Everything you need to know about Apple Music

Apple Music Beats 1 iTunes

Apple Music has arrived! On 1 July Apple’s first music-streaming service was released, alongside the iOS 8.4 update made available to all Apple devices. Apple will now be competing will longstanding streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, Google Play and Tidal.

Membership to Apple Music costs $9.99 per month. There is also a family plan available, where multiple users can use the same account, costing $14.99 per month. There is a free trial period of three months available so that users can decide whether they want to pay for membership or not.

This free trial garnered a lot of attention due to a letter that Taylor Swift, a popular American musician, wrote to Apple. Swift was upset because Apple would not be paying writers, producers or artists for their work during that three month trial time period. She expressed her disappointment that Apple would treat creatives so poorly. Due to this negative publicity Apple apologized and decided to pay artists, writers and so forth to place their music on their platform during the free trial and beyond.

Despite this brief controversy and subsequent resolution, Apple Music has been given a very warm reception in the small amount of time it has been available, and is expected to thrive.

“For You” and “New” tabs

The “For You” tab features bubbles that represent artists and genres. Users select the ones they prefer the most (one can either “like” or “love” – making the experience even more personalized). This selection process helps to develop the user’s own personal algorithm that can, once it has enough information, provide suggestions of music and artists they’d like. It can also give you an introduction to music that has been inspired by your favourite musicians or genres.

The “New” tab is for those people who love discovering new music. The default screen shows the newest music that has been released from all of the genres available, and these are handpicked by Apple editors. This tab also offers “Hot Tracks”, “Recent Releases” and “Top Songs” for all music styles; however, you can narrow the selection by picking one genre.

There are playlists curated by Apple and other experts (like Rolling Stone) that one can peruse on the “New” tab, and they are organized according to genre, type of activity (like working out or relaxing), the feeling you want to get, and more. Unfortunately you cannot delve deeply into sub-genres, which may be a negative for those with obscure music tastes.

Beats 1 Radio

Beats Electronics (the brainchild of rapper Dr Dre) is a company that sells high-end sound and audio technology like headphones and earbuds. They were acquired by Apple in August 2014 in the largest acquisition in the company’s entire history to date.

Beats Electronics had an online music service by the name of Beats Music when the acquisition occurred. Now Beats Music has been integrated into Apple Music to create Beats 1.

Beats 1 is a radio station that is free for everyone to listen to (even if you never buy an Apple Music membership), and is broadcast 24/7 to over 100 countries from studios in Los Angeles, New York and London.

This radio station has three regular anchors alongside shows hosted by famous musicians and artists like Ellie Goulding, Elton John, Pharrell Williams, Eric Prydz and many more. The full line-up with times and dates is available at http://applemusic.tumblr.com/beats1. This radio station will also have exclusive interviews with popular artists and weekly DJ mixes.

Connect

Connect is a pseudo-social network that aims to bring musicians together with their fans in a more personal way. On Connect artists will have their own personal profile page that features their biography, discography and shows fans what songs they already possess from that artist.

The main aim is to give a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of musicians as they hone their craft. Pages will include rough cuts of music videos, unedited in-progress lyrics and candid backstage images. Fans can comment and like what an artist posts and the artist can respond to them directly.