Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Apple Makes Rare Cross-Platform Play With Apple Music

By Evan Niu, CFA - Nov 30, 2018 at 1:30PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Apple Music is coming to Amazon Echos.

Apple (AAPL 1.62%) isn't usually all that great at sharing its offerings with other platforms, typically preferring to keep as much as it can within its own proprietary platforms -- that whole "walled garden" thing and all. It's extremely rare for the Mac maker to offer its services on other platforms, but that's precisely what is being announced today. (AMZN 3.15%) has just confirmed that Apple Music will come to its incredibly popular line of Alexa-powered Echo devices starting the week of Dec. 17.

That's a huge win for both companies.

Amazon Echo on a kitchen counter

Apple Music, coming soon to an Amazon Echo near you. Image source: Amazon.

Breaking down the news

It's worth noting that Apple Music has long been available on Android, so it's not unprecedented for the company to make its music-streaming service available on other platforms. It's unclear how many Android users subscribe to Apple Music, although the app's listing notes it has been installed over 10 million times.

Amazon's own music-streaming services have never been that popular. While the e-commerce giant said earlier this year that it had "tens of millions" of music subscribers, that likely includes anyone subscribed to Amazon Prime, which has the more limited Prime Music that only has 2 million songs.

The more important figure -- that Amazon won't disclose -- would be how many subscribers Amazon has for Amazon Music Unlimited, which is more comparable to Apple Music and Spotify (SPOT 3.93%). Spotify is also available on Echo devices, along with just about any other smart speaker you can think of. Amazon had merely said in April that Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers had doubled over the prior six months. The company has always enjoyed using those types of context-less comparisons.

While Apple Music is coming to Echos, it's just as interesting what's not happening. Apple isn't bringing other music-streaming services to its own HomePod smart speaker, which still only supports Apple Music. If the company were to bring Spotify to the HomePod, that would dramatically expand the addressable market to include Spotify's massive user base and potentially boost sales of the $350 high-fidelity device. Spotify now has 191 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 87 million premium subscribers. (Not all premium subscribers are MAUs, though.)

More coopetition

The news is the latest collaboration between Apple and Amazon, which have been increasingly working together over the past year. After a yearslong impasse, Amazon Prime Video finally became available on Apple's tvOS platform late last year, signaling that the relationship between the two rivals was warming up.

Just this month, Amazon finally started to sell Apple products (notably excluding the iPhone and HomePod) directly on its site, the largest e-commerce platform on the planet. That adds a massive distribution channel for Apple, while ensuring Amazon customers can get Apple products directly from the Mac maker. Historically, that void has been filled by third-party resellers, many of which Amazon will no longer allow to sell Apple products effective January.

With Apple and Amazon increasing their coopetition, consumers win.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
$138.93 (1.62%) $2.21, Inc. Stock Quote, Inc.
$109.56 (3.15%) $3.35
Spotify Stock Quote
$97.52 (3.93%) $3.69

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/03/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.