Everything you need to know about Apple Music

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited June 2015
After months of rumor and speculation, Apple on Monday unveiled its first foray into paid music streaming with Apple Music. Featuring access to an extensive iTunes-based catalog, human-curated playlists, Beats 1 radio and Connect social networking for artists, the product promises to be one of Apple's biggest releases for 2015.




While working Apple Music builds have not yet been made public, Apple offered an extensive demonstration of what to expect from the Beats Music-infused subscription-based music service onstage at WWDC this week.

Apple breaks down Music into three pillars: streaming tracks, Beats 1 radio and Connect. Separately, each leg can't stand on its own, but together Apple hopes to offer a compelling option to industry giants like Spotify.

Aside from major features, human curation seems to be the hub on which everything is attached, from personal playlists to a live Internet radio station.

Music

In its promotional material, Apple touts access to over 30 million songs, roughly equivalent to Spotify's catalog. With the substantial sway of iTunes, however, Apple might be able to offer content unavailable to competing services. The company is reportedly still in talks to bring on more record labels, but negotiations have been trying for both sides.




With iTunes at its heart, the My Music section combines songs from users' existing collections, including previously purchased iTunes tracks and ripped CDs, alongside offerings from the Apple Music library.

Playlist creation is supported, as are downloads from Apple Music's catalog. According to BuzzFeed News, Apple will allow paying members to download up to 100,000 songs for offline listening. Compared to other services, Apple Music offers a bit more flexibility over tracklists as users are able to rearrange song playback order on the fly.

Apple incorporated an intelligent search engine to parse through this massive library. For example, searches for artists, albums and tracks will return results from both My Music and Apple Music. An integrated discovery feature surfaces trending search terms from other Apple Music users.

Apple of course built in deep support for its Siri virtual assistant. For example, Siri accepts commands for playlist, song and genre playback, and is capable of processing and returning results for highly specific requests like "Play the top charting song of 1990" or "Play the best Aphex Twin song."




Music curation comes to the fore with "For You," a feature previewed onstage at WWDC that offers song suggestions based on user preferences. An amalgamation of human curation and an algorithm-based recommendation engine, For You is a take on a Beats Music song discovery feature.


Discovery interface in Beats Music.


Using a bubble-like interface, listeners select liked and disliked genres and artists to build a personal taste database. The system then weighs preferences based on metadata assigned to artists -- as well as data collected from iTunes purchases and users' personal libraries -- and surfaces appropriate playlists curated by human experts. For You suggestions also include individual songs and albums that can be added to saved playlists.

Preset playlists are also available from a number of sources, including Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, The Grand Ole Opry and more. Apple Music editors also contribute their own playlist picks.

Apple Music continues to refine suggestions in the background by keeping track of songs a user plays, and how often they play them. Results also help inform what tracks show up in the "New Music" section.

Beats 1 radio

Perhaps the most hyped Apple Music feature is Beats 1 radio, a live Internet station set to deliver exclusive content, interviews, guest presenters and more 24 hours a day from Los Angeles, New York and London. Apple went to great lengths to create Beats 1, poaching DJs and producers from around the world to make the project a reality.




Beats 1 is helmed by former BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, a so-called "tastemaker" who was a Grammy nominee for his work on Sam Smith's album In the Lonely Hour. Lowe, to be based out of a special Beats 1 radio headquarters in Los Angeles, will join DJs Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London to present live broadcasts to listeners in more than 100 countries.

Somewhat overshadowed by Beats 1 are "totally overhauled" genre-specific radio stations borrowed from iTunes Radio. Apple has not yet fleshed out radio streaming stipulations, but notes Apple Music subscribers will get unlimited song skips. It is unknown how Apple plans to handle song skipping for free tier users, but restrictions will likely be in line with iTunes Radio.




Apple Music radio stations don't pick songs based on algorithms and metadata, but instead rely on human curation for playlist refinements. The value added feature was one Beats Music's main selling points. Stations can also be seeded from a single song, a feature already available from the likes of Spotify.

