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Apple Announces Apple Music Service

In a rambling introduction during the Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue announced the company’s long-anticipated Apple Music streaming service, born from what is currently known as Beats Music (see “FunBITS: What Sets Beats Music Apart,” 16 May 2014), which Apple acquired last year (see “Apple Buys Beats for $3 Billion,” 28 May 2014).

The service will launch on 30 June 2015 and will cost $9.99 per month for individual plans and $14.99 per month for family plans that support up to six family members (all six members must belong to the same Family Sharing circle). To introduce the service, Apple is offering new users a three-month free trial. Apple Music will be built into the Music app of the upcoming iOS 8.4, watchOS, and a new version of iTunes on the Mac and PC. Support for Apple TV and Android smartphones will arrive later this year.

Apple Music has three components:

  • Music: Apple Music will combine the music you already own with tens of millions of streaming tracks, though Apple is being cagey on the exact number. Like Beats Music, Apple Music will make recommendations based on your tastes and provide a number of human-curated playlists. You will also be able to save tracks for offline listening.

    If you’re a Beats Music subscriber, you can transfer your subscription on 30 June 2015 by launching Beats Music and following the prompt to join Apple Music.

    iTunes Match is “independent but complementary,” so that service will still be available for those who want it. However, it appears that Apple Music will duplicate much of iTunes Match’s functionality by putting your music collection in the cloud.

  • Radio: Alongside Apple Music, Apple is launching the Beats 1 live radio station, broadcasting 24/7 to over 100 countries from studios in Los Angeles, New York, and London, with renowned disc jockeys Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga.

  • Connect: Ping is back from the dead (see “iTunes 10.0.1 Integrates Ping,” 27 September 2010)! Artists on Apple Music will have their own Connect pages, where they can share content with followers. Apple says that it won’t just be big names — every artist will be able to connect with fans via Apple Music.

Even if you don’t pay for a membership, you will be able to follow artists on Connect, listen to Beats 1, and listen to Apple Music stations with limited song skipping.

Despite the lengthy demo during WWDC (which prompted Merlin Mann to quip on Twitter, “This is like being on a very long plane ride with a retiree who just bought his first iPod.”), it was hard to figure out just how people will really interact with Apple Music. We’re looking forward to getting our hands on it at the end of the month and comparing it to services like Spotify and Rdio.


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Comments about Apple Announces Apple Music Service
(Comments are closed.)

Dennis B. Swaney  2015-06-09 13:02
Meh. Not for me.

And once again, Apple slights our northern neighbors who ARE interested in this. Why is OZ there instead?

I wasn't sure where to place this comment, but it seems this could be related. The resounding silence on a new TV leads me to believe it is dead. Apple reduced the price back in March which is only done when either a replacement is imminent or the product is discontinued. Since there wasn't a replacement and the the next event is in September, the reduction must have been due to discontinuation since I can't see "imminent" as meaning "6 -7 months from now".
Josh Centers  2015-06-09 13:32
The Apple TV isn't dead, or Apple wouldn't have bothered putting AirPlay support in the new version of Safari. My understanding is that content agreements have been delayed, so I guess they decided to also delay the new hardware.
mark_paul  2015-06-09 13:26
Not for me either, as far as I can tell. What's the stream resolution? Is it grainy & fuzzy, like Spotify, which nonetheless probably has the widest & broadest library? Or is it like Tidal, which claims CD-quality (not yet verified)? And there's even higher resolution streaming technology coming on line.

Don't know those "renowned" DJs. I assume they're entirely from the world of pop, rap, electronica, etc.

The irony is that while Apple has become a giant in music distribution, they've never missed an opportunity to dumb down music and degrade the reproduction quality. This, despite the fact, that Steve Jobs owned some very good playback equipment — there's a pic of him in the Isaacson book with a pair of excellent, near state-of-the-art speakers in a room devoid of furniture. He also reportedly avoided CDs in favor of vinyl as much as possible.

I could put together a non-technical article on how to use a Mac as an excellent music source. Let me know.
Josh Centers  2015-06-09 13:37
No idea about resolution. Apple isn't saying. I would guess that it'll be equivalent to Beats Music, which is pretty good, but not lossless.

I don't really know who those DJs are either, but I know enough to know that they're rather famous for what they do. It was huge news when Zane Lowe left the BBC for Apple a while back.

I like vinyl, and I've even purchased some CDs lately, but they're different experiences. Streaming and iTunes are great for when I'm at my desk, while vinyl is much more of a focused experience.
John Winn  2015-06-12 22:48
Apple Music is a non-starter. Just read it will not support streaming to Sonos. Every other music service does this, even Beats. Will stick with Pandora and Rhapsody.
mark_paul  2015-06-14 00:53
I'm not surprised about the failure to support Sonos. That would be the system in the house for grown-ups. Apple Music is for kids who will stream to their phones and listen with Apple's stock 'buds.

It won't compete with Spotify, Pandora or Rhapsody for library size, nor with Tidal for sound quality. I've read, however, that it will have a significant social media feature. So pre-pubescent girls can get the sense that the star of the current boy band is directly communicating with her. That's OK by me: nothing says Apple needs to do anything more than what it does for me now—provide a transport to deliver the digital data to my outboard DAC and host the music player software that bumps up the music file resolution to 24/192 from the 16/44.1 standard.

Sometimes Apple is a luxury brand, sometimes it's downmarket.
Anonymous  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2015-07-06 19:27
Is it possible to download the improvements and fixes without Apple music? I don't want to use up memory on something I'll never use.