Apple have begun offering gift cards with discounted 12 month subscriptions to their popular music streaming service Apple Music.

In an attempt to persuade users to join Apple Music rather than competitors Apple are offering 12 month subscription gift cards in certain stores for their year-old streaming service. The cards are offered for $99, a $20 discount on paying monthly for a year at £9.99 a month.

This doesn’t mean you’ll be able to sign up for 12 months of Apple Music online as the offer is only available via the gift cards which can be found in Apple stores, Best Buy, Walmart and some online stores like Ebay. Offering discounted 12 month subscriptions gives Apple Music the upper hand over competitors, even Spotify who, whilst offering a 12 month gift card, offer their gift cards at a flat rate costing $120.

Whilst it’s great for any Apple Music fans who don’t get a student discount or use family sharing to get a cheaper subscription, it’s another example of how despite their new entry into music streaming Apple Music have the upper hand. Competitors like Spotify and Deezer are solely music streaming companies whilst Apple Music is a subsidiary of Apple, allowing Apple Music money to play with and less obligation for profitability, and more for earning users.

Whilst the gift cards will no doubt entice some more subscribers into Apple Music it won’t be enough to push them up to the level of their main rival, Spotify. Spotify recently announced they had 39 million paying subscribers, a giant 9 million gain from just 6 months before showing incredible growth against Apple Music who have remained fairly quiet since revealing 15 million subscribers…..

Despite Apple Music’s popularity and unparalleled growth in it’s first year it wasn’t received with much praise as many criticised it’s poor user interface and lack of quirks. Whilst small updates have tweaked some of the worst problems a giant update coming to Apple Music with iOS 10 promises a deeper, more attractive UI with additional features like a Discover Weekly style playlist of recommendations.