Apple Music, the new streaming service of the American multinational technology company Apple Inc., has officially entered the Vietnamese market with its global debut in late June.
Although free music listening and downloading websites have become a dominant force for online consuming here, Apple Music has won over a certain number of customers.
The service is offering a free three-month trial to users before officially starting to charge them at US$9.99 per month for access to over 30 million songs in the Apple Music library.
However, it has provided a lower fee for users in Vietnam, at around VND60,000 ($2.76) per month.
Besides, with an eye-catching, simple and easy to use platform, Apple Music also offers users a variety of choices, from streaming music, of course, to listening to its 24/7 Beats 1 radio, or connecting with artists joining the Apple social network.
Moreover, Apple also supports searching in Vietnamese.
Thai, a 26-year-old music fan in Vietnam, said that his favorite part of using Apple’s new streaming service is its friendliness and good recommendations.
“For example, if you like jazz, all you need to do is just click the ‘jazz’ box and wait for the service to recommend to you all the best old and new jazz albums of all time,” Thai said.
“Or if you favor a singer, just search for her/his name, and Apple Music can even recommend other artists who have the same style as your favorite singer,” he added. “And then you can both listen to music, and update more about the music genre you love.”
Another thing that has helped Apple Music to win fans in Vietnam is its wide reach of customers.
Not only can young people who have mastered technology use it but housewives can also easily find their favorite music recommended by the service, as it even has specific cheerful songs chosen for cooking time.
That is just one of many lists suggested by Apple Music that perfectly catches the mood of listeners, including songs for rainy days, for broken hearts or even for outdoor barbecue parties.
Vietnamese albums on Apple Music. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Transparent payment for artists
Numerous Vietnamese artists have their works showcased on the American service, from pop singers Issac, Noo Phuoc Thinh and Trung Quan Idol, to veteran names like Tuan Ngoc, Do Bao and Ha Tran.
Pops Worldwide, the intermediary which has signed more than 400 Vietnamese artists with giants like YouTube and Apple, said Apple Music has not given a strict bond for local artists to be on it, but the prerequisite condition is that the artists must ensure the copyright for their works.
Besides, the intermediary must follow regulations on taxes and fees, or it must upload works of singers as fast as possible within 12 hours of release.
A representative of songwriter-singer Tien Tien, whose hit “Say You Do” is in the top four most streamed songs on Apple Music in Vietnam, said the singer has connected to Apple Music since March through an intermediary.
The intermediary has been in charge of signing and transparently paying artists regularly in months or quarters.
Tien Tien’s representative said his team is optimistic about making a profit through working with Apple Music when Vietnamese listeners believe in Apple’s transparency in payment.
Songwriter Duong Khac Linh, who has many works featured on Apple’s online music service, iTunes, said although his profit has not been very high, it is still better than letting people enjoy his songs for free, like on some online music sites in Vietnam.
Also, emerging singer Vu Cat Tuong said she has chosen iTunes to release her works, as she believes the copyright will be well-protected there.
Paid or free music?
While Zing Mp3, a big music sharing site in Vietnam, has yet to comment on how the arrival of Apple Music will influence its success, nhaccuatui.com (NCT), another leading online music site in the country, expressed calm over the situation.
“People are excited because Apple Music is offering a free three-month trial,” Nhan The Luan, general director of NCT, said. “In my experience, not many listeners in Vietnam are willing to pay for online music, even for high-quality music.”
Currently, music sharing sites in Vietnam like Zing MP3 and NCT, besides allowing users to listen to music online for free, also offer paid services for higher-quality music.
The price for paid music on Zing Mp3 is VND30,000 ($1.38) per month and VND270,000 ($12.4) for 12 months.
Meanwhile, NCT has also provided a paid package, including music listening, downloading, movie tickets, meals and more.
However, the number of people willing to pay is still small. Luan said that Apple is aiming at the global market and has not paid much attention to the Vietnamese market, adding that the local artists signed with the tech giant through intermediaries, not directly with the company.
“Actually, if Apple focuses on the Vietnamese market, NCT and other similar sites will be in trouble,” Luan said.
“But our listening and downloading index remains unchanged,” he added, expressing his confidence in local people’s habit of using online music sharing sites.