Apple's Spotify rival is finally here. Dubbed Apple Music, this new streaming service is an all-in-one destination that combines iTunes' vast library with live radio and dedicated artist hubs. It's launching on June 30 on iOS, Apple TV and desktop for $9.99 monthly, or $14.99 per month for a family plan. An Android version will be coming later this fall.
The new program was introduced at WWDC by industry veteran and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, who called the music industry a "fragmented mess" that requires fans to jump between apps such as Twitter, Spotify and YouTube to fully keep up with an artist. Apple Music aims to meld those experiences, with on-demand listening, global radio stations and social pages where artists can share new content with their followers.
Apple Music is comprised of three key components—the first being the music library, of course. Using the Apple Music app, users can listen to the songs they already own, as well as stream any of the 30 million-plus songs on iTunes. Like Beats Music before it, Apple Music will offer curated playlists based on mood, as well as playlists created by industry influencers such as Pitchfork and Fader. Apple Music works with Siri, so you can ask the virtual assistant to play the top songs from a certain year or to pump out Dr. Dre's biggest hits on-demand.
Apple Music will also feature a global radio station titled Beats 1, which will offer nonstop music from various disc jockeys around the world. The program will be hosted by popular DJs Ebro Darden in New York, Julie Adenuga in London and Zane Lowe in Los Angeles. iTunes Radio has been refreshed as Apple Music Radio, which offers unlimited skips and a range of genre-specific stations curated by radio DJs.
The final layer of the Apple Music cake is Connect, a series of social hubs that allow artists to interact with their fans. Musicians can post videos, songs and images, which fans can like and comment on. Connect pages seem similar to those of Twitter or Facebook, the key difference being fans don't have to leave Apple Music to learn more about their favorite singers.
If you're curious about Apple Music, you'll get to try the service for free for three months when it launches June 30. From there, you can purchase a $10 monthly subscription, or get a $14.99 family plan for up to six listeners. Spotify's base Premium subscription costs the same as Apple Music, but you'd have to pay a heftier $29 for five users on a Spotify family plan. Of course, you can get the ad-supported version of Spotify for free.
Apple Music's wide platform compatibility—including Android—gives it a serious shot at Spotify's reign over the streaming game. For more on Apple music and how it stacks up to the competition, stay tuned for our full review.
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