Connect

Billed by Apple as a way to directly interact with artists, Connect can in many ways be likened to the erstwhile iTunes Ping service. Connect is a limited social network in which musicians post audio snippets, photos, video, lyrics and other content to "connect" with their audience. Fans can share, comment on and like posts -- and musicians can respond in kind -- but regular users don't have profile pages of their own.




As described by Apple:
Connect is a place where musicians give their fans a closer look at their work, their inspirations, and their world. It's a main line into the heart of music -- great stuff straight from the artists.
For free tier users, Connect acts as a promotional gateway to content, in some cases providing samples of recent releases, upcoming songs and videos accessible with a paid membership.

Availability

Apple Music goes live on June 30 alongside iOS 8.4 and new iTunes software for Macs and PCs. Monthly fees start at $9.99 for single users, while a $14.99 family plan grants access for up to six people. Android availability is coming this fall.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 103
    applezillaapplezilla Posts: 941member



    I wish they would have launched it on Keynote day.

     

    Ready to dump Spotify.

     

    Start with Beats 1, expand from there.

     

    Pretty sure SiriusXM will crash and burn if they expand correctly.

     

    Spotify, Amazon Whatever, etc are dead.

  • Reply 2 of 103
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,155member
    applezilla wrote: »

    I wish they would have launched it on Keynote day.

    Ready to dump Spotify.

    Start with Beats 1, expand from there.

    Pretty sure SiriusXM will crash and burn if they expand correctly.

    Spotify, Amazon Whatever, etc are dead.

    I agree with you about SiriusXM. I had it a long time ago for years but got annoyed by it.

    You really think that Apple Music is going to be the one and only streaming service? That there are not going to be others that compete? I certainly don't want that to happen at all. Having only Apple Music would be horrible long term wise.
  • Reply 3 of 103
    freediverxfreediverx Posts: 1,408member

    I'm still not seeing anything to replace Beats Music's Curator Playlists.

     

    Connect is irrelevant, as nobody cares about this besides Apple and recording artists.

     

    For You sounds exactly the same thing as Beats' "Just For You" screen.  In my experience, that feature didn't do all that great at recommending music, focusing way too much on older music and bigger hits while seemingly ignoring the songs I actually favorited and played most often, most recently. More importantly, this feature failed to help me discover any new music.

     

    That leaves Beats 1, which sounds like it's going to be a mish-mash of different genres and tempos. While this may offer an opportunity to discover new music, it will likely be a passive radio listening experience with no way to filter out what you don't like. I don't have the patience to sit through 20 generic "pop" or "R&B" tracks in the hopes of hearing one good indie or house song I like. Incidentally, I certainly hope the DJs for Beats 1 weren't responsible for selecting the music that played before and during the WWDC keynote. If that's what we can expect from their radio service, it will be even worse than I expected.

     

    Pretty sure I'm going to have to switch back to Spotify.

  • Reply 4 of 103
    starbird73starbird73 Posts: 538member
    Quote (emphasis mine):

    Somewhat overshadowed by Beats 1 are "totally overhauled" genre-specific radio stations borrowed from iTunes Radio. Apple has not yet fleshed out radio streaming stipulations, but notes Apple Music subscribers will get unlimited song skips, akin to iTunes Match. It is unknown how Apple plans to handle song skipping for free tier users, but restrictions will likely be in line with iTunes Radio.

     

    iTunes Match subscribers get ad-free, but still the same 6 skip limit per station/per hour.

  • Reply 5 of 103
    freediverxfreediverx Posts: 1,408member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post

     

     

    iTunes Match subscribers get ad-free, but still the same 6 skip limit per station/per hour.




    According to Apple's website, Apple Music members will have unlimited skipping for radio stations.

  • Reply 6 of 103
    dybmapidybmapi Posts: 6member
    How about a list of countries where it will be available?
  • Reply 7 of 103
    starbird73starbird73 Posts: 538member



    Understood. The author was saying unlimited like iTunes Match subscribers have today, but that is inaccurate. We do not have unlimited skipping.

