slick polish that just works (remember that?) iTunes, whilst being a great idea is impossibly buggy and clunky now, constantly looking at the spinning wheel every time I ask it to do anything. If there was a viable alternative on the Mac I'd have binned it ages ago.

    I've no interest in subscription music services as I'm old fashioned and still like to buy albums so the people who make the music I like can afford to keep doing it, but regardless no-one likes the iTunes software now, sure there are those that can get one with it, but no-one uses it without the expectation of hassle and slowness. They need to bin it, build something new from the ground up, make it great, make it Apple. Make it something that you want to use.

  36. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Yeah, Spotify is rock solid, not ugly either, and not at all overpriced in the UK. (That's Irony, FYI)

    Apple Music has worked perfectly for me. It looks better (not difficult). It's the same price.

    It will soon have an Android app.

    It integrates well with iTunes purchased stuff, if you have that.

    It made all music from all iDevices using the same account available to all devices -basically sorting out a mess. (Some interesting side-effects can be seen. My recorded LP of Kraftwerk showed up as a completely different version on my other devices.)

    I think both Spotify and Apple Music are overpriced, but if I really must have one it will be Apple. At least they have the money to fix things pronto, as opposed to thinking about it for a year or so.

  37. Winkypop Silver badge
    Meh

    iTunes

    But dont iMusic

  38. Shovel

    spotify? No F'ing Way

    I tried Spotify's Premium services until they restricted the number of times I could 'skip' the sucky music in the designated category. I have to wait an hour to be able to resume skipping over crappy music? Bugger Off, Spotify!

  39. elainecarey

    Spotify has Free mode while Apple Music only lets you try it for 3 months. Some people are complaining about the ads when listening to Spotify via Free. But I use TuneFab Spotify Music Converter to remove ads and I think I would never need Premium.

  40. Annie_Yazbeck

    Wow, paying for $9.99 per month for Apple Music is not a great deal as I'm not a rich man.

    Spotify music streaming service seems a nice choice for me to start my music trip, as it offers free user to access to Spotify library with ease.

    By the way, I can use AudFree Spotify Music Converter to download and convert Spotify files as MP3 format. It can meed my needs to play music files offline.

  41. Lily Allen

    Here are my reasons to give up Apple Music.

    1. Some tracks can only be found on Spotify and Spotify is still free.. That' s amazing.

    2. Apple Music is only friendly to iOS users and macOS users. This means when you try to leave your old Apple devices, it is not easy to take your music collection away.

    I think I am very lucky to find DRmare. It is a useful Apple Music Converter that helps me to transfer my music collection from Apple Music to Spotify.

  42. Lily Allen

    Here are my reasons to give up Apple Music.

    1. Some tracks can only be found on Spotify and Spotify is still free.. That' s amazing.

    2. Apple Music is only friendly to iOS users and macOS users. This means when you try to leave your old Apple devices, it is not easy to take your music collection away.

    I think I am very lucky to find DRmare. It is a useful Apple Music Converter that help me transfer my music collection from Apple Music to Spotify.

  43. Wlee2060

    I don't think no one is using Apple Music. In my opinion, there are still many users who're fond of Apple Music songs and me is one of them. I can easily get and listen to any songs in high quality from my favorite artists. And I can also use TunesKit Apple Music Converter to convert all downloaded songs to MP3 format. In other words, I can easily enjoy any Apple Music on any device, not Apple devices only. And recently Apple has launched a new bundled service - Apple One, and it can help me save more money.

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