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Unless you’ve spent the past 24 hours stuck inside a sensory isolation tank, you’re probably well aware of the fact that Apple Music launched to the public yesterday. The service — which offers everything from streaming, to curated playlists, and virtual radio stations — comes with a free three month trial, sparking downloads from genuine Apple lovers and the merely curious alike.
It’s a potentially important moment in the Cupertino-based giant’s history. Given this, as well as the levels of excitement generated any time Apple does anything, it should hardly be surprising that it generated plenty of chatter on Twitter. This time though, the Twitterverse wasn’t quite as buoyant as it usually is.
Don’t get us wrong, the data from sentiment tracking company TheySay shows that people still have some serious love for Apple — out of the 84 845 tweets tracked around the launch, 76% were positive — but there appears to be a growing sense of scepticism.
“Compared to the sky-high positive sentiment ratings that Apple products and announcements typically reach on Twitter,” says TheySay CTO and co-founder Dr Karo Moilanen, “this time Apple Music invoked a healthy dose of strong negative sentiment”.
Overall, the new service was liked, particularly around
- playlists and clever recommendations
- a curated ad-free radio
- smooth interoperability with other Apple services
- Apple expanding to and conquering new areas
The Taylor Swift effect
Interestingly, not all of the positive sentiment was down to stuff Apple did. A major beneficiary was Taylor Swift, who recently took on Apple’s decision not to pay artists during the free three month trial period.
It seems though that some of that positivity may have been misplaced. According to TheySay, at least some of it was down to ordinary members of the public thinking that Swift had actually fought for them to have the free trial in the first place.
Notable negative drivers included:
- a truly annoying renewing payment feature (“auto-bill-after-free-trial scam”)
- not original enough compared to Spotify (“just a wannabe Spotify assassin”)
- a confusing UX disaster with incomplete and buggy builds on many devices
- Apple’s obsession with U2 – yet another U2 preloaded
- auto-following unwanted artists
- limited shared playlists, for example family sharing
To be fair though, at least one of those tweets about auto-following unwanted artists was ironic:
apple music automatically has me following blink-182 like what the hell is this garbage smdh
— Mark Hoppus (@markhoppus) June 30, 2015
Still, you can’t deny that there was a serious anger spike at one point:
Spotify still on top
The sentiment profiles for Spotify suggest that, TheySay points out, “the providential arrival of Apple Music does not necessarily sound the death knell for Spotify”.
“The ratio of extremely positive vs. negative sentiment was 9% negative : 29% positive for Apple Music while Spotify’s ratio was 12% negative: 32% positive which does not indicate huge divergence”, says Moilanen.
“Incidentally,” Moilanen says, “speculation levels increased in the Twittersphere after the official announcement”.
“Typically speculation levels builds up to an official announcement after which it dissipates quickly. Clearly, many tweeters are still guessing what Apple Music is, how it might work, and how it good it might turn out to be”.