  • Reply 8 of 103
    ecatsecats Posts: 272member
    I'm curious what happens to iTunes Match, since Match is a music product, but not really related to the streaming offer. (Other than Match removing ads from iTunes radio.)
  • Reply 9 of 103

    I am surprised that Apple Insider of all places did not listen to what was being said and realize what Apple launched at the WWDC keynote.

     

    It wasn't a streaming service competitor.

     

    It was a competitor to the Labels.

     

    The target audience being spoken to were the musicians, not music buyers. Specifically if you listen they constantly spoke about the independents, new artists, being discovered, even promoted the small and Drake spoke about how he became big via some "different way" (direct). Jimmy also said why Apple bought Beats, not for the brand, not for their streaming service, but for this idea that was pitched, which was this "new way" for the industry, for artists. They even reframed "being discovered" which used to mean being picked up by a Label.

     


    • Make your music in your room using Apple devices.

    • Publish your music through Apple Music easily and available on every device.

    • Get discovered by potential fans through their algorithmic choices

    • Sell your music easily

    • Get played in 100 countries on our global radio station. Beats "One" will be first of many

    • Get paid by Apple Music and get a bigger cut than if you were with a label

    • Keep your audience engaged and ready to buy your next track, album or concert

    • Stay independent and own your own relationship with your audience.

     

    Old music is all tied up by Labels, they control it and have devalued it to being a commodity because to them it is coins by volume sales. Which doesn't work for Artists, but that doesn't effect the labels.

     

    Really who cares if you have The Beatles or even Taylor Swift. They are the past.

     

    You see - the biggest market for listening to and purchasing music is what is yet to come, both in terms of buyers and artists. The next artists are going to come up through a different method, on a different platform and work with a different label.

     

    Apple won't need exclusives and to cut deals. Artists coming up now will already be in a deep relationship with Apple.

     

    Apple Music

  • Reply 10 of 103
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    freediverx wrote: »
    I'm still not seeing anything to replace Beats Music's Curator Playlists.

    Connect is irrelevant, as nobody cares about this besides Apple and recording artists.

    For You sounds exactly the same thing as Beats' "Just For You" screen.  In my experience, that feature didn't do all that great at recommending music, focusing way too much on older music and bigger hits while seemingly ignoring the songs I actually favorited and played most often, most recently. More importantly, this feature failed to help me discover any new music.

    That leaves Beats 1, which sounds like it's going to be a mish-mash of different genres and tempos. While this may offer an opportunity to discover new music, it will likely be a passive radio listening experience with no way to filter out what you don't like. I don't have the patience to sit through 20 generic "pop" or "R&B" tracks in the hopes of hearing one good indie or house song I like. Incidentally, I certainly hope the DJs for Beats 1 weren't responsible for selecting the music that played before and during the WWDC keynote. If that's what we can expect from their radio service<span style="line-height:1.4em;">, it will be even worse than I expected.</span>


    Pretty sure I'm going to have to switch back to Spotify.

    I would say expect Beats 1 to be a mash of BBC Radio One 1Xtra and Radio 6.
  • Reply 11 of 103
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    I am surprised that Apple Insider of all places did not listen to what was being said and realize what Apple launched at the WWDC keynote.

    It wasn't a streaming service competitor.

    It was a competitor to the Labels.

    The target audience being spoken to were the musicians, not music buyers. Specifically if you listen they constantly spoke about the independents, new artists, being discovered, even promoted the small and Drake spoke about how he became big via some "different way" (direct). Jimmy also said why Apple bought Beats, not for the brand, not for their streaming service, but for this idea that was pitched, which was this "new way" for the industry, for artists. They even reframed "being discovered" which used to mean being picked up by a Label.
    • Make your music in your room using Apple devices.
    • Publish your music through Apple Music easily and available on every device.
    • Get discovered by potential fans through their algorithmic choices
    • Sell your music easily
    • Get played in 100 countries on our global radio station. Beats "One" will be first of many
    • Get paid by Apple Music and get a bigger cut than if you were with a label
    • Keep your audience engaged and ready to buy your next track, album or concert
    • Stay independent and own your own relationship with your audience.

