The streaming service is offering a $99/year option as Spotify tries to amp up revenue
Siri, can you save me some money?
As it turns out, it can. For some time, Apple has been quietly offering a $99 a year option for subscribers to its Apple Music streaming service. The annual plan, which was first discovered by Ukrainian tech site Tehnot, represents savings of $21 across 12 months when compared to Apple’s standard $9.99 a month deal. The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant also offers a monthly $14.99 family plan and a $4.99 option for students.
Finding the annual plan isn’t easy— you click on the featured tab in the iOS app store, log in and then look for the subscriptions tab. You also don’t get access to it as a potential new subscriber— you can only switch if you’re already an existing Apple Music user. Apple had previously offered the $99 deal if you paid via gift cards, but this makes it much more accessible to everyone else.
The $99 option effectively means that Apple Music is now cheaper than Spotify Premium— which offers new subscribers a 99 cent/month deal for 90 days before charging them $9.99 monthly (unlike Apple, Spotify also offers an ad-supported free tier.) A December 2016 analysis by MIDiA Research found that Spotify controlled about 43% of the global paid streaming market; Apple is in second place with a 21% market share. However, Spotify recently reported pre-tax losses of $600 million in 2016, while Apple had net income of $11 billion in its latest quarter.
The discovery of Apple’s new discounted deal comes as Spotify begins testing so-called “sponsored songs” in a bid to boost revenue ahead of an upcoming direct listing. While the Stockholm-based startup has previously worked with brands to sponsor popular playlists, now advertisers can promote individual hits. This only affects users in Spotify’s free tier, who will see the sponsored tune highlighted on top of a playlist. Users can currently opt out of sponsored songs, but allowing for certain tunes to be highlighted means you can save the song without playing an ad.
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