Apple Music: Everything you need to know

Apple Music is a new streaming music service from Apple, which was announced at WWDC 2015. With Apple Music you listen to songs for a fixed monthly fee. In this article, you can read all about Apple Music: what it is, how can you take out a subscription and what is the difference, for example, with Spotify?

Apple Music: prices

Apple Music price
Apple Music costs $9,99 / month.

Apple is a streaming music service that allows you to listen to unlimited songs for $10 a month. Families pay $15 per month for up to six people. First you get a trial period of three months and you only have to pay afterwards. With family plans, Apple has a slightly more attractive offer than Spotify because with Spotify you have to pay five dollars per month for each additional family member. Spotify has already indicated that they want to cut prices.

iTunes Music Family Subscription

One of the big pluses of Apple Music is that you can take out a family plan for $15 per month. Thus have six family members (or friends) unlimited access to the music offering. They can also create their own playlists. To use this family is sharing (iCloud Family Sharing) is required, making it more difficult to share the subscription with five random friends.

Apple Music: release date

Apple Music comes out on June 30, 2015 and is available in a hundred countries. The app is standard in iOS 8.4. That means that iOS 8.4 should also be available before June 30th, so you can use it on the iPhone and iPad. Apple has ambitious plans for Apple Music: the announcement leaked out that they are planning to raise 100 million subscribers in the short term.

Apple Music Release date
The service will be available on June 30, 2015.

Apple Music: music offering

Apple Music contains more than 30 million songs. That’s in terms of numbers similar to Spotify, which also claims to have more than 30 million songs. But when you consider that there are in the iTunes store as many as 43 million tracks available, it soon becomes clear that the offer is not complete. Certain artists such as The Beatles are not (yet) available in Apple Music. In that case you will need to purchase the songs from the iTunes Store. Also notable is that Taylor Swift is present in Apple Music, while previously left in protest at Spotify. Apple also plans to offer exclusive content.

Apple Music: three parts

Apple Music actually consists of three components:

  1. Music app: access to the new streaming music service.
  2. Beats 1: 24-hour radio station.
  3. Connect: a social network for bands and artists.

Below you can read more about the various components, for starter with the music app.

Music app in iOS 8.4

Apple Music app
Apple Music app in iOS 8.4

This app is already available in the beta versions of iOS 8.4, but will officially become available to everyone once iOS 8.4 is ready. The app is in line with the existing iTunes Store app and contains many large images into manageable blocks. At the bottom, you’ll find a navigation bar to browse through the different sections.

Apple Music My Music
“My Music” section in the app.

In the My Music section, you’ll find all the music you’ve purchased from iTunes, including the playlists you’ve created. This may, therefore, be a mix of songs that you’ve already purchased through iTunes Store, songs from iTunes Match and songs to play from Apple Music.

Apple Music for you
Apple Music ‘For you’ section

In the For You section, you find tips based on your musical tastes so can discover new music.

Apple Music new
Apple Music ‘New’ section.

There is also a section New, where you will discover newly published numbers. Also included would be playlists created by famous artists and DJs. Apple will ask known artists to introduce you to new music.

Cooperation with Siri

Apple Music works closely with Siri. You can ask Siri to play a particular song. The app instantly searches the track and start playing. You can thereby also ask complicated questions, such as “play the song from the movie Frozen” ‘and’ “what was the most popular song of 2010”.

Listen to songs offline

You can also listen to music offline. All content from Apple Music can be added to a collection. From that collection, you can then re-create a playlist, which can be heard online too.

Apple Music for Android and Windows

Apple Music Windows Android
Windows and Android users can also access Apple Music.

With Apple Music, Apple is for the first time an Android developer. There will be a special Android app available that lets you play your music collection. There was already a Beats Music app for Android, but Apple did not create that. It was a legacy of the acquisition of Beats Music in 2014. Apple Music is also available for Windows computers. That in itself is not so special because there are already existing Windows apps, for example, iTunes and iCloud.

Beats 1

Beats 1 is a completely new radio station broadcasting live 24 hours a day. This is done from three cities: London, New York and Los Angeles. The DJs that Apple has hired run tracks all day, just like a normal radio station. Apple has previously attracted the famous BBC radio man Zane Lowe, who discovered in the past artists like Adele and Arctic Monkeys.

Connect

With Apple Music, as a fan you can also come in contact with bands and artists. Through Connect, artists get their own page where they share messages, photos, videos and audio with fans. As a fan, you can subscribe to a particular page. Everything an artist shares via social media reaches Connect. It looks a bit like iTunes Ping, the social network that Apple created, but that was not successful.

Why does Apple wants its own streaming music service?

The sale of individual songs from iTunes already running back for a number of years. Thanks to services like Spotify and Deezer are people accustomed to stream songs instead of buying it. Apple had no streaming music, and therefore, took over Beats Music in 2014, the music service from Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. A strong point of Music Beats was that you got personal recommendations for new songs.

Apple Music is an updated version of Beats Music, which eventually will undoubtedly disappear. Apple made with it’s music service a good start, though it was not so easy to seal the deals for Apple Music. It would have lasted until the last moment to the agreements with the major record labels Sony, Universal and Warner. Artists are often skeptical of streaming music because they earn relatively little.

Difference Apple Music and other music services

Why would Apple be successful with a new music service while earlier music services like iTunes Radio have not really impressed? Moreover, there are already many existing streaming music service where people are already subscribed to, such as Spotify and Deezer.

Trent Reznor Apple Music.
Trent Reznor will promote Apple Music.

Apple has a mark on a number of points:

  • Not everyone has a subscription to a streaming music service. Apple has a lot of money and can therefore invest a lot of money in promotion and advertising to attract that group of users. Spotify has fewer opportunities to advertise because the service hardly earns anything.
  • Apple has enabled big names to rig this music service, including Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and Trent Reznor (see photo).
  • Apple has millions of credit cards in iTunes. Checkout will be a breeze: you can one-click subscribe because all your payment details are already known to iTunes.
  • Apple wants to enable artists and radio people as guest DJs, to help users discover interesting music. This approach can also be found at Beats Music, which Apple Music is based on.

At the same time, Apple also has some challenges:

  • Apple music service will be less attractive to people who do not have Apple products (although it comes to Windows and Android).
  • Earlier Apple music services such as iTunes Radio were popular, but they have not wiped out the competition.
  • It is questionable whether Apple is not too late. Many people already have a current subscription to Spotify, Deezer or any of the other services. Apple must have a very attractive offer to make change those people.
  • It is debatable whether Apple can be a leader again. With the iPod and iTunes store, Apple became the largest provider. But today features are easier to imitate by competitors, and Apple will have more difficulty to be the greatest again.

All Apple Music features at a glance

Is it necessary to take out a subscription on Apple Music? or do you get enough for free? That can be seen in the chart below. With only an Apple ID you will get free access to Beats 1 and Connect but if want unlimited listening, listen offline or get recommendations, then you will need to subscribe.

Below you can see what features you get when you subscribe to Apple Music.

Feature Signed in with Apple ID Apple Music members
View artist feed on Connect Yes Yes
Follow artists on Connect Yes Yes
Listen to Beats 1 radio station Yes Yes
Listen to Apple Music radio stations Yes (limited skipping) Yes (unlimited skipping)
Play and save Connect content No Yes
Like Connect content or radio songs No Yes
Enjoy unlimited listening from the Apple Music library No Yes
Add Apple Music content to your library No Yes
Save for offline listening No Yes
Get expert music recommendations No Yes