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Golden Children: Why Gen Z is the Key to Apple Music

“A revolutionary streaming service, live worldwide radio and an exciting way for fans to connect with artists.”

This is Apple Music, or Apple’s one-stop-shop solution to meet the needs of fans, artists, the ever-changing music industry, and, of course, Apple. For Generation Z, especially, the most plugged-in generation ever, the generation of kids who are constantly searching, snapping, sharing, liking, and swiping for new content and new ways to connect – on every device, right now – this feels like the perfect opportunity to strike gold for Apple.

There’s no denying that on-demand streaming, in the form of albums, songs, and radio stations, has pushed its way to the forefront of music consumption. According to data from Nielsen, music streaming in the U.S. grew 54% in 2014, with over 164 billion songs streamed on-demand on platforms like Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Vevo, and YouTube. In a typical week, 67% of music consumers listen to their tunes through any form of online streaming.

As streaming platforms go, at the top of the charts sits Spotify, with an 86% share in music streams. However, on the flip side, Apple’s iTunes holds a dominant 85% share in music downloads; with Apple Music, the opportunity to cross over into the streaming industry and steal share from Spotify (and others) is enormous. A 3-month free trial offer, an automatic download to iPhones, as well as credit cards already on file doesn’t hurt Apple Music’s chances, either. The barrier to entry is relatively small. Furthermore, not only does Apple have a direct connect to 20% of their younger users, the opportunity to upsell to their parents – much the way families share Netflix accounts, with joint accounts of up to six users – is huge.

But, what really separates Apple Music from the pack to connect with the younger demographic is its social platform for artists. Artists, especially popular ones, already communicate on many other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat to share and connect to their younger fans; however, each experience can feel siloed, as well as convoluted with multiple messages about multiple subjects.

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The key word is connect. With digital and physical music sales declining, artists and music industry professionals have needed to come up with other resources to increase revenue. So really developing that core (young) fan – one that buys tickets to shows and purchases merchandise – is one of the main ways for artists to make money today.

It’s good for Apple’s business, too. If artists can use Apple Music as the ultimate tool – to not only be compensated for their music and content, but also as a platform to promote music and content and engage directly with fans – the sky is the limit. The key is having popular artists buy in to produce this exclusive content and music, and ensuring it truly resonates with the Gen Z audience. With superstar artists like Drake, Pharrell, and Taylor Swift already on board, Apple is well under way to winning the hearts of its golden children and claiming the music industry iron throne.

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