Some Deception with the iTunes Store and Apple Music

I’d written many times about how the iTunes Store and Apple Music were separated by a brick wall, making it hard to go from one to the other when looking at a specific artist or album. It seems that Apple has changed this recently, and now, when you find an album in the iTunes Store, you can hop to Apple Music to listen to it by clicking Listen Now.

It’s interesting that Apple is willing to cannibalize sales in exchange for streams – and I wonder if the record labels are cool with this – but at least now, when you click or tap a link to the iTunes Store, and you really just want to stream an album, you don’t have to manually search for that album.

But not all music sold in the iTunes Store is available on Apple Music; there are labels and artists that will not stream their music. Here’s one example:

Finley

None of Hyperion Records’ music is on Apple Music, but iTunes suggests that you can listen to it by clicking the Listen Now button. Since the music is not available for streaming, you get a dialogue telling you that the music is not available in your country, not that it’s not available to stream anywhere.

If you are not logged into Apple Music, the behavior is slightly different. If you were to start a free trial after viewing this album, you would get to Apple Music, then find out that the album in question is not available to stream, in spite of the Listen Now button suggesting that this is possible.

So, Apple isn’t being honest; I’m shocked, shocked! What’s more worrisome, however, is the fact that they’re sending people to stream music instead of buying it, most likely against what record companies want, and they’re saying that music is available for streaming when that is not the case. To be fair, the percentage of tracks that are on the iTunes Store and not on Apple Music is quite low, but still; Apple knows who they are, and shouldn’t display this dialog.

10 thoughts on “Some Deception with the iTunes Store and Apple Music

  1. In general, I find Apple somewhat hostile to Classical music listeners. In particular, the iPhone Music app does not support album shuffle. Nor can you find music by composer. (That would also apply to jazz listeners, who I’d expect to have an album, vs “song”/track focus. It makes me wonder what kind of music Tim Cook, et.al. listen to.)

    But then, I still buy CDs, in part so I can read the liner notes.

  2. In general, I find Apple somewhat hostile to Classical music listeners. In particular, the iPhone Music app does not support album shuffle. Nor can you find music by composer. (That would also apply to jazz listeners, who I’d expect to have an album, vs “song”/track focus. It makes me wonder what kind of music Tim Cook, et.al. listen to.)

    But then, I still buy CDs, in part so I can read the liner notes.

  3. Very interesting. I just went into iTunes > Store and brought up the exact Album you have showing. I don’t own the Album, so I can hear 90 second snippets and/or buy the Album or almost all of the individual songs – and for the first time, in the top right where you have “Listen Now”, I get “Start Your Trial” – as I think you implied. Had I not read your piece, I would reasonably have assumed it was available for streaming in Apple Music.

    Thank you for your perception and Heads Up.

  4. Very interesting. I just went into iTunes > Store and brought up the exact Album you have showing. I don’t own the Album, so I can hear 90 second snippets and/or buy the Album or almost all of the individual songs – and for the first time, in the top right where you have “Listen Now”, I get “Start Your Trial” – as I think you implied. Had I not read your piece, I would reasonably have assumed it was available for streaming in Apple Music.

    Thank you for your perception and Heads Up.

  5. To add to my previous comment, looking to my left is the bold statement adjacent to the Apple icon “Listen to this album and thousands more”, clearly implying that streaming of it was available on Apple Music!

  6. To add to my previous comment, looking to my left is the bold statement adjacent to the Apple icon “Listen to this album and thousands more”, clearly implying that streaming of it was available on Apple Music!

  7. The oldest ploy in the advertising book … called “bait & switch”

    … they tell you something is available to get you to join or purchase and then tell you it’s not available, or it’s back-ordered, or has been discontinued or is no longer available in that color/size/flavor/author.

    Post-Jobs Apple has picked up a lot of lessons from the ultimate false advertising mavens of the internet like eBay, Google and Amazon. Why do you think Amazon put in the “Buy Used” button nearly 20 years ago! It wasn’t that they wanted to screw 20-million “Affiliates” out of their commissions, but metrics had proven that 98% of the people who visit that page for that product will click the “Buy Used” button just to see… and then 72% of those will click to buy. Hasn’t hurt Amazon a bit.

    They’ll do anything for a dime. We know that, and the population goes along with it.

    🙂

  8. The oldest ploy in the advertising book … called “bait & switch”

    … they tell you something is available to get you to join or purchase and then tell you it’s not available, or it’s back-ordered, or has been discontinued or is no longer available in that color/size/flavor/author.

    Post-Jobs Apple has picked up a lot of lessons from the ultimate false advertising mavens of the internet like eBay, Google and Amazon. Why do you think Amazon put in the “Buy Used” button nearly 20 years ago! It wasn’t that they wanted to screw 20-million “Affiliates” out of their commissions, but metrics had proven that 98% of the people who visit that page for that product will click the “Buy Used” button just to see… and then 72% of those will click to buy. Hasn’t hurt Amazon a bit.

    They’ll do anything for a dime. We know that, and the population goes along with it.

    🙂

  9. Hyperion doesn’t allow its recordings to be streamed on Spotify either, so it’s probably safe to assume that it doesn’t allow streaming of its productions at all, anywhere, the only classical label I’ve come across that maintains such a policy. It would be interesting to compare their profit margins with labels like Chandos and Harmonia Mundi which allow streaming.

  10. Hyperion doesn’t allow its recordings to be streamed on Spotify either, so it’s probably safe to assume that it doesn’t allow streaming of its productions at all, anywhere, the only classical label I’ve come across that maintains such a policy. It would be interesting to compare their profit margins with labels like Chandos and Harmonia Mundi which allow streaming.

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