Spotify, Tidal et al, it’s time to start looking over your shoulder as Apple has just formally unveiled its new music streaming service, Apple Music.
Formally unveiled during the company’s WWDC 2015 keynote, Apple Music has been the thing of much speculation since the Cupertino-based firm dropped $3 billion to acquire Beats last May.
Building on the pre-existing Beats Music platform and iTunes, the new service will see Apple look to gain traction in the latest growth area of the music space – streaming.
Making the announcement at WWDC 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated: “Before we close this morning, we do have one more thing.
“We love music and music is an important part of our lives. Music has a rich history of change, some of which we have played a part in.
“Today we are announcing Apple Music, the next evolution in music.”
Although there are streaming elements, Apple Music is about far more than simply challenging Spotify.
Built into the iPhone and iPad’s existing Music app, the service also combines a new, free, live, global radio station, Beats1, and the chance for musicians and users to better interact with each other.
“Now, in 2015, music is a fragmented mess,” Beats founder and now Apple employee, Jimmy Iovine, said unveiling the service.
“On Apple Music, all of the ways you love music can coincide together."
He added: “All the ways you love music are now in one place. That place is already in almost 1 billion hands around the world.”
Detailing some of the new features in Apple Music and Beats1, Iovine stated: “You can now search and stream the millions of songs we have on iTunes.
“The ‘For You’ button recommends the music we think you’ll love. It’s recommendations made by experts.”
How does it do this? Well, Apple lets you select tracks, artists and albums you like, building playlists around similar moods, sounds and beats as recommended by a team of music professionals.
Discussing the Beats1 radio station, he added: “Beats1 is the first live, 24 hour worldwide radio station.
“Broadcast from three cities – London, New York and LA – that plays music not based on research, genre or drum beats, just music that is great and feels great. It is a radio station that only has one master – music itself.
“We are at Apple to help musician’s dreams be realised. We built the station and it is a music lovers dream.”
Beats1 will be headed up and partly presented by former Radio 1 DJ, Zane Lowe.
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Looking at the third Apple Music feature, Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior VP of Internet Software, detailed how users will be able to better connect with artists.
“Artists can post and publish anything to Facebook, Twitter or there own websites and you can interact and like their posts through Apple Music,” he said.
So, when can we expect Apple Music? Fortunately, we’re not going to have to wait too much longer, the service will launch globally “later this month”.
“We are launching in over 100 countries later this month,” Cue revealed.
Looking at pricing, he added: “Apple Music will be just $9.99 per month – the price of an album. We want everyone to try it, so the first three months are free.”
For households not wanting to splash out on a number of accounts, a family pass will be offered.
“With Apple Music, for just $14.99, you can have up to six family members. Everyone gets their own account, their own library, it’s incredible value,” Cue announced.
Set to be available on Apple’s full array of mobile and desktop devices, the Cupertino-based company will launch reworked versions of iTunes in the coming weeks.
For those not on Apple’s hardware ecosystem, fret not, Android support will be added this autumn.