Apple Music – a sure sign that Apple is quickly catching up with the music streaming game.
Early this morning, Apple announced the launch of “Apple Music” at this year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC). If you paid any attention to the #WWDC15 hashtag, you’d see a slew of Apple announcements. Some outstanding, some not so much, but this one is definitely relevant for all you music streaming fans.
And it’s not surprising, since the company did revolutionise digital music (read: iPod, iTunes) after all.
During #WWDC15, Apple CEO Tim cook said:
We’ve had a long relationship with music. And music has had a rich history of change, some of which we’ve played a part in.
The Apple Music service will bring combine music downloads, streaming radio, and a streaming music service into a single app. Like most digital services, it promises to learn your tastes and recommend great new songs accordingly.
As for the price, well..
The service will cost USD9.99 a month, or USD14.99 for a family plan of up to six individuals, with a 3-month free trial. In order to use the family plan, you’ll need to have iCloud Family Sharing active.
To put the price point into perspective:
- Spotify – Offers first 3 months of their premium subscription for USD0.99 and USD9.99 per month after, as well as a 2-person subscription package for USD14.99. Also, let’s not forget that Spotify has an ad-supported free option which Apple Music doesn’t.
- TIDAL – Jay-Z newly-launched high fidelity streaming service has 2 paid subscription options. USD19.99 a month for high-fidelity audio and USD9.99 for standard quality audio.
Of course, the 30 million tracks on Apple Music are also going to be found on Spotify but the one thing that Apple Music has is their Beats 1 radio station, which will be hosted by ex-BBC DJ Zane Lowe among other big name sign-ups. The station will be available in 100 countries and it’s going to be playing tunes around the clock, anchored by 3 DJs: Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga.
On top of that, the company has rebuilt iTunes Radio and reportedly staffed it with big-name artists like Dr. Dre, will.i.am, Pharrell, and Drake acting as DJs.
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In fact, as seen in the Instagram post above, Drake was present at #WWDC15, where he took the stage to talk about Apple Music and called it “a movement”. He also showed off a feature called “Connect”, which allows artistes upload music, photos, and messages which are then shared with their fans. It’s basically a blog fans can subscribe to, then comment and like individual posts.
The next question is, will users be able to listen to music offline? Yes, like Spotify, paid Apple Music users will be able to download albums and playlists to play offline. Free users, on the other hand, will only be able to listen to Apple Music radio stations with limited skipping.
And then there’s this really cool integration – Siri. The Apple Music app works with Apple’s voice-controlled virtual assistant, allowing subscribers to ask it to play a song from a movie soundtrack or year without needing to know the track’s name. Like for example, you can command it to play the Lana Del Rey song from “The Great Gatsby“:
But we digress.
The one thing that Apple did not address, however, is the music streaming quality. Which is not good considering the fact that most music fans are extremely conscious when it comes to the way their music sounds.
For example, we know that Spotify goes up to 320kbit/s with its Extreme Quality stream while TIDAL offers CD quality streaming using the “Free Lossless Audio Codec” or FLAC. TIDAL’s specs claim that you’ll get the full CD sampling rate of 44 kHz, 16bit and at a bitrate of 1411kbps with TIDAL.
Oh, and one more thing.
The Android version of Apple Music will be out in fall (read: before the year ends).
So, who wants to give this paid service a try? Apple Music will be made available in more than 100 countries starting 30th June