Apple Music (like the competition) will be on Mobile, Tablet and Desktop. This also marks the first time an Apple app will be available on Android, which is a pretty big deal. (NOTE: People need to be running the upcoming iOS 8.4 to get access to Apple Music. So if you’re on an older device that won’t get iOS 8, or you haven’t updated, then you won’t be able to get Apple Music. This is something that people need to know. On PC / Mac, you’ll need to have the latest version of iTunes to access Apple Music.
Apple Music is Apples music streaming service that launches in over 100 countries on 30th June. It is not a streaming iTunes. By that I mean, not all tracks / albums available currently on iTunes will be available on Apple Music. Music labels have different agreements in places for streaming music vs. owning / downloading.
- There will be 3 tiers to Apple Music.
- Free – you’ll be able to listen to ‘Beats 1’, Apples 24/7 radio station that is anchored by Zane Lowe. You won’t have a choice in what you listen to, as it’s basically a radio station and the DJ decides. There will also be access to Apple Music curated playlists with a limited ability to skip Tracks
- 9.99 US Dollars (Ireland pricing hasn’t been confirmed, but it will probably line up with the other services out there, so 9.99euro per month is likely. This tier has unlimited access to the entire Apple Music library and unlimited track skipping as well. You’ll also get ‘expert’ recommendations and the ability to save tracks for offline listening
- 14.99 US Dollars – Family Plan. allows up to 5 family members (or friends) access to Apple Music and the ability to stream tracks simultaneously and keep profiles separate. This is a great plan at a great price if it comes in at the 15euro mark here in Ireland. Apple is also giving the first 3 months free for users to try.
- Spotify offer 3 tiers as well – 9.99 for all the music with no adds and access on Desktop, Tablet and Mobile. €4.99 for desktop and tablet only. Finally the ‘Free’ mobile tier. You get ad’s throughout and it randomly shuffles tracks and you can only chose an artist or playlist to play. Spotify also offer 50% off the cost of a second subscription for a family member.
- Google Play Music Unlimited offers one tier at €9.99 a month for unlimited access to all their tracks.
- Tidal has 2 offerings. A €9.99 tier with unlimited streaming and €19.99 for their lossless version with the same music catalogue.
Speaking of catalogues, Apple Music will have an estimated 35million tracks and Spotify / Google Play Music have a similar number. Tidal is behind here with an estimated 25million tracks. Each provider will have their exclusives (e.g. Taylor Swift left Spotify and she’s currently on iTunes, so it’s expected she will be on Apple Music), and it’s expected that Apple will get a lot of exclusives in the future.
- Unique Apple Music features include ‘Connect’. it’s a way for artists to publish content directly to their fans on Apple Music. Apple have already announced artists such as Pharrell Williams and Bastille are going to be on Connect. Up and Coming artists will also be able to keep fans up to date with Connect.
- Spotify unique features are more social. You can see what your friends are listening to, share playlists. Spotify also recently stated they are going to bring video and podcasts to their platform. This is where Apple will struggle to move users. I know so many people with Spotify playlists they don’t want to loose, so Apple should really come up with someway to allow users to port their playlists over to Apple Music.
- Google Play Music gives user the ability to upload their own music (either music they recorded them selves, or CDs / music content not available on Play Music). People can upload 50,000 tracks for free. As a Play Music subscriber you also get access to Youtube Music Key, which is a music focused, ad free Youtube and it’s pretty awesome. On mobile you can listen to music in the background (i.e. start music on youtube, put the phone in your pocket / bag and keep listening to the music). Artists generally post their newest stuff to youtube so you get access to new tracks, sooner this way.
Something people will need to keep an eye on using these services is their Data allowances with their Mobile providers. 5gb can seem like a lot, but streaming high quality music uses data, and if you like listening to music, like I do, then it’s easy to go over this allowance (when you include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email data as well). Also, if you’re going on holiday, make sure that you save a few albums of ‘offline’ playback so that you can listen to stuff on the plane / boat and if there’s no constant wifi / internet connection at your destination at least there’ll be some sort of music to listen to.