Even though Apple Music, set to launch later this month, combines on-demand music with a social network for artists and the global popularity of the California company’s hardware creations, it will still face a challenge of winning over people from services they already use, analysts say.
“All of these companies have a huge head start on Apple and Apple will have to convince users to switch,” said Edison Investment Research analyst Richard Windsor.
Add to that the fact that as much as people enjoy listening to music on smartphones or tablets, they tend to want do it for free.
“Apple has the hurdle of convincing people that their service is worth the money for it in the first place; and then, for people that are paying for a service, to strike a switch,” Kantar research chief Carolina Milanesi told AFP.
Leading streaming music service Spotify along with Pandora and others already use software to tune offerings to the tastes of individual listeners.
Apple Music will do likewise, while also adding real people who design playlists based on artists or genres.
A danger for the likes of Spotify is that Apple commands a broad and loyal following, hundreds of millions of whom already have iPhones in hands and credit cards on file in iTunes accounts.
Everyone who updates an Apple device to the coming iOS8.4 operating system will be able to get three months of Apple Music free.
While feature-for-feature Apple Music is not dramatically different from rivals, the service comes with a Connect social network where artists can share thoughts or intimate moments with fans and, hopefully, get them to buy songs or concert tickets.
Even given strong relationships built with the industry since iTunes launched more than 14 years ago, Apple will need to keep musicians and labels happy in the face of the fact that royalty money made from streaming online is less than what can be taken in from traditional radio play or album sales.
By sticking to selling songs for digital download at iTunes for more than a decade, Apple let startups capitalize on a trend toward listening to music streamed on-demand via the internet instead of actually owning it.