|Opened||June 30, 2015|
|Pricing model||$9.99 / single license
$14.99 / family license
$4.99 / student license
|Availability||Widely in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania, and in parts of Africa and the Middle East|
Apple Music is a music-streaming service, developed by Apple Inc. Users select music to stream to their device on-demand, or they can listen to existing, curated playlists. The service also includes the Internet radio station Beats 1, that broadcasts live to over 100 countries 24 hours a day, and the blog platform Connect, that allows artists to share their posts, photos, videos, and tracks with subscribers. Apple Music provides music recommendations based on a user's taste, and the iOS application is integrated with Siri voice commands. The service was announced on June 8, 2015, and launched on June 30, in over 100 countries worldwide. New subscribers get a 3-month free trial before the service becomes paid-only.
As of December 2016, Apple Music has more than 20 million paying subscribers.
Apple sent out a press release on June 8, 2015, that their music streaming service, Apple Music, would launch worldwide on June 30. The press release included details on the service's features; Apple Music, which lets users to select music to stream to their device on-demand or use an already-existing playlist curated by "music experts"; Beats 1, the service's 24-hour radio station led by DJ Zane Lowe that broadcasts in over 100 countries; and Connect, which allows artists to share "lyrics, backstage photos, videos or even release their latest song directly to fans directly from their iPhone". The press release also contained information on pricing and availability; starting June 30, "music fans around the world are invited to a 3-month free membership", after which the service would have a monthly subscription cost. The subscription costs for individual plans in the United States and Canada were $9.99, in Australia $11.99, in the UK £9.99, and in Europe €9.99, close to the economic equilibrium point for the recording industry estimated by the Open Music Model. For family plans the prices were, in the US $14.99, in Australia $17.99, in the UK £14.99, and in Europe €14.99, for up to 6 people.
The Apple Music app has several tabs. "Library" shows the user's music collection, with options to view songs by "Playlists", "Artists", "Albums", "Songs", or "Downloaded Music". The tab also shows music recently added to the library. The "For You" section recommends music for the user. Human expert selections supplement the algorithmic curation. "Browse" shows new album releases from popular artists, as well as different categories, including "New Music", "Curated Playlists", "Videos", "Top Charts", and "Genres". The "Radio" tab incorporates some aspects of iTunes Radio, such as ad-supported stations that play genre-specific or artist-related music, depending on the user's preferences. The "Search" tab features a search box, as well as a list of recent user searches and overall trending searches happening on the service.
Before Apple Music, the company's iPod and iTunes were known for having "revolutionized digital music". Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was known to be opposed to the idea of music subscription services. When Apple bought audio equipment maker Beats Electronics in 2014, Apple gained ownership of Beats' own service Beats Music, and made Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers responsible for the iTunes Radio service. Business Insider later reported that Apple was planning to merge the two services together. Apple also hired noted British radio DJ Zane Lowe to serve as a music curator.
After a period of rumors and anticipation, Sony Music CEO Doug Morris confirmed on June 7, 2015, that Apple had plans to announce a music streaming service, saying "It's happening tomorrow", with launch later in the month. Morris emphasized several times that he prefers paid streaming as opposed to ad-supported, from a financial perspective. Furthermore, Morris said he expects the service to be the "tipping point" to accelerate the growth of streaming, along with arguing that Apple has "$178 billion dollars in the bank. And they have 800 million credit cards in iTunes." as opposed to Spotify, which "never really advertised because it’s never been profitable". Morris further argued that "Apple will promote this like crazy and I think that will have a halo effect on the streaming business. A rising tide will lift all boats. It's the beginning of an amazing moment for our industry".
Royalty payment policyEdit
Shortly before Apple Music was released, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift wrote an open letter publicly criticizing Apple's decision to not reimburse artists during a user's three-month free trial period and announced that she would be holding back her album 1989 from the service. She said the policy was "unfair" as "Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months". UK independent record label Beggars Group also criticized the three-month trial period, saying it struggled "to see why rights owners and artists should bear this aspect of Apple's customer acquisition costs".
The day after Swift's letter, Apple's Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue announced on Twitter that Apple had changed its policy, and that Apple Music "will pay artist for streaming, even during customer's free trial period". On Twitter, Swift wrote "After the events of this week, I've decided to put 1989 on Apple Music... And happily so". She concluded saying it was "the first time it's felt right in my gut to stream my album".
