Apple Music Launches Today: Here’s What You Need to Know

Should you sign up to Apple's brand new streaming service?

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

Apple Music is set to make its grand debut today alongside the iOS 8.4 update, and it’s a pretty big deal. Regardless of whether or not you found its unveiling to be underwhelming, or you were a bit putt off by the PR shitstorm that accompanied Taylor Swift’s abandonment of the service due to its treatment of its artists (which she later reneged on, fortunately for Apple), it’s still a big deal in the music industry and looks to finally give Spotify some competition in the streaming space.

Here’s everything you need to know about the service before its launch.

 

When will Apple Music launch?

Apple Music will launch today, on June 30th, at the following times worldwide:

  • 8AM PDT
  • 11AM EDT
  • 4PM BST
  • 5PM CEST
  • 8.30PM IST

 

How much will Apple Music cost?

Apple Music will cost $9.99 per month, which is roughly the same subscription fee as comparable services such as Spotify. However, Apple Music has the added option of a family plan, that allows six family members to use one subscription for $14.99 per month that will allow them each to use the service via iCloud family sharing. There will also be a three-month free trial period.

 

What audio quality does it stream in?

Apple Music actually streams at a lower audio quality than Spotify’s Premium service, coming in at 256kbps compared to its rival’s 320kbps. However, Tidal streams at a far superior 1140kbps and it still fell out of the App Store’s top 700 chart within a month, so it seems that a higher audio quality won’t necessarily get more subscribers on board.

 

How much music is available at launch?

Apple Music will launch with 30 million songs, along with combining your purchased music from the likes of iTunes so you can mix and match tracks in your playlists.

 

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Will it have radio stations?

Apple Music will launch with the Beats 1 Internet radio station, which will feature sets from renowned DJs from around the world. If Apple continues to support the station into the future, it could prove to be one of the service’s biggest selling points.

 

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Is there a free option?

For those who don’t want to fork out for a monthly membership, you can still listen to the Beats 1 Internet radio service, with iTunes Match subscribers also able to listen to any music uploaded to the iCloud through Apple Music. In other words, its free option won’t be as alluring as Spotify’s, but there are still features available to you if you don’t plump up the $9.99 monthly fee.

 

Where does Siri come into this?

Siri will have a pretty big impact on Apple Music, with the A.I. personal assistant allowing you to browse the service’s catalog of music using your voice along with inserting a little bit of personality into proceedings. Users can request that Siri play the most popular tracks within a specific genre, or play the number one song from a specific date in history, meaning pretty soon everyone will know what track topped the charts on their birthday.

 

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Will it come to Android?

Weirdly, yes. Apple Music won’t be exclusive to the iOS platform, with it also set to release on Android. Unfortunately, it won’t be releasing today, with it set to launch on the Android operating system in the fall. 

 

What does it have in the way of extra features?

Apple Music will come loaded with music videos, along with a Connect feature that basically allows users to follow the social media activity of their favorite artists. Nothing essential, then, but they do make for fun added perks.

 

Should I download it?

Absolutely. As outlined in our feature comparing Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal, it’s shaping up to be a very impressive service that could really prove to be a threat to its competitors. While we’ll have to wait and see if it lives up to the hype, early impressions are good and iOS users should definitely take advantage of its three-month free trial.