Apple Music is Apple’s streaming service that was first introduced at WWDC in 2015. The service launched that same summer and positioned Apple as a direct competitor to services like Spotify, Amazon Music, and Google Play Music. It allows users to access 50 million tracks instantly. Music can be downloaded for offline listening, as well as streamed from the cloud. The service also includes iCloud Music library which allows you to upload content purchased/ripped and make it available on all of your devices.
Apple Music Devices
The service is accessible via the built-in iOS Music app, Apple Music on the Mac, iTunes on a PC, Apple TV, and on Apple Watch. It’s also available on Android, Amazon Echo devices, Sonos, and Amazon Fire TV. In September of 2019, Apple also launched a beta version of a web app.
Alongside the streaming music service, Apple introduced an always-on streaming radio service called Beats 1. Spearheaded by Zane Lowe, Beats 1 features a wide array of shows, many of which are hosted by celebrities such as DJ Khaled, Elton John, and Pharrell. Beats 1 doesn’t require an Apple Music subscription and is accessible to everyone via iTunes and the Music app for macOS.
Apple Music Pricing
The service is $9.99 per month for one user, while a family plan is also available for $14.99. Students also get a steep discount, with a student tier offering the service for just $4.99.
Apple Music Features
Some of the key features for Apple Music includes iCloud Music library, For You, Personalized Playlists, and Replay.
iCloud Music Library lets you add music to Apple Music on the Mac and then it will add it to your library across all your devices. This feature is useful if you have a lot of live albums that aren’t available for any streaming service. iCloud Music Library is also handy when a record isn’t available to stream, but is to purchase. An example of when this is useful is when a Taylor Swift’s Reputation album was released in 2017. It didn’t appear on Apple Music or Spotify for three weeks. If you wanted to buy it as an Apple Music subscriber, you could just purchase it on iTunes and then it would be automatically added to your Apple Music library. If were a Spotify user, there is no way to do this. You can still buy it, but it would be inside the Music app on your iPhone vs being inside of Spotify (where the rest of your library is).
The For You functionality is aimed at helping you discover what you will want to listen to based on the time of day and what your friends are listening to/ The Personalized Playlists include a “New Music Mix”, “Friends Mix”, “Favorites Mix, and “Chill Mix”. All of these are updated weekly.
In November of 2019, Apple debuted a new feature called Replay.
Replay feature provides users a playlist of their most listened to songs from 2019, as well as prior years dating all the way back to 2015.
You can also see interesting insights into your most popular artists, albums, and more. For the Apple Music Replay playlists, you can share them with others just like a normal playlist and download them for offline listening.
What differentiates Replay from Spotify Wrapped, however, is that Replay will be continuously updated and can be accessed year-round. Spotify Wrapped is specifically for year-in-review purposes, but Replay will be continuously updated as you listen to Apple Music throughout the year.
For instance, in January of 2020, you’ll already be able to see your Replay 2020 playlist – but it will be blank and ready for you to start filling up. The playlist will update on a weekly basis throughout the year, giving you a live look at your listening trends.