Spotify isn’t Apple Music’s biggest challenge in Asia

Its biggest hurdle is an age-old problem for the music industry - the unwillingness to pay, says Tein Hee Seow

I’ll be the first to admit - I can count with one hand the number of songs I’ve bought through iTunes. I’ve also been living off Spotify promo codes to use its premium service.

Will I wither and die if I don’t pay to access millions of music tracks? No. And therein lies the biggest challenge by Apple - getting people like me to subscribe to a paid music streaming service. Truth is, even if you don’t subscribe to Apple Music, it’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of free music streaming options, all delivering a similar offering to what Apple has revealed during WWDC 2015.

But at the end of the day, am I willing to pay a monthly subscription? No. Plus, going cold turkey won’t be necessary, because there’s still the ad-supported, free Spotify that I can listen to when my premium service expires. True music lovers, however, would see the benefits of the monthly subscription for an endless buffet of curated music and renowned DJs manning the online radio stations 24/7.

Will Apple Music work in Asia? Considering how music piracy is still running rampant, Apple has a long road ahead of it to change the mindset here. Even with its crazy affordable family price of US$14.99 that gives Apple Music to six users, that won’t be enough. Without a free option, it’s going to be an uphill task for Apple.

Mark our words though, if you do get around the notion of paying for your music, it’s the start of a new era. Once that happens, you'll be deleting your music, both DRM-locked and free, and let your tunes live freely in the cloud.

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