Record label cartelEdit
In negotiations with record labels for the new service, Apple allegedly attempted to encourage record labels to pull their content from the free, ad-supported tiers of competing services such as Spotify in order to drive adoption of Apple Music, and offered an incentive to Universal Music Group to pull its content from YouTube. The U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission launched an investigation into this alleged cartel in May 2015.
Announcement and launchEdit
The announcement happened as the signature "one more thing..." reveal at Apple's conference. Hip hop artist Drake appeared onstage at the announcement event to elaborate on how he used the Connect platform, and Apple subsequently emphasized how "unsigned artists can share their music on Connect, too", in contrast to the iTunes Store, where small, independent artists were finding it difficult to participate.
Apple Music launched on June 30, 2015, in 100 countries. New users receive a 3-month trial subscription, which changes to a monthly fee after 3 months. A family plan allows six users to share a subscription at a reduced rate. Apple originally sought to enter the market at a lower price point for the service, but the music industry rejected the plan. The service debuted as an updated Music app on the iOS 8.4 update. Apple TV and Android device support was planned for a "fall" 2015 launch. A previously unreleased song by Pharrell Williams, entitled "Freedom", was used in promotional material and announced as an exclusive release on the launch of the service. The "History of Sound" advert for the launch of the Apple Music service was soundtracked by the tune There Is No Light by Wildbirds & Peacedrums, from their 2009 album The Snake. Upon its launch, Beats Music subscriptions and playlists were migrated to Apple Music, and the service was discontinued.
In May 2016, a student membership was announced, that discounted the regular price of a subscription by 50%. The student plan was initially only available for eligible students in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, but was expanded to an additional 25 countries in November 2016.
In February 2016, Apple Music was available in a total of 113 countries, reaching many areas of the world where competing music streaming services not yet covered.
In June 2016, Apple announced at their Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) that Apple Music had passed 15 million paid subscribers.
On August 3, 2016, Apple Music was launched in Israel with the individual plan priced at 19.90 ILS (US$5.21) per month, and the a family plan priced 29.90 ILS (US$7.83), this price point puts Apple Music in line with existing streaming services in the country provided by Pelephone Musix. Apple Music's 3-month free trial is available to Israeli users as it is to the rest of the world.
On August 4, 2016, Apple Music expanded service into South Korea. Apple Music's standard 3-month free trial is also available to Korean users. Korean customers can sign-up for the service at US$7.99 a month for individual plans and US$11.99 a month for family plans. This price point makes the service competitive with the already popular Korean music streaming service MelOn.
In September 2016, Apple Music passed 17 million paying subscribers.
In August 2016, Bloomberg L.P. announced that its Bloomberg Radio service is now available on Apple Music in over 100 countries around the world, including the United States, Germany, Hong Kong, and Japan. Bloomberg Radio features global business and financial news coverage from top Bloomberg journalists 24 hours a day. Regularly scheduled shows include The Bloomberg Advantage, Taking Stock, Bloomberg Law, and more.
Apple Music received mixed reviews at launch. Among the criticism, reviewers noted the "unintuitive" interface, bugs and battery life problems, and its offline services being contingent on using the iCloud Music Library feature. This feature takes away the ability for the user to sync music locally and has caused chaos for some users' music libraries. However, the service was praised for its smart functions. The Verge wrote that the service was similar to its contemporaries in regards to library size and cost. Mashable noted the emphasis on human curation in Apple Music, pointing out the various human curated radio stations and the accuracy of the curated playlists recommended to users in the For Me section. The author concluded saying "[T]he For Me section alone has made me excited about music for the first time in a long time." Ars Technica wrote that Apple's emphasis on unsigned artist participation in Connect could be an effort to restore the company's former reputation as a "tastemaker" in the mid-2000s.
Apple Music is compatible with iOS devices running version 8.4 or later, iTunes version 12.2 or later (OS X Mavericks or later; Windows 7 or later), and the Apple Watch. It received a release for Android devices (4.3 Jelly Bean or later) and Apple TV (4th generation or later) on November 10, 2015.
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