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Apple Offers Free Streaming Content During Coronavirus Pandemic

Apple Music has extended its free trial to 90 days and now released some Apple Originals for free viewing.

Apple is being generous during the coronavirus pandemic, offering free music and now original movies and TV shows to introduce potential subscribers to their streaming offerings. First, Apple extended its 30-day free trial to Apple Music to 90 days. Listeners can access 60 million songs, ad free, via iTunes and iOS and Android devices. The offer includes local radio stations, featured playlists, exclusive and original content and can be listened to online or off. Listeners can also ask Siri to search for songs or for songs with specific lyrics.

Following the free trial, an Apple Music subscription is $9.99 a month for an individual plan or $14.99 per month for a family subscription for up to six people. Apple also offers a subscription plan for college students for $4.99 per month. While extending the free trial period is generous, Apple Music has done this before to attract new subscribers. Spotify has previously extended its free trial to 90 days, but it currently stands at 30 days. Amazon Music Unlimited, however, is now offering 90 days free with the purchase of an eligible product which seems to be random collection of items (e.g., Connect4 game, Bohemian Rhapsody DVD, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV stick, Bose headphones, etc.)  

Apple has extended its Apple Music free trial from 30 to 60 days. Image: Apple Music

Last week, Apple upped the ante with free streaming access to some of Apple TV Plus’s original shows and movies for a limited time, reports CNET. Viewers can watch the following family-friendly programming for free:

  • Little America, an anthology of stories about immigrants
  • Servant, a story about a couple who lost their newborn baby
  • For All Mankind, a program about the space race
  • Dickinson, a comedy about Emily Dickinson
  • Helpsters, a spinoff of Sesame Street
  • Ghostwriter, a mystery series for kids
  • Snoopy in Space, an animated series featuring America’s favorite dog
  • The Elephant Queen, a wildlife documentary

The free shows are only available through the Apple TV application which is accessible on Apple devices and via some Samsung and LG TVs, Roku devices and Amazon Fire TV. Go to the “Free for Everyone” tab to view the free content.

Apple TV Plus launched last fall. It is normally available for $4.99 a month, or $49.99 a year, after a seven-day free trial. At launch, Apple also offered one free year of Apple TV Plus to those who purchased a new Apple device (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod Touch or Mac), provided they accepted the offer within 90 days of getting the device.

Subscribers to Apple TV Plus will be able to watch all Apple Originals including Home Before Dark, The Morning Show, Amazing Stories, The Banker, Defending Jacob, Mythic Quest, Trying, Oprah Talks, Hala, Beastie Boys Story, Central Park, See, Here We Are, Truth Be Told, Oprah’s Book Club, and Visible Out on Television.

Apple TV Plus is offering some free programming to viewers during the coronavirus pandemic. Image: Apple TV Plus

Insider Take:

Many streaming video on demand services are offering free content during the coronavirus pandemic. This serves several purposes. It provides those who are confined to their homes with some free entertainment, while introducing them to an SVOD service they might not already be watching. Many streaming services have overlapping content, but the real selling point among the different options like Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV and CBS All Access is the unique content they offer viewers. In the case of Apple TV Plus, all of their programming is original, so what viewers are seeing is not available anywhere else. That makes this play very smart on Apple’s part. They are getting a new service in front of people who might not see it otherwise.

As far as streaming music, Apple Music is the only service we are aware of that has extended its free trial during COVID-19 from 30 to 90 days without any other conditions attached. For example, in the case of Amazon Music Unlimited, listeners have to purchase another product first. Other services like Spotify, Tidal and Pandora remain the same. Spotify and Pandora work from the freemium model (a free, ad-supported tier and a premium, ad-free tier) with free trials of 30 days. Tidal offers a 30-day free trial with six subscription tiers (premium, HiFi, family HiFi, student premium, student HiFi) ranging in price from $4.99 to $29.99 a month.

Well played, Apple.

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