The Ins and Outs of Apple Music
With access to a ton of music streaming services always at your fingers (and ears), a major player like Apple entering the game means it must bring its own twist.
Apple launched its new music app on June 30. It competes with popular counterparts, Spotify and Pandora, but it combines the services they offer in a new way.
What it offers
Apple Music blends your iTunes music library, on-demand streaming (like Spotify), unlimited radio (like Pandora) and social media into one app for the ultimate music interaction experience.
The New tab has recent releases, top songs, music videos and playlists for everything from waking up to breaking up. But what really makes this section unique is handcrafted playlists from guest curators like Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Apple Music editors.
The curated experience is taken even farther with a tab for subscribed members called For You. It provides customized recommendations of artists, playlists, albums and genres based on your pre-selected favorites. When you find something you like, you can add it to your library playlists.
Apple Music also ramps up its Radio with Beats 1, a 24-hour live, worldwide radio station that alternates broadcasting from Los Angeles, New York City and London.
Social media enters the picture via Connect, an innovative feature that lets musicians share photos, upload exclusive videos (such as live performances) and offer insider information. Fans can comment on artists’ profiles for a more interactive experience.
Siri gets in on the action, too. She seamlessly communicates with Apple Music, making it easier to play specific songs, find top hits, shuffle an album, add to a playlist and much more.
What the experts are saying
The verdicts are rolling in. So what do industry experts think about Apple’s new approach to music?
Christina Warren from Mashable says, “With live radio, human curated playlists and access to your iTunes purchase history, I’m really liking Apple Music.” She goes on to mention that the app is well designed and easy to navigate. Her only concern is that artists will have to commit to actively using Connect for it to be successful.
Walt Mossberg from re/code has mixed feelings. He states, “Apple has built a handsome, robust app and service that goes well beyond just offering a huge catalog of music by providing many ways to discover and group music for a very wide range of tastes and moods…It will take time to learn it. And that’s not something you’re going to want to do if all you’re looking for is to lean back and listen.”
Caitlin McGarry argues on PCWorld that “Between Siri, music videos, Beats 1, and the playlist curation and recommendation tech Apple lifted from Beats Music, Apple Music makes a strong case for streaming and proves the Cupertino (Calif.) company just might revolutionize music all over again.”
How to get started
In order to get started, download the latest software update for iOS 8.4, and click the music icon. The app is available on any device that runs on iOS 8 or newer. (Don’t fret Android users. According to Apple, it will be available to you in late 2015!)
If you’re not sure exactly what you are looking for at first, turn on one of the app’s dozens of radio stations that come free without a subscription. When you hear a song you like, click the buy button to add it to your own personal library.
If you want access to thousands of songs available for streaming, you can subscribe to Apple Music’s monthly service. Right now, Apple is offering a three month free trial. After that, it’s available for a monthly fee. If you’re not impressed by your free trial after three months, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to cancel your subscription if you follow these nifty instructions from the Wall Street Journal.
With three months for free, you don’t have much to lose by giving Apple Music a try.