|Original author(s)||Apple Inc.|
|Initial release||June 30, 2015|
iOS 8.4 or later
OS X 10.9.5 or later
Windows 7 or later
|City of license||
Los Angeles, California
New York City, New York (United States)
London, England (United Kingdom)
|Broadcast area||Over 100 countries on devices running iOS, OS X, Windows|
|Slogan||Worldwide. Always on.|
|First air date||June 30, 2015|
|Format||Freeform radio, Eclectic radio, Contemporary hit radio|
|Webcast||iTunes HLS stream (64-256 Kbps AAC)|
Apple Music is a music streaming service developed by Apple Inc. Users select music to stream to their device on demand. The service includes the curated Internet radio station Beats 1, the blog platform Connect that allows artists to share their posts, photos, videos and tracks with fans, and Radio which incorporates some aspects of iTunes Radio. Apple Music provides music recommendations based on user's taste and is integrated with Siri voice commands.
Apple stated at the WWDC 2015 that the service would launch at the end of June 2015 and would be free for the first three months of usage. After that, Apple Music subscription would cost US$9.99 per month, close to the economic equilibrium point for the recording industry estimated by the Open Music Model.
Users select music on a device, which then plays on the device via Internet streaming and may be saved to the device for offline access. The service also provides music recommendations based on user taste. While Apple Music's cost and music library are similar to other music streaming services, the service aims to distinguish itself with added features and content exclusives.
Apple Music includes Internet radio stations curated by famous artists. Beats 1, the first station, plays continuously in 100 countries and is staffed by former BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, hip hop DJ Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga.
A third feature, Connect, is a blog platform where artists share media with fans. Some of the uploaded media will be exclusive to Connect's platform. Apple Music also accepts Siri voice commands, including requests for specific songs and more generalized selections, such as for the top charted tracks from a specific period of time or "the song from Selma".
The Apple Music app has several tabs. The "For You" section recommends music for the user. Human expert selections supplement the algorithmic curation. Every user has a "My Music" section that shows both purchased songs and tracks available for streaming. "Radio" incorporates some aspects of iTunes Radio, such as ad-supported "stations" which play genre-specific or artist-related music, depending on the user's preferences.
Before Apple Music, the company's iPod and iTunes were known for having "revolutionized digital music". Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was previously opposed to the idea of music subscription services. After a period of rumors and anticipation, Apple Music was announced at Apple's June 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference with plans for launch later that month. The "one more thing" reveal had been confirmed by Sony Music CEO Doug Morris and The Wall Street Journal reports prior to the announcement. Morris added that he expected the service to restore the music industry's prior state of financial prosperity. He said that Apple Music's ad-supported streams would have a halo effect on the market where Spotify was unable to profit. Hip hop artist Drake appeared onstage at the announcement event to elaborate on how he used the Connect platform. Apple also emphasized how unsigned artists could participate in Connect.
Apple Music launched on June 30, 2015, in 100 countries. New users receive a three-month trial subscription, which reverts to a monthly fee. A family plan option lets up to six users share a reduced rate. Apple originally sought to enter the market at a lower price point for the service, but the music industry rejected the plan. The service debuts as an iOS device exclusive alongside the same-day iOS 8.4 update. Apple TV and Android device support is planned for a Q3 2015 launch. A previously unreleased song by Pharrell Williams called "Freedom" was used in promotional material and has been announced as an exclusive release on the launch of the service. The "History of Sound" advert for the launch of the Apple Music service was soundtracked by the tune "There Is No Light" by Wildbirds & Peacedrums, from their 2009 album The Snake.
Apple Music received mixed reviews at launch for its unintuitive interface, the amount of bugs and battery life problems and its offline services being contingent on using the iCloud Music Library feature. This feature takes away the ability for the user to sync music locally and has caused chaos for some users' music libraries. However, the service was praised for its smart functions. The Verge wrote that the service was similar to its contemporaries in regards to library size and cost. Mashable noted the emphasis on human curation in Apple Music, pointing out the various human curated radio stations and the accuracy of the curated playlists recommended to users in the For Me section. The author concluded saying "[T]he For Me section alone has made me excited about music for the first time in a long time." Ars Technica wrote that Apple's emphasis on unsigned artist participation in Connect could be an effort to restore the company's former reputation as a "tastemaker" in the mid-2000s.
Royalty payment policy
Shortly before Apple Music was released, Taylor Swift wrote an open letter publicly criticizing Apple's decision to not reimburse artists during a user's three-month free trial period and announced that she would be holding back her album 1989 from the service. She said the policy was "unfair" as "Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months". UK independent record label Beggars Group also criticized the three-month trial period, saying it struggled "to see why rights owners and artists should bear this aspect of Apple's customer acquisition costs".
The day after Swift's letter, Eddy Cue announced on Twitter that Apple had changed its policy and that Apple Music "will pay artist for streaming, even during customer's free trial period". On Twitter, Swift wrote "After the events of this week, I've decided to put 1989 on Apple Music... And happily so". She concluded saying it was "the first time it's felt right in my gut to stream my album".
Apple Music is compatible with iOS devices running version 8.4 or later, iTunes version 12.2 or later (OS X Mavericks or later; Windows 7 or later), and the Apple Watch. It will also receive a release for Android devices and Apple TV in fall 2015. It is also possible to listen to Apple Music live streams in iTunes 11, by adding a station in the Radio tab. Windows XP and Windows Vista users only have access to iTunes Radio and are unable to listen to live streaming stations, as they are encrypted with FairPlay DRM. Access to Apple Music's live streams are restricted to the iOS Music app and iTunes logged in with a valid Apple ID.
- iTunes Radio - predecessor to Apple Music, available on iTunes 11.1 and iOS 7
- Comparison of on-demand streaming music services
- List of Internet radio stations
- List of online music databases