Apple has been pretty diligent about keeping the price of Apple Music at $9.99 per month with no discounts (except for the $14.99 family plan) since it launched, but now it looks like a new $99 per year option is now available as well.
Tech Crunch recently spotted this new tier, and found that the interesting thing is that it’s only available to current Apple Music subscribers and only if you dig a little, since it’s a bit buried (see the graphic on the right).
The interesting thing is that Apple did this without a big announcement, especially since it had a nice soapbox at the recent World Wide Developers Conference. One can only think that Apple is testing the waters to see the reaction to the 17.5% discount to yearly subscribers before providing the big PR push to brand new subscribers.
A discount on the service could conceivably poach some users from other platforms, although that’s proved to be pretty difficult for just about every service so far. Once someone decides upon a platform, they usually stay with it, or at least they have so far. Users tend to test several platforms at once until they make a decision on the one they like.
The problem is that the difference between platforms aren’t major enough to make someone jump to a new one once that decision has been made. When you get right down to it, most platforms now have a similar basic interface, and the catalogs are pretty equal. Search and social capabilities are big for some users, while not so much for others.
Price is a big differentiator though, but the major labels have stopped all platforms from dropping to what many feel is the natural level of the market, or about $5 per month. That said, Apple Music’s new $99 per year tier may be a subtle change, but it could be an important step in the eventual price of all streaming formats.