I’ve previously suggested that Apple’s iPhone launch event might include an update on the success of Apple Music, particularly as music and headphones are going to be a key item on the launch agenda. So news that Apple has discounted the price of an annual subscription to Apple Music, if you pay for it using an Apple gift card, is intriguing.
For Apple to be discounting a product usually suggests that it isn’t doing well. Think Apple Watch.
This is different though. With slow selling hardware Apple can trim profits to reduce inventory – a net benefit to its financials. Contracts with the music industry determine exactly what Apple can and can’t do with pricing. And of course there’s no inventory to shift either.
So I think this discount is an attempt to boost subscriber numbers, maybe ahead of a good news announcement. How good? Well at least a closing of the gap to Spotify, the market leader. Is it possible that Apple has made so much progress that its within touching distance of Spotify’s paid subscriber numbers?