Apple Music Explained
At WWDC15, we saw some great new announcements including some great updates to iOS that brought in new spotlight features, split-screen apps on iPad, a new keyboard, a more intelligent Siri and much more. We also saw an update to OSX bringing it to 10.11 ‘El Capitan’ and bringing with it split-screen windows too, performance improvements, safari improvements and more natural language search. Finally, we saw an update to watchOS bringing it to no.1 that brought with it native apps, showcasing more allowances for developers, faster application load times and some new apps.
However, something that was rumoured and blew a lot of people away was the introduction of Apple Music. Most expected Apple Music to be a really simple copy of Spotify that would utilise iTunes’ large library and allow you to stream it to your iOS devices. What we got though, was far more than that and some great surprises. Therefore, we have decided to try and explain Apple Music to you, taking you through the features and what it means for Apple, for music streaming and for music artists.
In it’s most simplest form, Apple Music is a clone of iTunes that allows you to stream the songs we all know and love. You can select from an enormous library of songs and stream to your iOS device, Mac, Windows or Android phone. You can save songs to playlists and save songs for offline listening which is something we are all used to with the likes of Google Music All Access and Spotify and the likes.
You can also then get recommendations based on your listens and the playlists that you’ve curated. You’ll also be asked, when you first select the “For You” page to choose a few artist and a genres that interest you so it can recommend new artists, songs and playlists for you to listen to. Something we’ve also seen from other services but we are sure will feel very personalised on Apple Music.
Beats 1 is the new radio station from Apple and from Beats featuring some of the biggest DJs in the world. Beats 1 is streamed 24/7 with famous DJs such as Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga. It’s going to be streamed around the world to many different countries, allowing users to experience the service wherever they go.
Beats 1 will feature music, interviews, guest-hosts, news, and culture from all walks of music. It’s going to be quite the experience and is going to be gunning for the likes of Radio 1, Kiss and Capital some of the biggest radio stations in the world for new and emerging music.
What differs Apple Music from most other music services and streaming services out there is that it wants to bring the artists closer to their fans than ever. With this idea in mind, Apple Music has something called Connect. Connect is essentially the go-to place to follow your favourite artists and see what they are up to. Here you will find behind the scenes videos, lyrics, quotes, messages and these can even then be shared to Twitter, iMessages, Facebook and other sites.
Connect takes away from having to go to Twitter to see what your favourite artists is going to jumping to Instagram to view their best photos to jumping to Facebook to see their upcoming tour dates. The idea of Connect, in Apple’s mind, is that this will be the go-to place for true music fans who have a real passion in the artist they follow. How many people want to follow their favourite artists that closely, we are yet to know, but we are sure people will use it, and we are even more sure artist will use it (because Apple will pay them to.)
Another thing that Apple ousted as a great feature of their new Apple Music is the ability to watch 10s of thousands of music videos from some of the biggest artists in the world without any ads (we’d hope not having paid for the service).
This is a move that looks to take on the likes of Vevo and YouTube who currently are the two best places to watch Music Videos. However, we are surely likely to see Apple and Vevo work together to get the videos on their platforms working well together. However, the ability to hear your own music, stream new music and watch music videos in one place may rid the need for that naughty YouTube-to-mp3 converter you’ve got installed on your phone or computer.
When and How Much?
Apple Music will be available June 30 in over 100 countries with iOS 8.4 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It will cost $9.99 a month or you can get a family plan which allows up to 6 people to listen to the same stream and be logged into the same account for only $14.99. Not only does this mean we’ll have Apple Music in our hands in a very short time but the price is competitive and the family bundle is very competitive. Spotify quickly announced the same plan right after Apple Music’s WWDC15 conference which is in no way a coincidence.
Even if you aren’t paying the $9.99 a month for Apple Music’s streaming service you can still use the app to listen to Beats 1 and obviously store your music (as it will replace the music app on your phone.) You can also still follow your favourite artists via the Connect feature.