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Will Apple Music begin to fall out of favor in the US? (OP-ED)

The landscape of music streaming is changing within the U.S. Despite having a lengthy foothold in the market, could Apple Music’s popularity start seeing a steady decline?

Compared to the rest of the world, Apple has had a unique domination of the U.S. market. According to Music Business Worldwide (MBW), a report revealed that Apple Music had 88 million subscribers globally in 2022, which increased to 101 million in 2023. Around 32.6 million of those subscribers reside in the U.S. Besides Spotify, Apple Music remains in the second spot on the U.S. market, likely because of its clever marketing strategies and a better-quality experience for Apple devices. 

However, in recent years Apple has turned its marketing towards Gen Z and to great success. In an interview with the Financial Times, Credit Suisse analyst Shannon Cross noted how these strategies have strengthened Apple, making the company almost “impenetrable by the competition” according to Cross.

Despite its popularity amongst younger generations, recent antitrust lawsuits from Europe and the United States have called into question Apple’s practices towards competition. In an 88-page lawsuit filed by the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, the US claimed that Apple through its practices was making it harder for competition to thrive.

“Apple created, strategically broadened, and aggressively enforced its App Store Guidelines to effectively block apps from hosting mini programs,” the complaint read, “Apple’s conduct disincentivized investments in mini program development and caused U.S. companies to abandon or limit support for the technology in the United States.”

According to DOJ Antitrust Division Chief Jonathan Kanter, Apple has used “contractual rules and restrictions” to make consumers pay higher fees, and “throttle competitive alternatives from rival technologies.”

In the lawsuit with the European Commission, it makes similar complaints towards Apple in the music streaming industry, alleging that Apple “muzzled streaming services from telling users about payment options available through their websites.” According to the EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, these practices negatively impacted millions of European citizens from finding better options on how to consume music. 

It certainly is a long time coming, but considering the lengths Apple is setting to go to fight these accusations, only time will tell if these lawsuits finally break its hold on the market.


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