We've been waiting forever for Apple Music: A real streaming music product straight from the heart of Cupertino. Will it work? Or is this just the latest crap.
Apple's new music offering is a whole year in the making. The original Beats music product was announced back in January 2014, and spite being pretty darn impressive, it failed to garner more than fleeting attention. When Apple acquired Beats for $US3 billion, it was clear that the acquisition was just as much about the Beats streaming service plus Dre and Jimmy Iovine as it was about the company's profitable headphones. After a full year of rejiggering the service and negotiating new contracts, it's not finally ready for primetime. Now, the company that revolutionised digital music with $US.99 downloads is finally, finally getting into the streaming game.
Drake! Drake! It's fucking Drake!
In service of the announcement, Apple trotted out its newly hired gun, record executive Jimmy Iovine, not to mention a host of top artists, like Trent Reznor, and FREAKING DRAKE! According to Iovine's pitch, Apple Music is three main things: A "revolutionary music service" (lol), 24/7 radio, "connecting fans with artists."
This is all a bunch of big talk, and it least initially, it doesn't look too much different from what we got from iTunes before. But little by little, Apple Music starts to reveal itself to you. The "My Music" interface shows you two columns: the stuff you have added to your library already as well as a playlists section which includes playlists you've created for yourself, as well as stuff curated by Apple's people. When you're listening to music, you can listen to the stuff in your own library, as well as press "All" to view what else is out there under the same artist or genre.
Next up, is the radio bit. Apple is calling its world-wide 24-hour radio "Beats One," which is run by famous music DJ guy Zane Lowe. It comes to you love from NYC, LA, and London. Which doesn't sound quite as global as they're implying, but let's see where they go with it down the line.
Finally, comes Apples problem to "Connect" which is basically a way for you to follow your favourite artists on Facebook and Twitter as well as through the app itself. This last bit sounds a bit like Apple's previous social music failure, Ping.
Apple Music doesn't appear to have a free subscription, although starting June 30th, everyone will be offered a free three month subscription. Like everything other service out there, the premium subscription price will be $US10 per month. There's also a $US15 per month family plan for up to 6 family members -- which is a pretty sweet deal, depending on how exactly its metered.
Apple Music is definitely a solid improvement over everything that Apple's offered Apple before. But it stands to be seen if there's really enough here to really set Apple Music apart from the well-established Spotify.
It's launching in over 100 countries at the end of the month, and there's an Android version coming as well to try and convert the masses on the cross-platform world.