Apple Music’s free trial is not so free in other countries. While there’s a free three-month trial in the U.S., the tech giant has started charging small fees in other countries, according to AppleInsider. Users who live in Australia, Spain, and Switzerland will have to pay 99 cents to try out the streaming service for three months. Apple Music trials were previously free in these countries, as they are in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. No word on whether that will change for the rest of the globe.
It’s also not clear why Apple began charging fees in these countries. Apple made headlines when it originally did not pay royalties out to artists during the three-month trial. That all changed when the company received criticism from Taylor Swift and other musicians. AppleInsider revealed that the company may be trying to recover some of those costs by with the new paid trial periods. The company could also be testing them out and rolling them out to other countries soon.
In an email statement to the Verge, Apple simply stated, “Pricing and promotions for Apple Music vary from country to country.”
However, the fee is likely to scare off new users. Everyone knows that Spotify is the leader when it comes to streaming services. With Spotify, users can choose to stream for free (with ads) or to pay $9.99 per month without ads. However, Spotify also offers users the option to try its premium service for $0.99 for the first three months. This plan allows users to listen to music offline and stream ad-free music.
Apple doesn’t seem interested in competing with Spotify. The company admitted that they could attract 400 million listeners, but their bottom line is money. Jimmy Iovine, the music mogul who’s the current head of Apple Music, says he hates free music and Spotify’s idea of offering free music to its users. He sat down for an interview with Music Business Worldwide where he explained why Apple Music only has a paid subscription tier.
“I’ve put my money where my mouth is: Beats Music didn’t have a free tier. Apple Music doesn’t have a free tier. I’m not just talking it; I’m walking it. That’s why I aligned with Eddy [Cue] and Tim [Cook] and Steve [Jobs]. They thought the same way. I think what’s going on [with free music] is wrong. I just do. I don’t care if saying that makes me seem behind-the-times, up-with-the-times, young, old… I don’t care! Because, whatever it is, it’s wrong.”
Spotify currently has over 50 million paying subscribers, compared to Apple’s 20 to 30 million. There are also 50 million other users on Spotify’s free tier. That beats out Apple’s numbers. However, Spotify’s free tier brings in less revenue than its paid tier, which means that half of its userbase are not pulling in revenue for Spotify or its artists. Iovine emphasized this important point in his interview.
“If Apple Music had a free tier, we would have 400 million people on it,” he added. “That would make my job real easy. But we believe artists should get paid. That’s why I went to Apple.”
Iovine stated that free ad-supported streaming services generate very little money. He went on to bash the existence of free streaming services. But he admitted that if paid services get better, users will leave the free ones in the dust.
“You’ve got to put everything into making the experience for people who are paying feel special,” he said.
Apple Music’s goal is to provide original content to its users. They don’t just want to offer the latest singles or albums. They want to give users exclusive content from their favorite artists such as merchandise and tour videos. Even if they currently have fewer subscribers than Spotify at the moment, they hope they will eventually come out on top, like they always have.
What are your thoughts on Apple Music’s trial period? Would you still pay for it, even if it was $0.99? Sound off below in the comments section.
[Featured image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]