Apple released its music streaming service for Android phones as a beta in November 2015. Nine months later, the app is now official at version 1.0. And yet, it only has an average rating of 3.3 stars on the Play Store.
Being on Android is key to Apple’s strategy when it comes to music. Apple knows well that it isn’t just competing with good ol’ MP3 files. The company is competing with heavyweight music streaming giants, such as Spotify, SoundCloud, Google Play Music and, yes, even YouTube. All these services are available on iOS and Android.
When Apple launched the Android beta of Apple Music, the company promised a full native app with everything you’d expect from a modern Android app. Apple Music features a home screen widget, lets you save songs on a microSD and more. On this front, when you compare this philosophy against Google’s design philosophy, Apple wins — Google Maps, Gmail or YouTube look out of place on an iPhone as they look like Android apps.
But when you look at the Play Store ratings, it says that the app is still crippled with bugs. Music doesn’t play, downloaded songs get randomly removed and the app crashes a lot.
In other words, there’s still a lot of work to do on this Android app. If Apple wants to release other apps on Android (iMessage, anyone?), the company still needs to step up its Android game.
Apple has big hopes for Apple Music. The service launched with a generous 3-month free trial in June 2015 with the promise that its human-curated playlists would make you discover a lot of new music. Later, the company signed an exclusive deal with Taylor Swift, paving the way for other major exclusives — Britney Spears’ new album just launched exclusively on Apple Music, for example.
The company already has 15 million subscribers, but it doesn’t want to stop there. The Apple Music app on iOS is getting a complete redesign for iOS 10 — that didn’t take long.
It’s unclear whether the Apple Music app on Android will receive a similar redesign when iOS 10 launches this fall. For now, Apple has added an equalizer on Android, as not all Android phones let you play with the equalizer in the phone settings.
It would be interesting to break down the number of Apple Music subscribers by platform. But Apple knows that exclusives will get people to sign up whether they have an iPhone or an Android device.