Apple Music is finally here. The iOS 8.4 update hit yesterday and we’ve been exploring Apple’s new music streaming service to see if it lives up to the hype. Listen to our first impressions, problems, and our opinions about Apple Music. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.
I’m not expecting here to replicate my rather extensive Apple Watch diary series – I doubt this one will run to four pieces. I’m also not starting out here as an Apple Music skeptic. I’ve been using Spotify for years, and – from a brief trial of Beats Music – started out pretty confident I would be jumping ship once Apple Music launched.
But I do think Apple Music has one thing in common with the Watch: I don’t think it’s possible to judge it without a reasonable amount of usage. So I thought I’d begin with my first impressions and then follow up once I’ve used it long enough to have more to say.
I’m not going to dwell on the launch-day glitches, like the welcome screen (above) left over from the beta, the rather belated iTunes update, Beats 1 outage, frequent spinning beachballs in iTunes and the tracks that either refused to play at all or took an age to do so. Half the planet was simultaneously using the service yesterday, so these things will only become issues if they persist. So leaving those aside, what were my first impressions … ? Read more
Today we’re taking a quick look at Apple Music. This new service came along with the iOS 8.4 update and effectively merges Beats Music with a new streaming service from Apple. The good news is, Apple Music will also be available for Android and Apple TV as well later this fall. Everyone also gets a 3 month free trial in case you’re on the fence about subscribing to the service right away…
I want that feeling of walking into an independent record shop, if there are still any that exist, like Amoeba [Records], and being delighted by the choices and the way music is presented to you with love and care. It’s exciting. And you leave with stuff you wouldn’t have dreamed you wanted and you’re excited to listen and share it and experience it.
In an interview with The Loop, Apple SVP Eddy Cue and Beats founder Jimmy Iovine said that depth, breadth and musical knowledge would allow Apple Music to succeed in a market where all streaming services offer access to the same 30M songs.
“One of the things we wanted with Apple Music was depth, said Cue. “We wanted you to be immersed in it when you started using it.”
Iovine pointed out that playlists generated by algorithms tended to be predictable, while those curated by people with deep knowledge of the music industry could make surprising connections – using Bruce Springsteen as an example.
[With an algorithm, you can] pretty much guess what’s going to be played. Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, and Tom Petty are always popular choices.
What freaked me out is that Apple Music played ‘Paint It Black,’ which I happen to know is one of Springsteen’s favorite Stones songs.
Iovine said that most algorithms stuck to one genre and era, while human DJs could mix things up because “the DJ is in the middle, explaining how it works.” This, said Cue, generated greater breadth, and you could find a hip-hop track following a rock one … Read more
With the launch of Apple Music just around the corner, music lovers currently subscribed to competing services like Spotify and Rdio may be looking to jump ship and give Apple’s offering a try. Apple first confirmed in a Beats Music FAQ that there will be a Beats Music update that allows users to import their libraries to the newer service, but users with music collections elsewhere seem to be out of luck without any official migration tool.
Thankfully, there’s an unofficial route to import all of your playlists from multiple services to Apple Music, but you’ll need to act before the 30th if you don’t already have a Beats Music account as Apple could turn off new subscriptions (and trials) at any moment.
Update: Apple has confirmed in a statement to Buzzfeed that Apple is working with Sonos to get Apple Music available on the connected speaker system by the end of the year. Original story below.
Apple Music senior director Ian Rogers — ex Beats Music CEO — has announced on Twitter that integration with Sonos for Apple Music is coming as soon as possible. Although Beats Music did have native support on the popular internet-connected speaker system, there have been no announcements about a partnership with Apple Music so far. In the tweet, Rogers confirms that there will be no Sonos integration at launch.
Apple directors have been somewhat talkative over the weekend about the imminent release of Apple Music. Former Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers, who now works as a Senior Director of Apple Music, blogged about the product’s launch. He reminisces on the history of digital music and radio saying that seeing Apple Music on stage at WWDC ‘it was hard not to feel like the last 20+ years was leading to this day’.
Interestingly, Apple will be releasing iOS 8.4 at 8 AM on June 30th which includes the newly revamped Music app to support Apple Music. This is slightly earlier than the usual 10 AM release window. The change in scheduling seems to be in service of Beats 1, Apple’s worldwide radio station, which will start streaming from 9 AM on the same day.
Meanwhile, Eddy Cue has also been leaking some tidbits about Apple Music on Twitter …
When news broke last year that Apple was in talks to acquire Beats, my initial response was concern that the subscription music service I’d only just started to love would change into something different. Then Apple actually bought Beats.
What happened next is Beats Music stopped all significant consumer-facing development completely. Apple TV gained a channel for the service as Apple started pushing the service to iOS users, but Beats Music never came to the Mac and the promised CarPlay app was never released.
When the Apple Watch debuted in April, both Beats Music and iTunes Radio were missing from the platform. That halt in Beats Music development meant that Spotify — which was already on the Mac and CarPlay — had months to grow and introduce compelling features to make it a better subscription music service.
While we won’t know how well Apple Music performs until it launches in three week, these six promised features will make it superior to Beats Music for me: Read more
Roughly one year after spending $3 billion to acquire Beats, a speaker and headphone company cofounded by music industry veterans Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine, Apple has officially revealed its all-new streaming music service built on that massive acquisition. Apple Music, as we first reported the subscription music service would be called, is the company’s answer to on-demand music services like Spotify. As part of the 2014 acquisition, Apple gained its own subscription music competitor in Beats Music, although the new Apple Music service is the company’s first to be built by the Cupertino company. Details below: Read more
Apple is aiming to sign up a massive 100M subscribers for its streaming music service, according to a source cited by the Associated Press (reproduced in the NY Times). This would be more than double the subscriptions for all other streaming music services combined.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry says that existing worldwide streaming subscriptions total around 41M across all services. The market leader, Spotify, has around 4.7M subscribers in the USA … Read more
Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference is about to kick off. On Monday, June 8th, company executives will take the stage at San Francisco’s Moscone Center to provide their annual roadmap for Apple’s software, services, and devices.
Traditionally, Apple has used the conference to introduce major upgrades to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch operating system iOS, as well as the Mac operating system OS X, along with new services. Of course, 2015 will be no different. Apple has been preparing a new version of iOS 9 codenamed “Monarch,” a release of OS X 10.11 codenamed “Gala,” a new streaming Apple Music service based on Beats Music, and updates for the Apple Watch.
Over the last several years, we have provided advance reports on the lion’s share of announcements that will be made at WWDC, as well as a comprehensive roundup ahead of the event. Read on for our roundup of what’s coming, along with fresh new details not found in our earlier reports.