After unveiling Apple Music at WWDC 2015, the streaming service has finally arrived. Here's what you need to know about Apple Music, including its features, price and how to get it on your iPhone or iPad.
"Apple Music is a revolutionary streaming music service, a pioneering worldwide live radio station from Apple broadcasting 24 hours a day and a great new way for music fans to connect with their favourite artists," says Apple.
"Apple Music is really going to move the needle for fans and artists," said Iovine in Apple's press release. "Online music has become a complicated mess of apps, services and websites. Apple music brings the best features together for an experience every music lover will appreciate."
Read on to find out more.
Apple Music release date: When is Apple Music be available in the UK?
Apple Music has arrived in 100 countries, packaged with Apple's iOS 8.4 update for iPad and iPhone. There's also a new version of iTunes (iTunes 12.2) for Mac and Windows, and even an Android app for Apple Music, which isn't coming until this autumn. It'll also be available on Apple TV later this year (note that no new Apple TV was announced at WWDC, boo! Here are the Apple TV release date rumours).
The update was released slightly earlier than expected, just before 4pm BST. Beats 1 Radio kicked off at 5pm.
So far, the reception has been a mixture of confusion and praise. Once you've figured out how to use it, Apple Music is great, but there's A LOT going on in one app and it's particularly daunting if you're using one of Apple's 4in iPhones.
Beats 1 Radio did experience some technical difficulties, though, with an outage that meant many users were unable to access the station for around 30 minutes.
Plus, we now know that Apple Music is missing some important artists that are not yet ready to commit to Apple Music. The Beatles, for example, are notably absent, as is Prince.
Apple Music price: How much does Apple Music cost in the UK?
There is no ad-fuelled free-tier option unlike Spotify, but Apple will instead provide a three month free trial, after which you’ll have to pay £9.99 a month to use the full streaming service (some limited options will be available for free).
There's also an interesting Apple Music family plan, which is £14.99 per month and lets 6 family members have their own Apple Music account. The only downside is that it can only be used with an iTunes Family Sharing account, which some users shy away from due to "accidental" purchases by other family members.
When you first launch Apple Music, you'll have to choose which susbcription model you want to start your free trial. You'll see a popup that reads "Confirmation Required. Do you still want to buy Individual Apple Music Membership for £9.99?"
We think this is a bit misleading, but you will not be charged for the first three months and you can cancel your subscription at any time. You'll get an email confirming that you've started your three month's free trial and that you will not be charged until it is over. You can turn off auto-renewal to make sure you do not get charged by clicking Manage Subscriptions at the bottom of that article and turing Automatic Renewal to off.
Apple Music release date: How to get Apple Music and iOS 8.4 on iPad or iPhone
It's a fairly straight forward process to download and install iOS 8.4 and gain access to Apple's new music streaming service.
To update the software directly on your iOS device, simply head to the Settings App -> General -> Software Update and tap "Download and install". It's important to free up some space prior to updating as some update files can be quite large, and as well as this, you'll also need to have either (at least) 50% battery left on your device, or you'll have to plug it in for the duration of the install. It's also worth making sure that you've backed up your device in case something goes wrong.
Apple Music release date: How to get Apple Music on your Mac or PC
Apple Music is also available on your Mac, via the iTunes 12.2 update. To get it, open the Mac App Store, and then click Updates in the bar along the top of the window. You should see "Updates are available for your computer," one of which will include iTunes 12.2. Click update and when your Mac restarts, you'll find Apple Music in the iTunes app.
Apple Music on Sonos: Can I listen to Apple Music on my SONOS speakers?
The question being asked by many Sonos owners is "Can I listen to Apple Music on my Sonos speakers?" and the simple answer is no, not at launch - however don't give up hope just yet. When Twitter user @jeffmc tweeted "Would really be nice if the new Apple Music streaming service was on Sonos, but I feel it won't be. Hope @iancr can persuade ;)" the Apple Music senior director Ian Rogers replied, saying "@jeffmc it will be ASAP, but not at launch".
Since then, Apple has confirmed in a statement to Buzzfeed that Apple is indeed working with Sonos to make Apple Music available on the speaker system, and should be integrated by the end of the year.
Apple to buzzfeed news: "we're working together to make #AppleMusic available on Sonos before the end of the year."— John Paczkowski (@JohnPaczkowski) June 28, 2015
Apple Music royalties: Taylor Swift makes Apple change its mind
Shortly after Apple announced pricing for its new music streaming service, it became apparent that Apple weren’t willing to pay artists royalties for any songs streamed during its three-month trial period. This not only outraged artists, but also independent label trade bodies in the US, UK, Germany, France and Australia. The bodies claimed that members would be at risk of a three-month blip in earnings if a large number of people moved from traditional music downloads from iTunes to its new streaming service.
However it wasn’t until Taylor Swift penned a blog post on Tumblr entitled “To Apple, Love Taylor” that Apple started to take notice. Swift describes the decision not to pay artists as “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company” and “three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.”
