Apple Music Explained

kmj2318

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 22, 2007
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Naples, FL
There are so many misconceptions about what Apple Music is, what it does, and why it matters. I thought it would be helpful to give an overview of the service. I subscribe to Beats Music and Apple Music is almost a re-skin of Beats. So much of Apple Music comes directly from Beats.

Discover, Radio, and Connect are the three main features that are being advertised. These sections live in their respective tabs.


Discover
The "For You" and "New" tabs make up Discover. "For You" is like the "Just For You" tab in Beats. A few times a day it updates with new playlists and albums it thinks you might like. These suggestions are based on what you listened to, saved, and favorited. It is not all hip-hop, all new music, or all mainstream, as I've seen some people suggest. For example, I was listening to a few Swans albums in Beats, and I was recommended The No Wave Movement playlist. It's relevant to what I was listening to. I've found a lot of depth and nuance to all the genres too.

The "New" tab is not tailored to your tastes. It's just new releases sorted by genre.



Radio
From the Apple website, it lists both "Listen to Apple Music radio stations" and "Listen to Beats 1 radio station" features. These are two separate things. Beats 1 is the live broadcast, and it looks to be the only one available so far. I expect Beats 1 to be very mainstream. If you are not into that, you'll be able to make your own station by just pressing "Start Station" while listening to a song. Much like the stations in other streaming services, or the stations currently in iTunes Radio, for example. People who don't pay can listen to Beats 1 and the non-live stations, but with limited skips. Paid members are given unlimited skips.



Connect
Connect is a live stream of updates by artists that you like. Pretty simple.


My Music
This is the place for any music you have added to your collection. Every song, album, or playlist has an ellipsis icon next to it. Pressing it brings up a menu and you can choose to add it to your collection. Choosing "Add to Library" will send it to your My Music. You can also chose "Make Available Offline" so it downloads to your device. This is so you don't have to stream when on cellular. You will clearly know what music is saved for offline thanks to little triangle icons next to titles. There's also a toggle to show only downloaded songs, which helps to prevent accidentally streaming from cellular. "Streaming service" seems to have misled people into thinking that it can only stream. You can stream or download anything you want.




Paying vs. Not Paying
If you don't pay, you can still listen to Beats 1, and also the non-live stations but with limited skips, you can not listen to any song you feel like, and you don't get the recommendations feature. If you pay, everything is unlimited. You can skip as much as you want, listen to anything you want, and save to listen offline.
 
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boston04and07

macrumors 68000
May 13, 2008
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This was very helpful! So in a nutshell, it appears as though my current iTunes Radio stations will live but with unlimited skips if I subscribe? If so, sweet.
 
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batmandan6

macrumors newbie
Jun 2, 2014
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Now, what does this mean for my existing library? Can I ditch that, pay for this and save anything I want for offline? (I'm on a family plan with 8gb of shared data.)
 

kaylerrific

macrumors regular
Dec 26, 2012
116
4
Now, what does this mean for my existing library? Can I ditch that, pay for this and save anything I want for offline? (I'm on a family plan with 8gb of shared data.)
It sounds like you existing library becomes redundant because if you pay then everything in Apple's library becomes your existing library.
 

shenfrey

macrumors 68020
May 23, 2010
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Its crazy to think that the entire iTunes library is going to be available for just $9.99p/m. I mean over 30 million songs, pretty much every song. I mean spotify over here in the UK has so many tracks that I can't listen to because its not available in my country, Apple Music is about to change all that. Kudos for making this happen Apple, couldn't of been easy.
 
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anshuvorty

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2010
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California, USA
The problem with music services, at least for me, is that my taste is so specific and limited that it is hard for me to truly appreciate these platforms and apps that are being advertised. It is hard to find new music that pertains to covers of video game music, soundtracks, notable classical performances, and instrumental music. I will give Apple Music a try, but I doubt the new personalization option will actually discover these nuanced taste in music that I have developed over my lifetime.

Spotify can't do it, Pandora can't do it, and I am left with only option of downloading the music that I love and playing it off locally as nothing like these types of pieces can be discovered simply through "streaming."

Anyone else have similar issues with music streaming/discoverability or am I the only one?
 
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nebo1ss

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
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Its crazy to think that the entire iTunes library is going to be available for just $9.99p/m. I mean over 30 million songs, pretty much every song. I mean spotify over here in the UK has so many tracks that I can't listen to because its not available in my country, Apple Music is about to change all that. Kudos for making this happen Apple, couldn't of been easy.
I think you are assuming that the Apple music Library and the Itunes Library are the same thing. I am not sure they are because I would imagine that Artist can chose not to have their music streamed but only available for sale. Just think Taylor Swift and her reaction to streaming of her music.
 

Ledgem

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
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Its crazy to think that the entire iTunes library is going to be available for just $9.99p/m. I mean over 30 million songs, pretty much every song.
"Just" $9.99 per month? I get that's a deal to some people, but is it really all that great?

I listen to a lot of music. I was using Pandora, then iTunes Radio (with a Match subscription), then back to Pandora when iTunes Radio became unstable for me. Looking over my financial records, I spent somewhere between $30-80 on music last year (wide range due to Apple bundling software and music purchases into a single receipt). I feel like I buy an album (or at least a few songs) every other month, but based on the records, it's less frequent.

