Can Apple win the streaming wars?

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Apple's new music steaming service may not beat the entrenched players but it's a crucial part of the Cupertino giant's long-term growth story, according to experts.

Apple Music has the potential to move past rivals but it needs a lift to compete with the likes of Spotify and Pandora, David Garrity, principal of GVA Research, told CNBC on Tuesday.

The tech company's massive customer base - there are nearly 800 million iTunes users - is its biggest advantage over rivals. If it can convert even 10 percent of those into subscribers on June 30, it will outdo Spotify, Apple's biggest rival in the industry. The Swedish firm has been around for nine years and carries over 60 million users, 15 million of which are paying subscribers.

"The question we have to look at now, is as people review Apple Music, will they actually be satisfied and believe that they're getting something superior?" Garrity warned.

The biggest challenge to Apple is whether it has done enough to differentiate itself from competitors, experts said . The features of both Apple Music and Spotify are largely similar on the surface: both cost $9.99 a month, boast over 30 million tracks, allow users to play their own music files and offer radio services.

But Spotify's draw is its accessibility; while both are available on Mac, iOs, and Windows platforms, users can also access Spotify on PlayStation, Android, the Windows Phone, Blackberry and even cars. The company's upcoming entry into video streaming, seen by its recent partnerships with Youtube and Netflix, are also a key factor.

So far, top players in the streaming industry remain unperturbed by their newest competitor.

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"To be honest, we have other things making us shake in our boots, piracy is a bigger threat," Sunita Kaur, MD for Asia Pacific at Spotify, told CNBC last week.

Rdio, a five-year old streaming service whose user base is undisclosed, released a tongue-in-cheek response to Apple's launch. Making a reference to an advertisement that Apple ran in 1981 after IBM announced its first PC, Rdio's statement highlighted the company's late entry to the streaming sector.

"Welcome, Apple. Seriously. Welcome to the most exciting and important frontier since the digital music revolution began 16 years ago. We look forward to responsible competition in the massive effort to make music available legally for anyone to enjoy anytime, anywhere."

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The long-term view

The streaming industry is succumbing to steady losses, with Spotify tripling its losses in 2014, but Apple isn't worried about making a profit, noted Daniel Ives, managing director and senior analyst at FBR Capital Markets.

"Apple isn't concerned about making money on streaming right now; they are just making sure that they have streaming in their eco-system as more consumers embrace it. Streaming will be key for the 2016 growth story, especially as it ties into the Apple Watch and Apple Pay."

Ives believes music is just the tip of the iceberg for Apple's streaming business; he expects a television service to come out later this year.

"The risks here [in streaming] are well worth it because the rewards are enormous," echoed Michael Robinson, chief technology strategist at

However, that doesn't mean investors should rush into the stock.

"When you look at Apple stock, you look at what drives the revenue and profit. iPhone sales are first and foremost, followed by Macs and PC," Garrity argued . "While Apple Music may not move the needle on a financial standpoint, it certainly will have an impact in terms of consumer perception of Apple. So in that regard, it does need to succeed."

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