At the Worldwide Developer’s Conference keynote next week, Apple is expected to reveal the new music streaming service called “Apple Music” which will be a direct competition to Spotify and Rdio. There will be three main components to this service: unlimited streaming, iTunes Radio with the new Music app and Artist Activity.
Unlimited streaming, which is the first component of the new Apple Music, will allow users to listen to whatever music they want whenever they want, much like Spotify. Apple will also be matching Spotify’s monthly price of $10 and offer augmented Internet radio DJ’s. Apple will likely announce a trial period of between one to three months for users to test out the service. Many customers who have previously bought new music online have instead started to stream the same songs for a monthly subscription price. I have caught myself doing the same thing: when a new album comes out, I’ll stream it on Spotify and solely listen to it on there unless I know I need to buy the song then I go to iTunes to download it. Apple has noticed this trend so they are going to be offering unlimited streaming of music available on the iTunes Store at a price. They are preparing to cannibalize sales from the iTunes Store in favor of their new Apple Music subscription service. Why buy a $10 album that will get old after a month when you can stream the album (and many others) for $10/month?
iTunes Radio with redesigned Music app
The second component will be the completely redesigned Music app and new iTunes Radio. The app, which is currently being tested by developers and public beta testers, will debut in late June as the iOS 8.4 update. The Music app has an all-new design and is organized into three tabs: My Music, Playlists and iTunes Radio. The music in the “My Music” tab are all your songs and albums that you own, including those stored on your device and in the cloud. The second tab, “Playlists”, shows your recently added playlists on top, your Smart Playlists, like Top 25 and My Top Rated next, then your other playlists are in alphabetical order on the bottom. The final tab, “Radio”, is for the iTunes Radio. Each of these tabs have new features as well, like the Miniplayer and gestures to change tabs.
Apple’s iTunes Radio is also receiving some updates as a part of Apple Music. The new radio streaming service will have custom DJ stations run by celebrities like Dr. Dre, Pharrell Williams and Drake, and there will be more Pandora-like stations. For example, I have a station on Pandora called “Classical for Studying Radio”, which plays pop songs with a Classical touch. Searching for something similar on iTunes Radio is a nightmare since several stations come up and it’s difficult to find the right one. Listeners who have a paid subscription will be able to skip an unlimited number of times and play ad-free music, while those without a subscription will have a limited number of skips and have to listen to ads, like how the service is now.
The last component of the new Apple Music is Artist Activity. This feature creates a page for artists to share their content, favorite music of other artists, share exclusive videos and show off their tour dates. Followers will use their iTunes account names to “like” and comment on posts by artists.
The new Apple Music service will be available to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV and Android users.