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It looks like Apple has snuck in a small price increase for students taking advantage of its discounted Apple Music plan.
As discovered by app developer Michael Burkhardt, Apple is now charging $5.99/month for its Student plan in the U.S. — a $1 increase over the previous price of $4.99.
Apple has yet to officially announce the change, but as we noted last month, the price began quietly increasing in several other countries around the world in late May. At the time, it appeared that it might be limited to only those few countries; however, it’s come to our shores now as well.
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The U.S. increase seems to have taken effect in the last 48 hours, along with similar increases in Canada and the U.K.
This marks the first time Apple has increased the price for any Apple Music tier since the service launched in 2015.
At launch, Apple Music was priced at $9.99 for an individual or $14.99 for a family plan.
The Apple Music Student Plan didn’t launch until nearly a year later, in May 2016, for $4.99/month — a price that’s remained steady for six years.
In 2019 Apple even sweetened the deal by including Apple TV+ in the Apple Music Student Plan.
It’s also notable that Apple prices Apple Music dollar-for-dollar in the U.S. and Canada, despite exchange rate differences. Apple Music costs $9.99 USD in the U.S. and $9.99 CAD in Canada; the same applies to the other tiers. Apple Music is unique in this regard, as every other Apple service is adjusted for the exchange rate, from Apple TV+ to iCloud storage plans.
When Apple began increasing the student plan prices in places like Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines, it reportedly sent out emails to affected customers. So far, we haven’t seen any reports of U.S. customers being notified, but that’s likely coming.
The timing of this is interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Apple launched its Back to School Promotion today, offering Apple Gift Cards of $100 or $150 depending on the purchase. The price increase means that students that want to Apply one of these gift cards to a long-term Apple Music subscription will now get 4–5 months less than they otherwise would have.
This price increase — the first ever for any Apple subscription service — also began only a couple of weeks after Apple started allowing developers to raise subscription prices automatically. Apple will presumably have to follow its own rules here, and notify customers of the price change, but it no longer needs to ask them to consent to it; those who do nothing will start paying the increased price.
The slight price increase isn’t likely to break the bank even for students, but it could push some who have been on the fence about keeping Apple Music to consider other services.
The price increase also sets the Apple Music Student Plan apart from its more recently announced Apple Music Voice Plan, which still costs only $4.99/month. This is a substantially different plan, as it’s powered entirely by Siri and lacks support for personal music libraries, Spatial and Lossless Audio, music videos, lyrics, and navigating with the iPhone Music app.
The Apple Music Student Plan is a discounted version of the $9.99/month standard plan. At the same $4.99/month price tag as the voice plan, there was no incentive for students to consider that plan. While it’s still arguable whether it’s worth giving up a full Apple Music plan just to save a buck, the Apple Music Voice Plan is now officially Apple’s most affordable Apple Music tier.