On-demand streaming, 24/7 global radio and more personal artist-fan interaction. Welcome to Apple Music.
Apple was revered as a revolutionary figure in music after the launch of the iPod and iTunes, but has since found itself playing catch-up with the transition from on-device music catalogues, to cloud-based, on-demand streaming services.
This cultural shift, in the way we now prefer to consume our music, has inspired Apple to manufacture its own music streaming platform, which, based on the initial buzz, could see it surmount the likes of Spotify, Tidal and Google Play.
Called Apple Music, this “revolutionary” music service is being marketed as offering a trinity of features to users: on-demand music streaming, Beats 1 (24/7 global radio) and Connect (closer connections between artists and fans).
Apple Music promises to put the entire 30 million tracks occupying the iTunes catalogue right at your fingertips, across all of your devices. Even your existing collection is included in the mix, whether you ripped the contents from CDs, or purchased from iTunes. You can stream, or save for enjoying offline.
You can either filter through and listen to songs, albums and playlists of your own choosing, or tell Apple Music what you’re in to, and sample the music it handpicks for you. You’ll be showered with all sorts of recommendations based on your expressed tastes.
Apple claims that its new music service will deliver a human touch, as its playlists are curated by the world’s leading music experts, rather than impersonal computer algorithms.
The search bar will open a window to new artists and albums, and will display trending searches to keep you in the musical loop. Integrated functionality with Siri means that you can use your voice to explore Apple Music’s eclectic library, requesting things like “Play me the best songs from 1982.”
There’s also to be tens of thousands of music videos available for your viewing pleasure, all entirely ad free. That’s a double whammy for Google, who owns Google Play and YouTube.
In addition to streaming, Apple Music will present a 24/7 global radio station, broadcasting to over 100 countries from LA, New York and London. Called Beats 1, this service is being spearheaded by influential DJs Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga.
Programs broadcast by Beats 1 will be full of music from a wide range of genres, on top of exclusive interviews, guest hosts, news and culture. It’s free to everyone, even without an Apple Music membership, though paying users will be able to skip as many songs as they like.
Connect is Apple’s ambitious attempt at creating a social network that brings artists and their fans closer together. As well as uploading their tracks to Apple Music, musicians will have the facility to share more intimate content, like behind-the-scenes photos and in-progress lyrics.
Fans will be able to like or comment on anything that’s posted, and if they’re lucky, may even get direct responses from the artists themselves (or their team of social media experts…).
Release Date and Price
Apple Music will launch 30 June in over 100 countries, alongside iOS 8.4. An updated version of iTunes will be available to download on Mac and PC around the same time, with Apple Music coming to Android later this autumn.
After three months free, membership will cost £9.99 a month, or £14.99 for a family account (serving up to six different people).