Spotify’s head Daniel Ek notably tweeted “Uh ok,” after Apple announced its Apple Music service. Today, Reuters is reporting that Ek has already admitted defeat. He is quoted as saying:
“To me it is enough to be among the top three… But right now we have an advantage of being the number one in music.”
Geez, he shouldn’t give up this fast. Though you have to admit, Apple is the juggernaut coming in and shaking things up. I’m not convinced that Apple will “win” this market though, if winning means anything. It’s possible that Apple will get people to pay for streaming who never paid for it before, and that Spotify will keep many of their 20 million paid subscribers. In other words, Apple’s service could be what tips the balance toward streaming as a viable alternative for everyone.
However, it will be much harder to differentiate music streaming services in the future. It’s not a handful of exclusives that will make people switch from one streaming service to another. Once you’re locked into that service – when it’s got your listening history, your playlists, and your friends – it’s less likely that you’ll change. The difference won’t be one of price, as Apple has aligned their pricing with Spotify and others. It will be one of convenience, of user interface, of usability. And Spotify is not the leader there.
Interesting times for the music industry.