Now Apple wants me to pay $120 per year - which is somewhere between 1.5-4x as much as I normally spend on music - and I completely lose access once I stop paying? There isn't even a perk like "download an album for free to keep once every three months"?

I don't care about human-curated lists, and I don't care about radio with a DJ. We got into the "algorithm-based music services" that Iovine trashed at the WWDC because they offered better music discovery than your average radio station, and customization. I like to dip into those streaming services, discover new songs and artists, and then make purchases based on that. I know the industry would just love to take us back to the days when they had better control over what we were going to listen to, but it seems like a step backward from the consumer's perspective.

$10 a month... those users coming from Spotify are used to this pricing, but Pandora is $5 per month, and iTunes Match was $25 per year (a little over $2 per month, if you want to break it down that way). I know Apple wanted to price it at $7.99 and the industry forced them higher, but even that would have seemed a bit steep to me.

Maybe it'll be the future, but I'm not convinced that it's better. I'm willing to give it a try, but I'm not sold - especially at that price.

But thank you @kmj2318 for this write-up. There were a surprising number of gaps in the features in the WWDC keynote (and they didn't mention any compelling reason to go with this over competing services), and this went a long way toward clearing those up.
 
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Sharkey311

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Jan 11, 2013
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I get Spotify with a student discount for $4.99 a month. If Apple offers that price to me and I am able to use Apple Music through Google Chrome at work, then I'll do it no question.
 
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Hanterdro

macrumors regular
Nov 23, 2014
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Are the the new "Apple Music" Streaming App on the old Music App (iTunes Sync/iTunes Match) two different Apps?
 

Sharkey311

Suspended
Jan 11, 2013
825
146
Are the the new "Apple Music" Streaming App on the old Music App (iTunes Sync/iTunes Match) two different Apps?
I don't think they will be once its released...which is a shame because the iOS 8.4 beta Music app had a lot of the new features that will be the future one that I didn't care for. Navigation is not easy and you can no longer tap the album art in the Now Playing to see the list of tracks in the song's album.
 

Hanterdro

macrumors regular
Nov 23, 2014
119
142
I don't think they will be once its released...which is a shame because the iOS 8.4 beta Music app had a lot of the new features that will be the future one that I didn't care for. Navigation is not easy and you can no longer tap the album art in the Now Playing to see the list of tracks in the song's album.
I hope for two different apps, because I don't need the streaming stuff. The music which I hear is rarely at iTunes. I just need iTunes Match and don't want and need tabs like "for you", "connect", "new" :)
 

iamangeln

macrumors regular
Jul 10, 2013
106
4
I keep thinking about it as(minus the social aspect of Apple Music) as an iTunes Store with full "previews" of any song on the iTunes Store, which is pretty awesome considering spotify doesn't have music as fast as iTunes does. This definitely gives Apple leverage, plus it's classy and clean looking, opposed to spotify which needs a UI make over, It's a nightmare lol. BTW thanks for the sum up, very well put together
 

kmj2318

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 22, 2007
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Naples, FL
I hope for two different apps, because I don't need the streaming stuff. The music which I hear is rarely at iTunes. I just need iTunes Match and don't want and need tabs like "for you", "connect", "new" :)
I'm expecting that your existing library will live in My Music on the new app.
 

devinthomas

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2013
210
235
Is there a way to share or subscribe to someone else's playlists like in Spotify? That's a big deal for me and I don't remember that being addressed.
 
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QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
10,941
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Bay Area
Thanks for the explanation. I thought the keynote was very unclear on this.

I can't see myself using it, personally. I have no desire for either a live radio station with a DJ (more music and less talking, please) or to "connect" with artists. Just totally uninteresting to me.

The custom "stations" sound basically like pandora or iTunes Radio. Except that pandora is way, way better at delivering on-target new music than iTunes Radio is, so there'd have to be a massive improvement in Apple Music for me to trade in pandora.

That leaves the streaming and offline playlists. At $10/month, I'll pass, as I spend a lot less than that on music and get to permanently keep whatever I do buy.

I'm not trashing the service generally, but it doesn't sound like it's for me.
 

rritterson

macrumors 6502
Jul 10, 2008
357
1
DC USA
Has anyone seen what happens to your existing iTunes Match uploads if you sign up for Apple Music? Do they migrate automatically, or do you have to upload them again?
 

sziehr

macrumors 6502a
Jun 11, 2009
667
485
Thanks for the write up. I think they let the wrong person present what this app could do and what it was all about. I heard very little about the streaming service and playlist AKA the spotify portion of the application. I was like what are they doing making a new ping with no streaming. I see now it is beats skinned with a little more added but no much. I am an avid spotify user. I also have almost 600 gig of lossless content for my stereo. I was hoping more for a tidal and spotify baby. The lossless at home and lower quality on the go since it knows your not on a trusted home network. So much for wanting apple to really plus something. This connect jazz feels like ping with a twist and will most assuredly be a miserable mess no one uses I expect it to be stripped or minimized in the future. This is just my humble thoughts on something i can not even use yet. I just kinda think it could have killed spotify dead and it came up short of this music lover.
 
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batting1000

macrumors 604
Sep 4, 2011
7,236
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Florida
Not interested in spending $10 a month for music, but looks like a really nice service...no doubt about that. The presentation of it at the keynote was nice. Will definitely do the trial
 
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