Apple quietly and sharply reduces the free-trial period for Apple Music
For years, Apple has given first-time subscribers to Apple Music a free three-month trial. In a subtle move noted first by Mac Otakara, the free trial period has been reduced to just one month in countries including the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, the U.K., and other markets as well. It should be noted that this has no impact on the six free months of Apple Music that are awarded for a limited time to buyers of certain Apple devices like the AirPods, HomePod mini, and Beats products.
There is no change in the pricing of the service which kicks in following the end of the free trial. Each month will cost you $9.99. For $14.99 a month, you and five other family members can subscribe to the Family Plan. Students pay $4.99 monthly, but this price is available to college students only and this must be verified.
Save money with Apple's new voice plan
Apple has added a new tier of service called the Apple Music Voice Plan. For $4.99 per month, you can access and navigate Apple Music using your voice and Siri. This plan doesn't offer spatial audio, nor is the full catalog available with lossless audio as offered with the other plans.
Apple reduces the length of Apple Music's free trial from three-months to one-month
Apple's biggest competitor in the music streaming industry, Spotify, also offers a one-month free trial for its premium tier. However, in the U.S. and other select countries, Spotify is offering two free months for a limited time. And those subscribing to Spotify's premium service via PayPal are entitled to three free months.
The tech giant hasn't promoted the reduction in the trial period as you might imagine. The change takes effect starting this week and for the first time since the service debuted in 2015, those who have never subscribed to Apple Music will get just one month to decide if they want to pay for it.
Will the reduction in Apple Music's trial period help or hurt Apple?
Will this lead to stronger growth for Apple Music; trial subscribers will have to whip out their wallets two months earlier if they want to continue streaming the service. Or will more trial subscribers give up after one month and look for some other platforms to stream music over. Knowing Apple, we would imagine that the company did some research before making this move.
You may not know that Apple Music is behind Apple's most expensive acquisition. In May 2014, the company purchased Beats Audio for $3 billion. Apple usually makes smaller purchases of companies with products or innovations that can be used with the iPhone or other products in the following year or two. That is the blueprint Apple used to buy SRI International in 2010 which led to the launch of digital assistant Siri on 2011's iPhone 4s.
Apple Music should be considered a success for Apple
In October 2012, Apple bought biometric security firm Authentec for $356 million. The next year, Apple debuted the Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5s. As the first quarter of 2013 was ending, there were leaks indicating that what some were calling "iRadio" was coming.
Apple itself had to be a bit nervous as the Beats Audio streamer had just 111,000 paying customers before the acquisition by Apple was announced. The headphones division was taking in $1 billion on an annual basis at the time Apple bought the company.
All things considered, Apple Music should be considered a success. Last month, MIDia Research released a report estimating that Apple's streaming music platform had 78 million paid subscribers. This makes the service the second largest music streamer in the world but puts Apple well behind the industry's top streamer Spotify.
Spotify's market share has declined from 34% in 2019 to 33% in 2020 and 31% last year. Apple Music has a 15% slice of the streaming market pie worldwide followed by Amazon's 13%. Despite the current trends, for Apple to catch up and overtake Spotify it will have to take a long term, patient approach to the business of streaming music.