Apple Music, Apple’s music streaming service, has launched for iOS and Mac OS X devices in over 100 countries. Android is next, and Apple anticipates attracting 100 million paying subscribers.
Apple says Apple Music “combines the best ways to enjoy music — all in one place.” It’s a streaming music service, a worldwide live radio station from Apple broadcasting 24 hours a day and a tool for music fans to connect with their favorite artists.
Apple Music combines the largest and most diverse collection of music on the planet with the expertise of world-class music experts who have programmed playlists for your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC, Apple TV and Android phones, according to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. Starting with the music you already know — whether from the iTunes Store or ripped CDs — your music now lives in one place alongside the Apple Music catalog with over 30 million songs, he adds. You can stream any song, album or playlist you choose — or let Apple Music do the work for you.
Curation is the soul of every playlist created on Apple Music, says Cue. Apple has hired the most talented music experts from around the world, dedicated to creating the perfect playlists based on your preferences, and they become better curators the more you listen, he adds. The “For You” section of Apple Music provides a mix of albums, new releases and playlists, which have been personalized just for you.
In addition to human curation, you can also turn to Siri. For example, you can ask the personal digital assistant to “Play me the best songs from 1994,” “Play the best FKA twigs song,” or “What was the number one song in February 2011?”
Beats 1, Apple’s first ever live radio station dedicated entirely to music and music culture, will broadcast live to over 100 countries. It’s a 24-hour listening experience led by DJs Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London. Listeners around the globe will hear the same programming at the same time.
Beats 1 radio station will have shows hosted by Elton John, Dr. Dre, Drake, Pharrell Williams, St. Vincent, and Jaden Smith. It will also feature celebrity interviews, beginning with Eminem on launch week.
The new stations range in genres from indie rock to classical and folk to funk. With membership, you can skip as many songs as you like, so you can change the tune without changing the dial.
Artists and fans now have a way to connect with one another directly in Apple Music with Connect. Through Connect, artists can share lyrics, backstage photos, videos or even release their latest song directly to fans directly from their iPhone. Fans can comment on or like anything an artist has posted, and share it via Messages, Facebook, Twitter and email. When you comment, the artist can respond directly to you.
Music fans around the world are invited to a three-month free membership, after which an US$9.99/month subscription fee will apply. There will also be a family plan providing service for up to six family members available for $14.99/month.
At the end of the trial period, the membership will automatically renew and payment method will be charged on a monthly basis until auto-renewal is turned off in account settings. Family plan requires iCloud Family Sharing. Go here for more information.
Apple has also introduced iOS 8.4 for iPhones, iPads, and iPods. You can upgrade now by going to Settings > General > Software Update. Apple Music comes preinstalled when you upgrade your devices. However, that doesn’t seem to be available yet.
Also, Apple has released a new version of Beats Music for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It adds the ability to migrate from the subscription music service to Apple Music — which replaces it. The migration assistant keeps both playlists and saved music from artists and albums intact when moving to Apple Music.
Finally, Apple has upgrades iBooks as part of iOS 8.4. It adds support for audiobooks to the iPhone and iPad, as well as iBooks Author content support to the iPhone.