Apple Executive Rules Out Possibility of Free Apple Music Tier With Ads

As reported by Musically (via iMore), Apple's global Senior Director of Music publishing, Elean Segal, has shot down the possibility that Apple will introduce a free Apple Music tier, based on ads.

apple music

Segal was answering questions to British members of parliament in the UK's Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport committee, alongside representatives from Spotify and Amazon, about the economics of streaming services. The trio of representatives was asked about the price of their subscriptions, and their thoughts about free tiers for their services.

Spotify and Amazon both offer free tiers for their music streaming services, however, the experience includes frequent interruptions with ads and limited in-app features. On whether Apple would introduce a free tier for ‌Apple Music‌ with ads, Segal says that a free tier wouldn't generate enough revenue to "support a healthy overall ecosystem," and that it "also really goes against our fundamental values on privacy."

At a FAQ section on the ‌Apple Music‌ webpage, when asked whether the service has commercials, Apple emphatically says "‌Apple Music‌ has zero ads." An ad-free listening experience has always been a cornerstone of Apple's marketing for the service, and while it was unlikely a free-tier with ads would ever launch, the confirmation from an Apple executive will now put to rest any simmering hope.

Apple doesn't have tiers for ‌Apple Music‌ that offer different features, such as some of its competitors. Instead, Apple's pricing model around the service is based on users' personal needs. For a single user, ‌Apple Music‌ costs $9.99 a month, a family plan which allows up to six members is $14.99 a month, and students get a discounted $4.99 per month plan. Additionally, ‌Apple Music‌ is part of Apple One, a bundle that offers customers a set monthly price for access to different Apple services.

‌Apple One‌ includes three separate plans, each offering ‌Apple Music‌. The lowest plan costing $14.95, includes access to ‌Apple Music‌, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage. The mid-tier for $19.95, adds an extra 150GB of ‌iCloud‌ storage, and the highest tier for $29.95, offers 2TB of storage, the ability to share with five other family members, and access to Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+ (where available).

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Top Rated Comments

darkcompass Avatar
44 months ago
Artists get paid better with Apple Music over spotify because of not having a "free-tier". Which is a good thing.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StellarVixen Avatar
44 months ago

Theres no such thing as FREE and APPLE, those words never belong together.
Not because of Apple, but because music isn’t free.

And music has to either get more expensive, or artists need to get larger share of the streaming revenue. As the current situation is, they are earning pennies, and this is unsustainable (for artists, of course, for those running the music industry, they make piles of money).
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EugenesSoggySalami Avatar
44 months ago
Theres no such thing as FREE and APPLE, those words never belong together.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SirAnthonyHopkins Avatar
44 months ago

Imo free tier is useful. There are plenty of artists, especially internationally, who don't have much social media presence, or might even be restricted by their label in their social media presence. I see that Apple has been quite good in obtaining quite a variety of international artists licenses compared to the likes of Spotify. Having a free tier means as a consumer, I can sample these music fully digitally.
Don't really think this makes any sense at all as an argument. If you're a big enough band that you've got a record label restricting what you can do on social, you're probably not benefiting that much from the small amount of revenue and exposure generated by a vanishingly small number people listening to you for free on Spotify.

Also, there's nothing stopping people who *pay* for Spotify and Apple Music sampling those artists as part of the incredibly good value package they already have. £10 a month for all the music you can dream of. If you care about smaller artists and want to sample their music for free before you buy, there's YouTube and Bandcamp for stuff like that.

The only thing a free tier is useful for is getting people into Spotify's ecosystem. There's not really a coherent argument that it's any good at all for artists, to try and make that argument is a bit silly.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SirAnthonyHopkins Avatar
44 months ago

As a former journalist, I find it funny that Apple doesn't have an ad-supported free Music tier but does have an ad-supported free newspaper tier.
But that's because the publishing industry largely runs on a free-to-the-reader, ad-supported model these days. And the music industry ... doesn't. Apple can't just go giving away people's music for free; it can, however, provide an app which collates and collects other already otherwise free news sources. Nothing that's free in Apple News is something you'd have to pay for anywhere else.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
atoqir Avatar
44 months ago
I don't mind paying for Apple Music. That way I can support the artists + the fact that I can store a whole lot of own albums in the cloud which costs server space. Overall it is good value and works well on my iPhone and iPad

I do want that new Windows app sooner than later though. Every time I think about trying out competing services that bad Windows or web experience is what start the thinking proces.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)