Apple Music and the S-word

Apple Music teaser 001

While following the keynote yesterday and trying to cover the event at the same time here on iDB with the rest of the team, there seemed to be one word I didn’t hear Eddy Cue pronounce: streaming. I actually made a note of it in our Let’s Talk iOS episode dedicated to WWDC 2015.

It seemed odd that the word wouldn’t even get a mention. To confirm the omission was on purpose, I took a look at Apple’s mini-site dedicated to Apple Music, and realized the word streaming is nowhere to found there either. It’s like it’s not even part of the offer. Is the S-word taboo? 

Watching the keynote again later that day, I realized I was wrong as Cue did mention the word “stream” once. Still, for such a major part of the new Apple Music service, I started to wonder why the company didn’t make a bigger emphasis on a feature that it clearly hopes will replace the likes of Spotify and Pandora for many Apple users.

My guess was that Apple considers itself bigger and better than streaming. In typical Apple fashion, I imagined the company wouldn’t want its new music service to be dubbed as a streaming one, but rather one that allows you to enjoy virtually unlimited music listening. As it turns out, I wasn’t too far from reality.

When asked about the lack of mention of the word “streaming” in an interview with Rolling Stone, Cue explains:

To be fair, I did use the word ‘stream’ once. I said, ‘You can search and stream the billions and billions of songs from iTunes.’ We don’t have anything wrong with saying that. It’s just — we’re not a streaming service. That’s not the way we think of ourselves. We think of this as a much bigger product that has a lot of features of it, of which a music subscription or streaming service is one of those.

If you won’t find the word “stream” on Apple’s website when talking about Apple Music, the company did use the word four times in its press release about the new service.

So why mention streaming in the press release then?

Press releases are not meant for the general public. They’re meant for the press. And I believe the press had to be told loud and clear that Apple Music is indeed a streaming service in order to avoid any kind of confusion.

For the end user though, Apple Music is not streaming. It’s part of an experience that lets you enjoy an unlimited amount of music.