Later today Apple is set to pull the plug on Beats Music and completely stop the service. The reason? After buying the subscription music service in a $3 billion deal that also included Beats headphones and speakers last year, Apple Music has now fully launched and replaces Beats Music. Any remaining subscribers will need to transfer from Beats Music to Apple Music immediately to avoid losing saved music libraries and playlists. The good news is Apple Music now has almost all of Beats Music’s features with only a few exceptions…
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Both services costs $9.99/month for access to music catalogs that can be streamed or saved offline for playback, while Apple Music offers a 3-month free trial up front and a $14.99/month family plan for up to six users through Apple’s Family Sharing. Beats Music briefly offered a similar free trial and family package, but only to AT&T subscribers. Apple Music also features a bigger library of content and is available in many more countries, but switchers will likely notice a few tracks from Beats Music not make the jump to Apple Music.
Apple Music recently launched as a public beta for Android 4.3 and later, replacing the discontinued Beats Music app on Google’s mobile platform, and later this month Sonos users will begin testing Apple Music streaming where Beats Music was previously available. While Apple Music is available to Windows users through iTunes on the desktop, there’s no replacement for the discontinued Beats Music app for Windows Phone users. The Beats Music web app (which requires Adobe Flash Player) is also not being replaced, but iTunes on the Mac also includes Apple Music. Apple TV 3 curiously gained a Beats Music app shortly after Apple bought the music service, but the new Apple TV 4 is required to fully access all the features of Apple Music on the big screen.
No matter how you used Beats Music, Apple Music should feel familiar with For You, New, and My Music features plus curated playlists that are very similar on both services. One quirky Beats Music feature called The Sentence which let you create radio stations based on MadLib-style questions does not make it over to Apple Music, however, but Apple Music includes a free Internet radio station called Beats 1 with actual radio DJ hosts.
Apple Music has a rocky reputation and I worried early on about losing Beats Music after the acquisition, but the new service is available to a lot more people and includes a few unique features that other streaming services like Spotify don’t provide.
Finally, if you’ve made it to the last day of Beats Music and want to preserve your library through Apple Music, Apple has detailed a few steps for both iOS and Android users to ensure you don’t lose your music library or playlists. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users must have iOS 8.4 or later (iOS 9.1 is current) and be signed in to Beats Music version 2.3.4. Launching Music on iOS will prompt you to transfer content, and Beats Music credit will become iTunes credit.
Update: Apple released Beats Music version 2.3.5 overnight with a “Beats Music to Apple Music migration fix” for users.
It’s far more likely that some Beats Music users on Android have waited until now to transfer as Apple Music only recently came to the platform, and the process is very similar. First install the Apple Music beta for Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or later, then launch Beats Music version 1.2.7, be sure you’re signed in, then await the Getting Started prompt to begin the transfer. Apple notes that group plans through Family Sharing can only be setup after the transfer. Also important to note: Apple Music doesn’t yet work with Android tablets, smartphones only for now.
Now we wait for the lights to go out and watch Beats Music go completely dark…