    Old music is all tied up by Labels, they control it and have devalued it to being a commodity because to them it is coins by volume sales. Which doesn't work for Artists, but that doesn't effect the labels.

    Really who cares if you have The Beatles or even Taylor Swift. They are the past.

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">You see - the biggest market for listening to and purchasing music is what is yet to come, both in terms of buyers and artists. The next artists are going to come up through a different method, on a different platform and work with a different label.</span>


    Apple won't need exclusives and to cut deals. Artists coming up now will already be in a deep relationship with Apple.

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">Apple Music</span>

    So Apple is becoming a music publisher? If that's the case it wasn't clear AT ALL based on the keynote presentation. Of course that portion of the keynote was a muddled mess. It's pretty bad when even Jim Dalrymple says Apple should never put Jimmy Iovine on stage again.
  • Reply 12 of 103
    slprescottslprescott Posts: 753member
    The target audience being spoken to were the musicians, not music buyers.

    Thanks for this important insight.

    So just as the App Store provided a new way for small/independent DEVELOPERS to find an audience, Apple Music aims to create the same opportunity for the large number of small/independent MUSICIANS who struggle to rise above the noise in today's music industry,

    Yes... that's interesting.
  • Reply 13 of 103
    After months of rumor and speculation, Apple on Monday unveiled its first foray into paid music streaming with Apple Music.

    Then what the hell have I been listening to for a year called Apple Radio??!!

    Whatever it was, was a very persistent hallucination ...
  • Reply 14 of 103
    I am surprised that Apple Insider of all places did not listen to what was being said and realize what Apple launched at the WWDC keynote.

    It wasn't a streaming service competitor.

    It was a competitor to the Labels.

    I believe you're right...! It was a new way to get new music out to the public. I really most people heard what they expected it was to be. We do have a tendency to morf what we hear to be what fits with what we know... We will soon find out what Apple has going on, the 30th is only 20 days away.
  • Reply 15 of 103
    jason98jason98 Posts: 764member

    It wasn't a streaming service competitor.

    It was a competitor to the Labels.

    And who prevented Apple from doing this back in old downloadable iTunes times?
    What does it have to do with beats, shmits, or streaming?
  • Reply 16 of 103
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    I am surprised that Apple Insider of all places did not listen to what was being said and realize what Apple launched at the WWDC keynote.

    It wasn't a streaming service competitor.

    It was a competitor to the Labels.

    The target audience being spoken to were the musicians, not music buyers. Specifically if you listen they constantly spoke about the independents, new artists, being discovered, even promoted the small and Drake spoke about how he became big via some "different way" (direct). Jimmy also said why Apple bought Beats, not for the brand, not for their streaming service, but for this idea that was pitched, which was this "new way" for the industry, for artists. They even reframed "being discovered" which used to mean being picked up by a Label.
    • Make your music in your room using Apple devices.
    • Publish your music through Apple Music easily and available on every device.
    • Get discovered by potential fans through their algorithmic choices
    • Sell your music easily
    • Get played in 100 countries on our global radio station. Beats "One" will be first of many
    • Get paid by Apple Music and get a bigger cut than if you were with a label
    • Keep your audience engaged and ready to buy your next track, album or concert
    • Stay independent and own your own relationship with your audience.

    Old music is all tied up by Labels, they control it and have devalued it to being a commodity because to them it is coins by volume sales. Which doesn't work for Artists, but that doesn't effect the labels.

    Really who cares if you have The Beatles or even Taylor Swift. They are the past.

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">You see - the biggest market for listening to and purchasing music is what is yet to come, both in terms of buyers and artists. The next artists are going to come up through a different method, on a different platform and work with a different label.</span>


    Apple won't need exclusives and to cut deals. Artists coming up now will already be in a deep relationship with Apple.

