Apple is apparently sending out push notifications to Apple Music subscribers, offering a month's worth of subscription to friends they invite over to the service.
This comes just a week after Apple did a similar thing, in which it offered, via push notifications, another three-month trial to customers who've used up the initial three-month sign-on perk.
Violation Of Guidelines
As 9to5Mac points out, pumping out push notifications just to promote something is a clear violation of Apple's own App Store review guidelines. Apple's policy states that push notifications "should not be used for advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes."
Informing users about new features or services via push notifications isn't exactly new territory for Apple. Members of the iPhone Upgrade Program, for instance, receive updates whenever there are new iPhone models available.
Apple doesn't seem to be obeying its own App Store rules in both those cases. To be fair, a member of the iPhone Upgrade Program likely wants to hear about new iPhone announcements. A push notification in this scenario is expected, if not entirely welcome. However, luring customers back to Apple Music after they've finished their initial trial is an undeniable promotion of the service.
Apple's guidelines don't currently distinguish between these two cases, and perhaps the time has come it did. Violating its own rules sends a message to other developers that the Cupertino brand is unashamedly using its own house privileges. Not to mention that unwanted push notifications are simply annoying.
One Free Month
As for the Apple Music promotion itself, it's not entirely clear what happens once the free month is done. By default, a subscription renews after the trial period is over. If so, this means that payment info would be required before availing the free perk, and users would be billed each month unless they cancel, just like any other Apple Music subscriber.
Although Apple's tactic to sign on new subscribers are slightly frustrating, Apple Music does seem to be an excellent music streaming service that's on par with Spotify. Like that rival app, it also offers offline downloads, curated playlists, and a bunch of other nifty extras. Still, Spotify remains the service of choice — Statista says there were 96 million Spotify premium users by the fourth quarter of 2018, as opposed to Apple Music's 56 million in the same period.
Which music streaming service do you prefer? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!