As expected, Apple on Monday launched Apple Music, a streaming service that will go up against the likes of Spotify and Tidal.
Apple Music will debut with iOS 8.4 on June 30, and will arrive on Apple TV and Android phones in the fall. It will cost $9.99 per month, though Apple is also offering a family option for $14.99 per month, which supports up to six people. To entice new users, the first three months will be free, though you do have to sign up.
In addition to streaming of all the music available on iTunes, Apple Music will have a 24-hour, live radio station known as Beats 1 with interviews, news, and more from hosts in Los Angeles (Zane Lowe), London (Julie Adenuga), and New York (Ebro Darden), which will stream to 100 countries. If you don’t like what they’re playing, iTunes Radio is now Apple Music Radio, which will feature stations curated by DJs based on genre. Subscribers can skip as many songs as they want.
During a keynote at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple tried to distinguish itself from Spotify, by criticizing algorithm-based music recommendations and arguing that Apple Music will have opportunities for emerging artists to make their mark.
To that end, unsigned artists will be able to add their songs to Apple Music, the company said. Apple has also hired “music experts” to create playlists based on your preferences, which will be compiled in a “For You” section of Apple Music. When you first sign on, Apple will ask you to identify your favorite genres and artists, which will also be used to serve up the tunes Cupertino believes you will most enjoy.
After a failed effort to combine music and social with Ping, meanwhile, Apple is trying again with Connect, where artists can post music, photos, and more. That includes Drake who appeared onstage to discuss the power of tech and music. Fans can like or comment and share to other social networks like Twitter and Facebook.
Siri will also work with Apple Music. Ask her to fetch specific songs, or ask for things like “the best songs from 1994” or “the number one song in February 2011.”
Not surprisingly, Apple described Apple Music as “revolutionary,” which elicited a few chuckles from the WWDC audience. Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine appeared onstage to argue that the “music industry is a fragmented mess.” You stream music on Spotify, watch videos on Vevo, and follow artists on social media. With Apple Music, he said, you do everything in one place, though you might argue that Spotify and even Tidal support similar features, save for the live radio station.
“We love music, and the new Apple Music service puts an incredible experience at every fan’s fingertips,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.