Apple announced last Monday that they'll be offering music streaming via iTunes. Critics have mostly complained about what Apple is offering, and while I admit I was a bit disappointed with a few things, I think there's lots of reasons for musicians to be optimistic.
Here are 7 reasons I'm glad Apple is entering the streaming market, and why it's good for musicians:
1. It's Apple.
I'm a hardcore Apple fan, but even if I wasn't, I would still trust the company that created one of the best income generators for independent musicians ever to be a player in the music streaming game.
2. It's paid subscribers only.
Unlike a lot of other services (cough, Spotify, cough) people only get to hear the tunes if they're paying for it. This gets people into the mindset that music should be paid for, not streamed free of charge.
Unlike other 3rd party music streaming services, Apple will be integrating your subscription music into your iDevices. For instance, Instead of launching an app and searching for music, you could simply ask Siri to bring up music by your favorite artist.
4. It locks in casual music listeners to paying for music.
With the average iTunes account spending 12 dollars per year on music, a monthly streaming subscription will essentially lock consumers into buying 10 albums each year, or spending 1200% more than they currently are spending. That's a big win for musicians in my book.
5. It forces Spotify to compete for music talent.
Spotify has been able to negotiate pretty crappy deals with many musicians over the last few years, mostly because they didn't feel like they had a choice. By having Apple pull a chair up to the negotiating table, musicians and labels get to be a bit more choosy about setting prices and offering exclusive content.
6. It's a better pay split for artists than the original iTunes deal.
iTunes download sales only give 50% of the selling price to the musician. Apple's streaming service gives artists 70% of the revenue.
7. Streaming isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
I'll admit it- I wish we could go back to the mid-90's when people hung out in Borders Books on the weekends, searching through stacks of CDs, and then dropping $18 for each treasured album. Sadly, those days are over. I believe Apple is making the jump at the right time, offering the best deal they can to artists and consumers, and waiting to see if it flops or rocks. Either way, I'm glad Apple still recognizes that music is valuable, relevant, and an important part of their customer's lives.