Why Apple Music's Pitch is Off-Pitch

Apple isn't just a trendsetter in gadgetry and design; it leads in business tactics too. After Apple launched its new music service, I was curious to check out how it was being marketed. I was a little surprised to see how unfocused and sloppy the messaging was on Apple's website.

Here's a screen shot of the first section of text:


I'll take it line by line:

"We are profoundly passionate about music."

At first, it's unclear who the "we" is in the sentence, Apple or all humanity. Then, "profoundly passionate" is breathless blather. Maybe Apple included this sentence to try to build credibility and find common ground with music fans, but no one is interested in how a $700 billion corporation feels about music or believes that it has profound passions.

"It's a force that has driven and inspired us from day one."

When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were tinkering around in a garage, were they really driven and inspired by the force of music? Wikipedia says the company emerged from a need to "produce print-outs, letter labels, and databases." And what date on the calendar was this day one? This sentence isn't meant to be taken seriously, which is why it is entirely unnecessary.

"So we've set out to make it better."

This phrase is inaccurate, or at least imprecise. Apple is not making music better. It's offering a new (perhaps better) delivery model.

"To bring you more music than ever with access to over 30 million songs for just $9.99 a month, or $14.99 for your family."

Next comes a sentence fragment that doesn't follow from the previous sentence. It would read more naturally as "So we've set out to make it better by bringing you more music than ever with access..."

And Apple is pushing for a commitment to a paid package rather early. The pitch hasn't even said what Apple Music is yet besides "more music than ever."

"To give you personal recommendations from people who know and love music. To deepen the connection between artists and fans. To reimagine radio with a 24/7, global station."

At least now, Apple is beginning to explain what the service is about. It seems the series of fragments are meant to create a rhythm, albeit a rather clunky one.

"This is Apple music. And it's just the beginning."

This part is OK, if not particularly original or significant. Anyone would expect that a digital music service has a beginning and then will evolve.
Finally, the text has two calls-to-action as well as five options in the navigation bar. What's the difference between Connect, Radio, Start Listening, and Discover? It's confusing to figure out where to go next.
Many of Apple's marketing campaigns have become case studies in effective messaging. The "Think Different" campaign positioned its computers as part of a pantheon of original thinkers. When the iPod was introduced, Apple hit with the core benefit of "1,000 songs in your pocket."
But what's the core benefit of Apple Music? How is it essentially different or better than:

  • Spotify
  • Pandora
  • Rdio
  • Tidal
  • Google Play Music
  • Xbox Music
  • Rhapsody
  • Amazon Prime Music

...or others? From the introduction on Apple's website, it seems simply to be another service to add to the list.