Apple Music’s Voice Plan Removal Is a case of ‘Streamflation’

Apple Music's Voice Plan Removal Is a case of 'Streamflation'

Apple Music Removes its Voice Plan

Image: nikkimeel (Shutterstock)

Apple Music subscribers can no longer sign up for the Voice Plan and existing subscribers’ auto-renew will turn off at the end of the billing period, Apple said in a blog post on Wednesday. Subscribers paid just $4.99 for Apple Music’s Voice Plan which launched in 2021 and allowed users to access their music library through Siri on all devices.

Apple says it was discontinuing Apple’s Voice Plan starting at the beginning of November to make way for new features like immersive Spatial Audio, Apple Music Sing, and other discovery features. By discontinuing the Voice Plan, Apple’s cheapest subscription is now the Student Apple Music subscription for $5.99. For everyone else, the cheapest option is $10.99 per month for an individual subscription or $16.99 per month for a family plan.

Apple’s shift away from providing a cheaper streaming option mirrors changes at other streaming providers including YouTube and Netflix, who have increased their subscription prices in recent months. Price hikes and low-priced subscription tier eliminations are making it harder for everyday users to afford streaming services. Just last week, Netflix raised the cost of its basic plan with ads from $10 to $12 and its premium plan from $20 to $23, making it the second price hike since January 2022.

Meanwhile, YouTube’s Premium international price increased across several countries on Wednesday, including Argentina, Australia, Germany, and Turkey, among others. In Australia, the price jumped from $11.99 AUD for legacy subscribers to $16.99 AUD. To put the constant price uptick in perspective, when Netflix launched its streaming service in 2010, a subscription was $7.99, taking inflation into account, that cost would be $10.98 in 2023.

Some have dubbed the price hikes “streamflation,” as other streaming platforms including Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max, Peacock, and Disney+ have all raised their prices in the past year. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the average monthly price of a major streaming service increased by nearly 25% from August 2022 to August of this year.

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