Big news hit the music streaming industry when Apple (AAPL 8.22%) announced this week that it is raising the price of Apple Music in the United States. Formerly, the premium music subscription was $9.99 a month, but it will increase $1 to $10.99. This comes along with price hikes across other Apple subscription services like Apple TV+.
Competing audio streaming company Spotify (SPOT 0.56%) saw its stock jump 5% on the news, likely because investors became more bullish about the Swedish upstart’s competitive position in the music industry.
Here’s why an Apple Music price hike should be good news for Spotify’s business moving forward.
Price increases give Spotify breathing room
Apple Music’s standard subscription now costs $10.99 a month. Currently, in the United States, Spotify is charging $9.99 a month, the same price it launched at over 10 years ago.
One of the bear cases on Spotify is that its main competition (Apple, Amazon, and YouTube) are just small subsidiaries of giant technology companies and that they will not care about raising prices for music streaming even if the business is losing money. This stance could inhibit Spotify from raising its prices. That seems to be changing with this recent announcement.
With inflation raging at 7% to 10% a year, there’s no reason to think Spotify couldn’t match Apple Music’s price increase (at least in the United States) or go for an even higher monthly price in the coming years.
Outside its standard plan, Spotify has popular student and family plans. The student plan will not be affected by these developments, with both Apple Music and Spotify charging $5 a month for people with college emails.
But the Spotify family plan should look more attractive for Apple Music subscribers at just $16 a month for up to six users, only $5 more than Apple Music. This could convince people to switch as well as enable Spotify to raise the price of its family plan, which it did in 2021 with zero impact on customer churn.
Lastly, Spotify is rumored to be planning an extra-premium tier called Spotify Platinum, which it recently surveyed users about. The subscription is going to cost more per month and — if launched — will include better audio quality, limited advertisements on podcasts, and other features. Apple Music already offers this improved audio quality for all subscribers, so this price increase should make Spotify Platinum more competitive if/when it becomes available for purchase.
Overall, Apple Music raising prices gives Spotify breathing room that many investors didn’t think it had, which should benefit the business in the future.
How Spotify could benefit financially
So we now understand that Apple Music raising prices will be good for Spotify, but let’s put some numbers together and see how much of an impact it could have financially.
Spotify currently has 195 million premium subscribers. We don’t know the mix of standard, student, and premium plans, but let’s assume that the company has the ability to raise prices by an average of $1 a month for all of its subscribers around the globe. That would be $12 a year per subscriber, which equates to $2.34 billion in annual revenue. This is meaningful, as over the past 12 months Spotify has generated $12 billion in revenue.
Of course, Spotify won’t raise prices on all its plans in all its markets tomorrow. But I think this exercise shows how easily the company could grow its revenue without adding any new subscribers due to the embedded pricing power it has at its disposal.
If you own Spotify stock, this Apple price hike should be music to your ears. With shares down 60% this year, now could be a good time to buy some shares of Spotify for your portfolio.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Brett Schafer has positions in Spotify Technology. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon, Apple, and Spotify Technology. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
Overwatch 2: Sojourn the Main Target of Nerfs in Season 2 Update – IGN
Blizzard Entertainment has revealed what we can expect from Season 2 of Overwatch 2, including balancing updates, limited-time events, skins, and more ahead of its December 6 launch date.
Alongside the introduction of the new Omnic revolutionary tank hero Ramattra and the winding Shambali Monastery Escort map, Season 2 is also bringing some important balancing changes, according to Blizzard Entertainment’s official blog post.
Most significantly, Blizzard Entertainment has moved to nerf the damage hero Sojourn, who according to a blog post on the company’s website has been dominating the high-skill competitive scene in recent weeks, while “remaining a challenge for players without the same mechanical skills”.
Overwatch 2: All 35 Heroes at Launch
To address the issue, the developers announced that they would be “focussing on the lethality of her Rail Gun at distance for Season 2”. This has been done to encourage players of all skills to use Sojurn’s mobility and her power slide to “close the distance for more devastating right-clicks”.
Doomfist — another tank — will also receive significant balancing tweaks to better reflect “his role as the team’s front line”. Ana, Bastion, Junker Queen, Kiriko, Mercy, and Symmetra will also be tweaked when the new season goes live on December 6, though Blizzard Entertainment has yet to reveal exactly how.
Next month’s launch will also bring a new map pool to Overwatch 2. Rialto and Blizzard World will be entering rotation alongside the new map Shambali Monastery. Oasis and Nepal will also be appearing “at different times of day”, while Hollywood and Watchpoint: Gibraltar will be rotated out.
