How Apple Music May Lift Other Players in the Streaming Music Field

Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) unveiled at its WWDC a brand new app called Apple Music. This app is a streaming music service from Apple that can also act as a live radio station 24 hours a day. Apple Music combines a large and incredibly diverse collection of music. Practically all Apple products will have access to this app, and here’s the kicker, it will work for Android phones as well.

What stands out to 24/7 Wall St. is that Apple may not be looking to wreck its competition here. This entrance into the streaming music field may have broader ramifications for the streaming music industry as a whole.

Basically, Apple Music will put the entire Apple Music catalog at the fingertips of the consumer. It starts with the collection already owned by the individual consumer, and then combines that alongside with the Apple Music catalog of over 30 million songs. At this point users can stream any song, album or playlist, or even let Apple Music choose from one of its own playlists.

The playlists created by Apple Music are curated by music experts from around the world hired by Apple. In a sense it would be like having your own personal DJ.

Apart from the purely streaming aspect, Apple is creating its first ever live radio station which will broadcast to over 100 countries, 24 hours a day. There will be DJs in London, New York and Los Angeles (among others) that will conduct around the clock interviews play the newest music and keep in tune with the world of music. Of course the DJs and other staff will be in charge of curating the music that goes on the radio playlists. Apple made the point that Apple Music Radio will have different stations for different genres.

The big question is how much is this premium service going to cost? At first there will be a 3-month free membership, followed by a monthly fee of $9.99. There is also an option for a family plan including up to 6 family members for $14.99 per month.

Competitors like Spotify and Pandora Media, Inc. (NYSE: P) have similar pricing. For example, Spotify normally charges $10 per month for membership but for college students (or those that have are lucky enough to have a .edu email account) the cost is only $5 per month. Pandora has a price of $4.99 for new subscribers of its Pandora 1 platform.

It will be interesting to see how this battle in music streaming will shake out, but ultimately it will come down to the music libraries, owned customers subscribed and the artists licensed by each company.

According to Sony Music CEO Doug Morris, via Venturebeat:

What does Apple bring to this? Well, they’ve got $178 billion dollars in the bank. And they have 800 million credit cards in iTunes. Spotify has never really advertised because it’s never been profitable. My guess is that Apple will promote this like crazy and I think that will have a halo effect on the streaming business.

A rising tide will lift all boats… It’s the beginning of an amazing moment for our industry.

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Shares of Apple were closed down 0.7% at $127.80 in the last hour of trading on Monday. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $148.75 and a 52-week trading range of $89.65 to $134.54.

A huge name in the music streaming field, Pandora did not have a good run in Monday’s trading session regarding the news of Apple’s newest app. Shares of Pandora closed down 3.8% at $17.69 on a 52-week trading range of $14.50 to $30.48. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $22.08.

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