She describes her disappointment at Apple’s policies and the fact that it’s more likely to effect independent artists than signed artists, giving examples of how three months of no loyalties can affect an artists dream. She ends it on a powerful note; “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”
It seems to be a message that hit Apple hard, and one that SVP for Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue took to Twitter to clear up. He announced that Apple is making a U-turn on its earlier decision and would now pay artists on a per-stream basis during its three-month free trial. “Apple will always make sure that artists are paid #iTunes #AppleMusic” he tweeted. “#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period” he continued.
He finished off his tweets with “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists” with a hat-tilt to the title of Swift’s blog post “Love, Apple”.
Taylor Swift tweeted soon after the news broke “I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.” So, seeing as she’s so effective, what should we get Swift to campaign for next? Free iCloud storage? Cheaper iPhones? Hmmm…
Macworld poll: Will you sign up to Apple Music?
Does this sound appealing to you? Let us know what you reckon by answering our poll:
What is Apple Music?
Apple Music is a "single, intuitive app that combines the best ways to enjoy music - all in one place," says Apple. It'll be coming to iOS, Apple TV, Mac, Windows and even Android via an update today, 30 June. It'll sync across all of those devices using iCloud.
"Starting with the music you already know - whether from the iTunes Store or ripped CDs - your music now lives in one place alongside the Apple Music catalog with over 30 million songs," Apple explained in a press release. "You can stream any song, album or playlist you choose - or better yet, let Apple Music do the work for you."
There are five sections of Apple Music: For You, New, Radio, Connect and My Music. The app will replace the Music app you've currently got on your iPhone, so everything is in one place. We talk more about each individual Apple Music section below.
Apple Music: For You
Along the bottom of the app, you'll five the aforementioned five sections of Apple Music. The first is For You, which recommends playlists and albums to suit your music taste. They're human recommendations, from experts, says Apple, with different experts for different genres. Music magazines and websites have also contributed playlists, including Rolling Stone, Q Magazine, Pitchfork, DJ Mag, Shazam and Mojo.
When you first sign up to Apple Music, you'll be asked to choose the genres you like, and two or more favourite artists from the suggestions it comes up with. You can tap once to say you like that artist or twice to say you love them. Pressing and holding will tell Apple you don't like that artist.
From there, the For You section will show you playlists and recommendations that it thinks you'll really enjoy.
The more you listen to Apple Music the smarter For You will get. You can tell the app whether you liked a song or not, and it'll help fine tune your playlists.
Apple Music: New
The second section is 'New,' which offers up the newest music, videos, charts and more. But even the New section is curated to an extent, with Apple's experts "scouring every corner of the music world" to find the music it deems worth listening to. You can take a look at what's new in each genre, or get an overview of all genres if you'd prefer.
"It's not just any up-and-coming band. It's the one that's about to go big," reads Apple's website. "It's not just the latest video to drop. It's an alternative cut that you simply have to watch. And it's more than just top charts. It's popular music and videos from genres you care about."
Apple Music: Radio
Part of Apple Music is a new Beats1 Radio station that is always on, 24/7, worldwide. It's based in three locations around the world, New York, LA and London, and will hand off from one DJ to another.
The DJs are Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and London-based Julie Adenuga.
In the radio section of the app, you'll also find curated stations. There are also stations to suit your mood or activity, much like Spotify. Plus, you can create your own station by selecting a song, artist or album. You can adjust the mix to hear more songs you know or discover music you may not have heard yet. The more you listen to your station, the more fine-tuned it'll get.
Apple Music: Connect
There's a social element to Apple Music, too, called Connect. It lets artists share demos, videos, lyrics, soundbites, photos and more. Fans will be able to like and comment on the posts from artists, and it's designed to let artists connect with fans even if they're up and coming, with a greater reach than the likes of Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
For example, Pharrell Williams could share his photos, lyrics, mixes, behind-the-scenes videos and more through Connect on Apple Music. And if you find something cool you'll be able to share it to your friends via Messages, Facebook, Twitter or email.
Apple Music: My Music
The fifth and final option along the bottom of the Apple Music app is My Music. Here, you can see all of the music that you've purchased in the iTunes Store, ripped from a CD or downloaded elsewhere, just like you do in the current Music app on iPhone. However, there's also now Apple's Music Library, with 30 million songs and counting ready to play.
You'll be able to add any song, album or video to your collection in Apple Music, and use them to create playlists. You'll see an Up Next queue, Recently Added for your new albums and songs and Purchased.
During the demo of Apple Music, the company showed how, if you're playing a song from your library, you could tap All to see the most popular song from that artist, the most popular album, videos and more. That's all part of the My Music section of the app.
Plus, from My Music you can save songs to listen to offline, and you can share playlists, albums and videos via FaceBook, Twitter or Messages.
You can search the Apple Music library or your My Music library at any time, and the app will know which library you're looking at. You'll be able to see previous searches, and trending searches too.
Apple Music: Siri
Siri works with Apple Music, too. Some examples Apple has given include:
"Play the top 10 songs in Alternative."
"Play the top song from May 1982."
"Play the song from Selma," can even work for movie soundtracks, even if you don't know the song's name.
"Play more songs like this."
"After this song, play They Want My Soul."
"Add the new Blur album to my library."
We're updating this article as more information gets announced at WWDC 2015 and beyond. More to follow.
On page two is what we had written ahead of the official unveiling of Apple Music on 8 June, so you can see how accurate the rumours and speculation was (it was pretty close!)