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Apple's latest updates, including iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, macOS Monterey, and HomePod 15.2 introduce support for the Apple Music Voice Plan, a cheaper version of Apple Music that's only able to be activated through Siri.


In our latest YouTube video, we tested the Apple Music Voice Plan to see if it's worth subscribing to for $4.99 per month (U.S. pricing), or if you're better off upgrading to the full Apple Music plan.

If you're not already an Apple Music subscriber, signing up for the voice plan is as simple as saying "Hey Siri, start my Apple Music Voice Plan," or activating it through an iOS device or Mac.

Those who are new to Apple Music will get the first seven days of access free to try it out, but if you turn on auto-renewal and sign up to pay a monthly fee, you can get a three-month free trial. That seven day option is if you don't sign up and don't allow it to renew after you test it out, and you won't be automatically billed.

The $4.99 per month Apple Music Voice Plan is entirely separate from the $9.99 per month full Apple Music subscription, which already includes all of the features of the Apple Music Voice Plan. If you already subscribe to Apple Music, you have full Siri access and won't also need the Apple Music Voice Plan.

Apple designed the Apple Music Voice Plan as a more limited version of the standard Apple Music subscription. It's primarily designed to allow you to ask for songs and albums from the Apple Music catalog by Siri request rather than through the Apple Music app interface.

So to find music, you'd just go ahead and ask Siri to play something instead of looking it up in the Apple Music app. You do need to have Siri enabled on your devices, and Apple Music Voice works well on all devices that support Siri - iPhone, iPad, Mac, and HomePod. It's particularly useful with CarPlay in the car and on the HomePod where the natural inclination is to use voice control.

Apple Music Voice Plan has a limited interface in the Apple Music app, but it does offer full access to Apple's song catalog and radio stations, as well as playlist suggestions. You can actually search for artists, albums, and songs using the Apple Music app, and you can listen to previews of songs, but not the full song. If you find a song in Apple Music that you want to play after hearing the preview from tapping it, you'll need to ask Siri to play the full version.

With the Apple Music Voice Plan, there is no option to add songs or albums to the Library, nor can you create playlists or save music for offline listening. If you want those features, you need to upgrade to the full Apple Music subscription.

Playing a song on an iOS device will give you the standard playback controls for playing, pausing, and skipping to the next track, plus you can also use features like AirPlay. It does use the continuous play option, so if you ask Siri to play one song, Siri will keep the music going with similar songs.

There is no support for Spatial Audio or Lossless Audio, both features that require the $9.99 per month Apple Music plan, nor is there an option to view lyrics, watch music videos, or see what friends are listening to.

All in all, it's not a bad idea to choose Apple Music Voice if you're going to use Siri exclusively on something like a HomePod and want to save some money, but there are a lot of additional features that you get with the extra $5 for the full $9.99 per month Apple Music plan.

Article Link: Testing Apple's New Apple Music Voice Plan in iOS 15.2
 

ipedro

macrumors 603
Nov 30, 2004
5,680
7,011
Toronto, ON
Apple Music Voice Plan is for people who just want music playing and want to use the Apple Music features of an Apple device with Siri as its primary UI like Apple Watch or HomePod. You're paying less to use the same exact user interface you would already use on a HomePod mini or an Apple Watch with AirPods.

This is to give those users access to Music, if they don't already subscribe. This is not for iPhone or Mac Apple Music users, though it'll still work there. This is not for those who pick specific songs to play. Your way of using Apple Music is outside the scope of this tier and you should (and probably do) have the full Apple Music experience.

If you already go around the house asking your HomePod to "play music that I like" or lift your wrist as you begin a run and say "Hey Siri, play workout music", then this is for you and it'll work the same way, but for half the price.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 68040
Dec 8, 2008
3,443
3,918
I think I should downgrade since I don't use any of the features of the current plan.

It's still possible to browse the Music app and find songs/albums that you can then ask Siri to play. And that's pretty much all I need.
 
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citysnaps

macrumors G3
Oct 10, 2011
8,922
17,429
An excellent deal at 50% off the regular subscription as I only use AM with Siri for my HomePods around the house. And cars via my iPhone bluetoothing into their radios.
 

4jasontv

macrumors 603
Jul 31, 2011
6,052
7,255
Apple Music Voice Plan is for people who just want music playing and want to use the Apple Music features of an Apple device with Siri as its primary UI like Apple Watch or HomePod. You're paying less to use the same exact user interface you would already use on a HomePod mini or an Apple Watch with AirPods.

