Beats Music Stories December 18, 2015

The Beatles iTunes

When Apple Music launched back in June, it was noted that the music subscription service didn’t offer up the entire iTunes catalog with a few big name artists missing including The Beatles. That could be about to change, according to a new report out of Billboard, which cites sources that claim The Beatles music will be available for streaming for the first time next week. While the report believes The Beatles music will start streaming on Christmas Eve, what isn’t clear is which streaming service will have access first …

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Beats Music Stories December 3, 2015

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Last week, Apple officially pulled the plug on Beats Music after initially announcing the shut down a few weeks prior. Apple is offering a seamless way to transition from Beats Music to Apple Music, but if you’ve waited until the very last minute to do so and are worried that your content is now gone, fear not as Apple is offering a grace period to get your content out of Beats Music and into Apple Music…

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Beats Music Stories December 2, 2015

Happy Hour 21

Recently, we’ve seen a good amount of iPhone 7 rumors with everything from USB-C support to Apple potentially removing the 3.5mm headphone jack. It all sounds a bit crazy, but today we’ll get to the bottom of the rumors and discuss what’s actually possible and what makes sense. Big thanks to Jamf Now (formerly Bushel) for sponsoring this week’s episode. To find out what awesome cloud-based mobile device management can do for you, check out https://www.jamf.com/happyhour.

The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.

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Beats Music Stories November 30, 2015

Apple Music

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… expand full story

Beats Music Stories November 12, 2015

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Following the launch of Apple Music on Android earlier this week, Apple today has revealed that it is officially shutting down the Beats Music service on November 30th. According to a support document shared on the Beats Music website, all subscriptions will be cancelled on that date, with users being asked to migrate to Apple Music.

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Beats Music Stories September 3, 2015

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While Apple Music’s content library may be plenty, there’s undoubtedly issues with the software behind it as the product is new and faces the hurdle of integration with lots of legacy iTunes cruft. Some may find that okay during the start of the three-month free trial period, but Apple’s streaming music service will have to shape up and quick if it wants to compete with Spotify and others in the same space. Oliver Schusser, iTunes International VP, tells The Guardian that Apple is currently working to clean up and improve the overall product:

“There’s a lot of work going into making the product better. Our focus is on editorial and playlists, and obviously we have teams all around the world working on that, but we’re also adding features and cleaning up certain things,” Oliver Schusser, vice president, iTunes International, told the Guardian.

Schusser is likely referring to improvements coming to the Music app in iOS 9, which Apple is expected to preview again next week and release later this month ahead of the iPhone 6S, but the exec also mentioned the upcoming Android version, Apple Music Connect, and Sonos support. expand full story

Beats Music Stories September 1, 2015

Luke Wood, left, pictured with Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre (photo: Kevin Mazur/Wire)
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Luke Wood, left, pictured with Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre (photo: Kevin Mazur/Wire)

Beats President Luke Wood, who runs the audio products side of the business, told Mashable that the acquisition was a great fit because the company shared DNA with Apple.

We’re looking at our little audio slice of the world and trying to focus on creating a stellar product experience. I think that’s also the fundamental DNA of everything Steve wanted to accomplish at Apple. By product experience, that includes ID, design, technology, innovation, simplicity. Those are always things that have been fundamental to our DNA, too.

He said that the early days of low-quality digital music resulted in a ‘lost generation’ for premium audio, but that we now live in a very different world …  expand full story

Beats Music Stories August 28, 2015

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Apple Music and Beats 1 lead Ian Rogers has unexpectedly left Apple two months since the Apple Music launch. Although Apple Music app has received some criticism, Rogers’ primary responsibility, Beats 1, has received much critical acclaim and has been widely praised, so it is surprising to see a resignation out of the director. The Financial Times first reported the departure, which has now been confirmed by Apple.

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Beats Music Stories August 17, 2015

Jimmy Iovine & Dr. Dre talk Apple Music, their USC program, & more in Wired cover story

Wired’s new cover story featuring Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre includes interviews with the Beats co-founders turned Apple executives and also some quotes from others on the Apple Music team. The article has a lot of backstory on the duo pre Apple’s acquisition of Beats, much of which we’ve heard in the past, but mostly discusses the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, an undergraduate program the two Apple executives have started at the University of Southern California.

“If you tell a kid, ‘You’ve got to pick music or Instagram,’ they’re not picking music,” Iovine says. “There was a time when, for anybody between the ages of 15 and 25, music was one, two, and three. It’s not anymore.”

The school aims to create a new generation of creative executives by assembling a faculty drawn from the schools of art, business, and engineering in an ambitious new curriculum. This, Iovine says, will be his true legacy, a pipeline of professionals, equally at home in the worlds of tech and culture, who can steer the music industry through whatever displacements lie ahead. “If the school doesn’t work, to me the whole thing failed,” Iovine says. “Because then you’ve got to pray for freaks, and that’s no way to run a business.”

You can read the full Wired cover story online here.

Beats Music Stories August 2, 2015

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Dr. Dre joined Apple as part of the Beats acquisition last year. Dre’s contribution to (aside from branding) is questioned by critics but fans of his work will be pleased to know he announced his first new album in fifteen years, entitled Compton A Soundtrack. The album can be preordered on iTunes now ready for release on August 7th.

Dre announced his long-awaited new release on his Beats 1 radio show yesterday with rapper and former colleague, Ice Cube. The album will be exclusive to Apple, available to buy on iTunes or stream on Apple Music.

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Beats Music Stories July 1, 2015

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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.

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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.

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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 updateBeats 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 … ?  expand full story

Beats Music Stories June 30, 2015

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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…

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Speaking to Rolling Stone about creating Beats 1 radio, Trent Reznor said he wanted to recreate the feeling you got when walking into a really good independent record store.

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.

Reznor, who was previously Chief Creative Officer at Beats Music, said that listening to Zane Lowe’s BBC radio show totally inspired him …  expand full story

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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 …  expand full story

Beats Music Stories June 29, 2015

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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.

Keep reading for instructions…

Beats Music Stories June 28, 2015

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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.

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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 …

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Beats Music Stories June 9, 2015

Apple Music ecosystem

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: expand full story

Beats Music Stories June 8, 2015

Apple-Music

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: expand full story

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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 …  expand full story

Beats Music Stories June 5, 2015

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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.

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Beats Music Stories June 3, 2015

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Jay-Z’s recently launched Tidal music streaming service, a competitor to Apple’s own services in more ways than one, is today getting a big update right before the debut of the new Apple Music streaming service next week at WWDC. A desktop app beta for both Mac and Windows, $4.99 student pricing, and ticketing features through Ticketmaster integration, all help set a high bar for Apple to impress us with its own announcements next week.

The new desktop app (pictured above) is arriving in beta and brings a few features that weren’t previously possible with the mobile and web apps. The announcement today also includes a refreshed design for the mobile apps: expand full story

Beats Music Stories June 1, 2015

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Apple is ready to show the first fruits of its Beats acquisition next week. As we first reported in early March, Apple is planning to introduce its long-awaited Beats-based streaming music service at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, June 8th. Blending Apple interface design and features from the Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine-created Beats Music app, Apple’s service, known internally as “Apple Music,” is built to take on Spotify and Pandora with several new features and a subscription model. Additionally, Apple is working on overhauling its widely panned iTunes Radio service by striking deals with popular artists and DJs. Below, we detail Apple’s plans for both Apple Music and the new iTunes Radio in an extensive roundup.

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