Teens Talk Apple Music

Someone, a long time ago, said children are our future.

While I remember the artist and song it came from, the demographic that’s going to make or break Apple Music has probably never heard of Whitney Houston or The Greatest Love of All, and if they have it’s because of their unhip parents.

With the three month free trials of Apple Music coming to a close soon, the question is whether people pay for the service. I’m in my early 40s and I’ve been actively collecting music since the late ’80s. While I own a lot of bad music, The Greatest Love of All is not part of that collection. I made the great digital leap forward and transferred all my music to .MP3 in the early 2000s and now I’m getting used to the idea of my music in a datacenter in the middle who-knows-where.

However, people of my age will not make or break Apple Music. Teens with access to anything they wanted to listen to at any time by playing a flat fee will make or break the service. They have no real allegiance to any of the services, like the inhabitants of Adam Smith’s perfect free market. However, companies are keen to earn their business because, as the conventional wisdom goes, they’ll be loyal to those brands for the rest of their lives.

So we’ve talked to four teenagers 16 to 18, all female, who Apple has in its crosshairs for its streaming music service.

For the most part, they named the biggies in the streaming music space as services they regularly used: Pandora, Spotify, occasionally Last.fm, iHeartRadio and Soundcloud; there was even a pre-Apple Music Beats user and someone who actually bought music from iTunes in the mix.

They all listened to a wide variety of music, including ones you wouldn’t expect. Megabands from the ’90s were named, like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day and Blink 182 were mentioned, as were classic rock mainstays like Led Zepplin and AC/DC. More contemporary artists were named, of course, like Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith.

The genres that were big included the usual suspects: alternative, hip-hop,  EDM. But there were a few very niche categories that showed up: German metal, K-pop and trap.

So, in short, they’re not just the Taylor Swift-listening mob that the popular media would like to believe. In fact, some of them just didn’t care that 1989 was on Apple Music at all.

But what they are into is a very deep, very wide catalog of music that they can access to any time. Some of them actually did own physical music, but streaming made up the bulk of their listening habits.

So will they use Apple Music? Two of the four said yes; the other two haven’t tried it yet. The two that did try Apple Music said they liked it a lot — in fact, one of them was sold within the first two days of using it.

Image via Clive Darra.

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