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">Apple Music</span>

    YES!! That's what I understood too.

    Except I tried signing up as an independent artists and I couldn't because I don't have a manager/record label.

    Weird. I'm guessing this part of the service will be addressed later???
  • Reply 17 of 103
    jason98 wrote: »
    And who prevented Apple from doing this back in old downloadable iTunes times?
    What does it have to do with beats, shmits, or streaming?

    Jimmy Iovine said it on stage in the preamble, it was his idea. That is why Apple bought Beats, not for the headphones or the streaming license or the personalised playlists - none of which are worth 3 billion dollars.

    Apple bought the idea and the music industry brain trust to deliver it, not a store or a device but the music industry reinvented. He pretty much out and says it while carefully choosing his words.

    Think of the AppStore, it isn't just a shop that sells apps, like iTunes is a shop that sells music.

    I can even foresee Apple is going to have a WWDC type event annually for musicians. Not just the iTunes festival, I mean a peer event with workshops on how to market yourself and use the tools including development tools such as Logic and Garage with keynotes on what is next for their industry and how they are adding features to make it better. there will be awards, but for the best album and stuff, highlighting new artists with scholarships for student talent to hobnob and learn.

    the moment of truth will come in a few years when a Grammy is given to an unsigned artist who is on Apple Music and they get up on stage and thank Apple.

    the next thing will be that the Apple Music Awards will be more watched than the Grammy's

    Jimmy, Trent and Dre aren't talking swag about a spotify competitor, or a record shop competitor - like they care about that level. They are talking about a music industry competitor.
  • Reply 18 of 103
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by freediverx View Post

     

    Connect is irrelevant, as nobody cares about this besides Apple and recording artists.


    This attitude is hilariously out of touch. You aren't familiar with Taylor Swift, are you?

  • Reply 19 of 103
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

     

    I am surprised that Apple Insider of all places did not listen to what was being said and realize what Apple launched at the WWDC keynote.

     

    It wasn't a streaming service competitor.

     

    It was a competitor to the Labels.

     

    The target audience being spoken to were the musicians, not music buyers. Specifically if you listen they constantly spoke about the independents, new artists, being discovered, even promoted the small and Drake spoke about how he became big via some "different way" (direct). Jimmy also said why Apple bought Beats, not for the brand, not for their streaming service, but for this idea that was pitched, which was this "new way" for the industry, for artists. They even reframed "being discovered" which used to mean being picked up by a Label.

     


    • Make your music in your room using Apple devices.

    • Publish your music through Apple Music easily and available on every device.

    • Get discovered by potential fans through their algorithmic choices

    • Sell your music easily

    • Get played in 100 countries on our global radio station. Beats "One" will be first of many

    • Get paid by Apple Music and get a bigger cut than if you were with a label

    • Keep your audience engaged and ready to buy your next track, album or concert

    • Stay independent and own your own relationship with your audience.

     

    Old music is all tied up by Labels, they control it and have devalued it to being a commodity because to them it is coins by volume sales. Which doesn't work for Artists, but that doesn't effect the labels.

     

    Really who cares if you have The Beatles or even Taylor Swift. They are the past.

     

    You see - the biggest market for listening to and purchasing music is what is yet to come, both in terms of buyers and artists. The next artists are going to come up through a different method, on a different platform and work with a different label.

     

    Apple won't need exclusives and to cut deals. Artists coming up now will already be in a deep relationship with Apple.

     

    Apple Music




    "Really who cares if you have The Beatles or even Taylor Swift. They are the past."

    Just such a stupid and immature thing to say.

     

    You probably think "The Hunger Games" is cool.

    (Oops, you probably don't use the word "cool", do you Fonzie?)

  • Reply 20 of 103
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    This attitude is hilariously out of touch. You aren't familiar with Taylor Swift, are you?

    Yeah that was crazy!!

    I'm super stoked about Connect!!
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