While US Apple Music Trials Are Ending, China Is Ushering in New Users

Will Apple’s plan to give cheap and easy access to an international library of music flop in the pirate capital of the world?

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Sep 30 2015, 4:18pm

Image: Fabrizio Maestroni/Flickr/Flickr

As Apple Music, the company's foray into the streaming business, sees its first few trials coming to a close in the United States, a slew of potential subscribers will start their own trials across the Pacific in China, which helped propel iPhone 6s sales past another record-breaking 13 million units. After the usual three-month trial, the service will charge users 10 yuan a month, worth roughly $1.57 US dollars, comparable to India's 120 rupees ($1.83) and Russia's 169 rubles ($2.57).

The expansion into China underlies some growing cordiality between the country and Western companies like Apple. It also underscores some changing policies on copyright infringement. China has long been known for being pirate capital of the world, but Beijing has recently been making efforts to change that by working with China's biggest web companies (many of which host their own streaming services) to remove unlicensed content.

The deep price cuts for Apple Music subscriptions then, are attractive in a country where users would have likely gotten their music for free by torrents; charging a nominal price for much easier access, theoretically, could win over China's huge potential user base. After all, there doesn't seem to be a Popcorn Time for music.