After years of trying and failing to deliver a decent streaming music service, Apple is cranking out a brand new service that combines the best of Apple Music and the recently acquired streaming music service, Beats Music.
Launching globally on June 30, this new service comes less than a year after Apple paid $US3 billion for Beats Audio, a tasty sum that scored the company the audio giant’s headphone business alongside its streaming music service.
That sound you just heard is the collective sigh of relief from millions of Australians who are tired of playing ping-pong between streaming music services to satisfy their broad music appetite and currently geoblocked from using Beats Music.
The announcement of this new service from Apple comes as no surprise, considering Apple has lagged behind the leaders in streaming music for many years. We’re talking Spotify, Google Play Music and Rdio: each service offering more than 30 million tracks for your all-you-can-eat ears.
It also explains why little development has been made in Apple’s iTunes app, which has been an unwieldy abomination for a number of years now. Why fix up an old Holden when you’ve just bought yourself a new Mercedes?
What is it?
This new streaming music service will give users access to a vast library of both Apple and Beats content, which can be streamed via any compatible device with an internet connection. Users can opt to purchase music outright or stream audio from either catalogue for a monthly fee.
If they so wish, this will also allow users to do away with their iTunes library in favour of a true streaming music solution. Say goodbye to smartphones with hefty memory storage; pretty soon you won’t need them.
How can I get it?
The new music service will be available on Apple devices via an updated Apple Music app, to be launched shortly for both desktop and mobile devices. The Beats Music app for Android users will also receive a shot in the arm, incorporating iTunes content for purchase or streaming.
How much is it?
While an Australian price is yet to be announced, Apple Music will cost $US10 per month. Expect this to be around $13, or the equivalent of three coffees per month. This is quite a difference from Apple Match ($34.99 per year), which gives Apple Radio users ad-free listening and higher quality audio, the closest Apple has ever come to a streaming media service.
A much-lauded feature of Beats Music will also figure in the new Apple Music service, that is Curated Playlists.
If you read Rolling Stone magazine, then fire up the Rolling Stone playlist to hear their recommended music. It’s believed the service will also incorporate a social aspect for users, who can follow updates and shared content – like songs and samples – via artist profiles, which is interestingly an element that has made SoundCloud so successful.
Industry clout equals more for users
Current rumours in the industry also state that record labels are negotiating with Apple for a bigger slice of revenue than that currently received from Spotify, which is reportedly 55 per cent of every subscription.
If this is true, Apple’s greater contribution to record label coffers will place the company higher up the food chain when it comes to exclusive releases and special edition content. Basically, this bargaining power will mean a better, more exclusive service for users.
Apart from personal preference, there is no logical reason not to try Apple Music.
This is a fight for users’ ears. When Apple threw wads of cash at Beats Music they acquired more than just an audio equipment company and a streaming media service. They scored music rights, users and brand loyalty.
Combine this with Apple’s existing music library, customer base and, again, brand loyalty, and it’s a no-brainer the new service will easily challenge the big kids on the block.
Do you currently use a streaming music service? What features do you want to see in Apple’s new service? Join the discussion below.