Apple Music Naysayers Hit the Wrong Notes

In an article published on PRWEb two music business "experts" claim that Apple Music is flawed, but the article is full of false and contradictory claims. SAE Institute's Dr. E. Michael Harrington blasts Apple Music as too late to the streaming party, while at the same time praising YouTube and Facebook for their yet-to-be-announced music streaming services. You can't have it both ways. Apple is too late, but those vendors will be timely? Apple observers know that Apple may not always be first to implement a particular technology or enter a specific market, such as wearables, but once it does, Apple is a force to be reckoned with. Music players, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches: all markets Apple entered "late" but dominated.

Harrington writes "The idea that Apple Music can compete with a good Facebook streaming service is wishful and, in my opinion, naive thinking." This could have been said, and usually has been, about any market Apple has entered, but in this case Facebook doesn't even have such a service. Remember the rumors of a Facebook smartphone? Imagine if an industry observer said "The idea that the Apple iPhone can compete with a good Facebook phone is wishful and, in my opinion, naive thinking?" Thankfully, Apple doesn't listen to such talk.

Harrington also wonders if Apple Music is "meant to eliminate iTunes as a vendor of MP3s? Or is it meant to complement iTunes with a streaming experience?" It's obvious to anyone who uses Apple Music that it is a streaming service, and on the computer, it runs within iTunes. Music can be downloaded via Apple Music, and played as long as the Apple Music subscription is active. Anyone can certainly still buy music and own it outright via iTunes. It's worth noting that Apple defaults to higher-quality AAC, by the way; they are not "a vendor of MP3s." The experts also ignore the curated content, Beats 1 radio station, and celebrity DJs, all of which appeal to quite a few listeners and leverage Apple's status in the music industry.

He goes on to attack Apple about the pricing, I think, by asking "does Apple truly think that their $10 per month all-you-can-stream price has more value than, for example, Netflix and its $8 per month all-you-can-watch price? From a business perspective, Apple Music has flaws." Comparing Apple Music's $10 per month price to Netflix's $8, as if music and movies are interchangeable, or that the entertainment value and size of Apple's library of tens of millions of songs is somehow inferior to Netflix's less than 10,000 movies? How many movies do you watch over and over? How many songs do you listen to again and again? Can you use Netflix while driving or jogging? In 2003 Steve Jobs said, "Music’s not like a video. Your favorite movie you might watch ten times in your life — your favorite song you’re going to listen to a thousand times in your life." To be fair, he was ranting against music subscriptions, but he made a valid point.

Apple Music Offline

Another "expert" from SAE, Martin Atkins, incorrectly states that artists will not be paid during the free trial, writing "from the point of view of labels, artists, and songwriters, none of them will be paid anything when their music is played on Apple Music during its free three-month trial. This means that they’ll essentially be footing the bill for Apple's launch, which is ridiculous." This article was posted August 5 and Taylor Swift took care of that a six weeks ago.

Atkins goes on to say that streaming services are not fair to musicians because Pharrell Williams only made $6,000 from Pandora for Happy. That is another inaccuracy. The fact is, he made a small amount for his songwriting credit, but that did not include his royalties for the actual performance. Pharell made over $25,000 from Pandora alone for that song. Keep in mind that many of those listeners likely also went on to purchase the song , attend concerts, watch him on The Voice, etc.

Atkins gets another fact wrong, stating that downloaded Apple Music songs can't be played on iPods or iPhones. which is categorically and remarkably untrue. Even Macs and soon Android devices can download Apple Music songs. The only devices that cannot play downloaded Apple Music songs are the low-end iPod nano and iPod shuffle because they can't independently connect to the Internet to make sure your subscription is valid. The iPod touch, and of course the iPhone, can indeed play those songs offline.

Are there flaws in Apple Music? Sure. But there are a lot more flaws in the SAE article.



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Author Details

Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP,,, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.