This is to give those users access to Music, if they don't already subscribe. This is not for iPhone or Mac Apple Music users, though it'll still work there. This is not for those who pick specific songs to play. Your way of using Apple Music is outside the scope of this tier and you should (and probably do) have the full Apple Music experience.

If you already go around the house asking your HomePod to "play music that I like" or lift your wrist as you begin a run and say "Hey Siri, play workout music", then this is for you and it'll work the same way, but for half the price.
Agreed, but they need to restrict it to HomePod's and Apple TV. Making this available to iPhones will increase the chances that someone will use it in public to listen to their phone like it's 1983.
 

npmacuser5

macrumors 68000
Apr 10, 2015
1,514
1,658
That’s dumb.
I use Siri this way often. Why? I am using my iPad, could use the app and play on my HomePod. Let’s say songs playing and than I switch apps to YouTube. Sound interrupt music playing. Very annoying. Find a playlist in the app, tell Siri on HomePod to play it. Works perfectly. Also skipping, pausing, raising and lowering volume, no interruptions on my iPad. The combo use of app and Siri excellent.
 

adamclarkthomas

macrumors newbie
Nov 9, 2014
18
11
I’m still an iTunes Match only subscriber, and one of the things that drives me bonkers is how you can’t manually queue up songs on a HomePod using an iOS device. Not Airplay-ing songs, but having the HomePod do the playback.

Probably this voice plan wouldn’t enable that ability, but I can dream.
 

jbc25

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2007
34
43
If this were a free tier or a dollar, it could be compelling. But at $4.99 it just doesn’t seem discounted enough to make it worth it. If you’re a poor college student, $4.99 is still pretty expensive and you’re likely going to just stick with Spotify with ads. If you’re an adult who can afford things, that $5 doesn’t make a big difference. You might as well spend an extra 5 and get something that’s actually usable.
 

Nrwrit3r

macrumors 6502a
May 25, 2010
689
81
This plan seems bizarre and I was trying to think of reasons Apple chose to do this. The two that come to mind:

1) To gain subscribers who use other music services (Spotify, Tidal) but own Homepods/apple devices

2) To try and increase the number of people using Siri for ML training purposes

Not sure if folks have other thoughts on why Apple would launch a product like this, but does seem very confusing to me!
 

jimbobb24

macrumors 68020
Jun 6, 2005
2,052
3,200
If this were a free tier or a dollar, it could be compelling. But at $4.99 it just doesn’t seem discounted enough to make it worth it. If you’re a poor college student, $4.99 is still pretty expensive and you’re likely going to just stick with Spotify with ads. If you’re an adult who can afford things, that $5 doesn’t make a big difference. You might as well spend an extra 5 and get something that’s actually usable.
I think apple has a student tier that is 4.99 for the whole thing. Poor college students...if they are so poor they dont have $60 extra a year = not eating out 3-10 times over a year....probably have more than enough worries without the concern of music designed to be played over HomePods which they dont have and agree probably just listening on youtube or with Spotify with ads.
 

EuroChilli

macrumors 6502
Apr 11, 2021
273
240
Belgium
If you’re an adult who can afford things, that $5 doesn’t make a big difference. You might as well spend an extra 5 and get something that’s actually usable.

Like Spotify.

I'm still peeved, to put it mildly, about how Apple Music butchered my carefully curated iTune library. It tool a while, but I managed to put it back together. Apple Music is going to have to try a lot harder to win me back, if at all.

You'll have to pay me $4.99 a month to use Siri for anything more than setting timers.

I don't even use Siri for that. The only thing I'll ask Siri to do is to 'name that tune' if I hear a song I like in public, then I play it on Spotify myself, even though I can ask Siri to do that.
 
Last edited:

jbc25

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2007
34
43
This plan seems bizarre and I was trying to think of reasons Apple chose to do this. The two that come to mind:

1) To gain subscribers who use other music services (Spotify, Tidal) but own Homepods/apple devices

2) To try and increase the number of people using Siri for ML training purposes

Not sure if folks have other thoughts on why Apple would launch a product like this, but does seem very confusing to me!
I think both of those reasons are true, but I don’t think it’s going to make that huge an impact on #1. The only way they can properly dunk on Spotify and the rest is with a free tier.
 
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