Blizzard revealed details for the Greek mythology themed Season 2 Battle Pass. Progression rewards for the premium pass will include a Poseidon skin for Ramattra and a Hades costume for Pharah. The “pinnacle reward” for the pass is a Mythic Zeus skin for Junker Queen, which comes with “new customizations, weapon models, voice lines, and special effects”.
Season 2 is also set to bring three special events to the game. Winter Wonderland will run from December 13 – January 4, while the Lunar New Year event will start on January 17 and end on February 1.
Special skins will be up for grabs during each event, including “Epic Ice Queen Brigitte, Legendary Winged Victory Mercy, and Legendary Kkachi Echo.”
Sandwiched between these seasonal celebrations is the Battle for Olympus event, which will be around for a limited time from January 5 – 19. During this period players will be able to earn skins as they engage in a new game mode which will see certain heroes “imbued with awesome god-like powers”.
Finally, Season 2 will feature catch up challenges that will allow players to unlock heroes, including Kiriko from Season 1. To stay up to date and find out how to get the most out of your hero, be sure to check out more of IGN’s coverage of Overwatch 2.
Anthony is a freelance contributor covering science and video gaming news for IGN. He has over eight years experience of covering breaking developments in multiple scientific fields and absolutely no time for your shenanigans. Follow him on Twitter @BeardConGamer
Xiaomi 13 Pro camera detailed with a 1-inch main sensor, floating telephoto lens
The Xiaomi 13 series is arriving tomorrow, and today the company revealed some key features of the camera on the Pro member. According to the released teasers, the main shooter will have a 50 MP 1” Sony IMX989 sensor, while the telephoto camera will have 75mm equivalent, which is 3x magnification.
Xiaomi revealed how the new “floating” telephoto lens would work in a 20-second video – it is moving the elements closer to achieve infinite focus and take pictures of far objects; when it needs to take close-ups (up to 10 cm), the elements are moving away. The camera is developed with know-how from Leica, which once again is having its branding on the back of the phone.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro also appeared in a leaked hands-on video, revealing the camera design and some specs like MIUI 14 on top of Android 13, 8/128 GB memory variant and a Qualcomm chipset with 3.19 GHz CPU, which is unsurprisingly the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
We also got some punchy camera samples, but since they were posted on social media, they have been heavily compressed.
Camera samples at 3x zoom
Camera samples from up close
Camera samples of main 50 MP shooter
The Xiaomi 13 series is bringing LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 storage for extra snappy performance. We expect a Xiaomi 13 and a Xiaomi 13 Pro at the December 1 event, as well as announcements of a Xiaomi Watch S2 wearable and the MIUI 14 interface.
Overwatch 2 season 2: New game modes, holiday skins revealed
Overwatch 2’s second season and new tank hero Ramattra arrive on Dec. 6, and a new trailer for the free-to-play game’s new content shows what else players can expect in season 2. That includes a new Zeus-themed mythic skin for Junker Queen, Greek mythology-inspired skins for other heroes, a new Escort map, and the return of two classic Overwatch holiday events.
Season 2 of Overwatch 2 will also include a new limited-time event called Battle for Olympus, which runs Jan. 5-19, 2023. The trailer doesn’t offer much in the way of specifics, but it does appear to take place on the game’s Ilios map and includes Junker Queen calling down team-wiping lightning strikes. The Greek gods theme for the game’s second battle pass appears to include new skins for Roadhog (Cyclops), Ramattra (Poseidon), Lúcio (Hermes), Widowmaker (Medusa), Reinhardt (Minotaur), and Pharah (Hades). Junker Queen’s new mythic skin will likely be the end-of-battle-pass reward, similar to Genji’s Cyber Demon skin from season 1.
A closer look at Overwatch 2’s season 2 skins, some of which will be available through the battle pass, others through the in-game store, are in the gallery below:
Elsewhere in the trailer, we get a peek at new holiday cosmetics for Bastion, who appears to be getting a gingerbread house-inspired skin for Winter Wonderland 2022 (which runs Dec. 13 to Jan. 4), and Mei, who is getting a rabbit-themed skin for Lunar New Year 2023 (which runs Jan. 17 to Feb. 6).
But the bigger gameplay additions come in the form of Ramattra, who will be included as part of season 2’s battle pass, and a new Escort map, Shambali, set in the Himalayan peaks.
Overwatch executive producer Jared Neuss said earlier this month that, in response to season 1 of Overwatch 2, Blizzard wants players “to feel more rewarded” for playing the game in future seasons. Neuss hinted at more free skins that can be earned by playing events — like Battle for Olympus — and by watching streamers on Twitch.
Overwatch 2 is available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
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