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SPOTIFY, APPLE MUSIC LIKE FACEBOOK (AND OTHER INITIATIVES)

As the streaming race heats up and new comers hit the market, Spotify and Apple Music are making moves. 

Now that Apple's membership is growing, Pandora Premium is up and running and Amazon Music Prime is gathering momentum, both companies are upping the ante. This includes working with Facebook, expanding discounts for students and backing emerging artists.

Facebook Messenger is getting music-sharing functionality, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced during the F8 developers conference on 4/18.

Both Spotify and Apple Music will be integrated into Messenger 2.0, which will allow users to share playable links to songs, albums and playlists.  The service is currently used by 1.2b people a month, so this integration lights a path to music discovery for quite a vast audience.

Worldwide, there are over 1.8b active Facebook users and 1.1b mobile daily active users.

This will be part of Facebook’s new rollout of Messenger, which is set to feature more discovery tools to help users find and use chat bots relevant to them based on interests and location. 

Spotify has already said that users will be able to search the catalog, reference recently played music and allow for a sharable links featuring 30-second clips via the Messenger app, and although Apple has not yet disclosed how functionality will work with Apple Music, it should be similar. 

Meanwhile, Spotify is expanding its discounted student pricing worldwide, with young users in 36 countries now eligible for the premium deal. Students will have to verify that they're actively enrolled in an institution of higher learning to take advantage (and the higher the better). Like Apple, Spotify is making the premium service available to students for just $4.99 per month. Both companies are striving to have the largest global offering of this kind, with the House of Ek slightly ahead for now. How this will affect the balance of users remains to be seen; Spotify reportedly has 50m worldwide, and Apple is said to have 32m+.

Apple, meanwhile, is kicking its UpNext program into gear, providing a month's worth of intensive video, playlist and other exposure via its sub service. The first beneficiary is Interscope's 6lack, who's been growing his profile. Team Jimmy will select subsequent monthly featured acts.

Will the emphasis on developing acts entice new users? That was the focus of Apple Music when it launched, and the company seemed to pivot somewhat in its marketing and outreach afterward. 

In any event, the streaming wars just keep heating up. What's next?

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