Apple’s latest addition to iOS, Apple Music is offering a brand new way to stream music to Apple devices, much like Spotify and Tidal. Coming as a part of the iOS 8.4 software update it’s completely free to give it a go.
The service itself is making plenty of promises to users who enjoy their tunes, but even if it does talk the talk, can it really walk the walk as well?
More music than you’ll ever need…
The main draw for any streaming service is the sheer amount of music that’s included, so it’s not very surprising to see Apple bring a very similar number of tracks to its service as is on Spotify and Tidal – around 30 million in total.
Our favourite pop diva is included on the Apple Music streaming library however, with Taylor Swift’s displeasure with artist payments being soothed. This means that her latest album, 1989, is included, unlike on Spotify – score one point to Apple there.
Surprisingly, Apple hasn’t included its entire iTunes library on the service, with some big name artists like the Beatles still getting tied in behind a buy-only velvet rope. In general, this isn’t a common problem, but it does raise an aura of mystery when you have your fingers crossed looking for a certain song or artist.
Something of a double-edged sword, Apple Music is tying in with iTunes to generate something of a mixed net between the two services which can work with and against you.
On one hand, by linking the services it lets you listen to a track on Apple Music and then transfer straight over to iTunes to buy the song outright. However, this seems to defeat the point of Apple Music as its own service, unless you don’t plan on renewing the following month, as for your £9.99 you can listen to the song freely anyway and even make it available offline if needs be.
Similarly, Apple has made it so that iTunes goes through the effort of adding all of your previously downloaded songs to your Music library, which is actually a neat trick. Equally, if you have a bit of a poor track record with your downloaded music then it can prove problematic to rid yourself of songs you’d previously cast off your iTunes after being brought over.
It’s not very surprising to see Apple bring a very similar number of tracks to its service as is on Spotify and Tidal – around 30 million in total.
Apple Music Streaming: Beats 1 Radio
Arguably the biggest part of the Apple Music addition, Beats 1 Radio was well-hyped going into launch. It brings a nice way to make the most of the Apple Music service, bringing quality music right to our ears without making us pay anything whatsoever.
It comes as standard with Apple Music, so even if you don’t splash out the £9.99 each month, you’ll still get access to the station. Also, for a free service we’ve actually found that the quality is showing that classy Apple glow that’s synonymous with all of its products.
Varying from the likes of hard-core rap, down to the latest pop hits, the DJs behind Beats 1 Radio have nailed down some great tracks for the service, making it good to listen to at most times. Former BBC Radio One product Zane Lowe is the headliner of course, but other DJs also have an influence – and it makes for a brilliant experience.
Bringing in a human element to the judgement of music has proved a hit – working much better than computerised algorithms.
It works by having you select your favourite music with a brilliant bubble-based interface, and then suggests playlists made by real human beings that should reach out to you. Admittedly, we didn’t expect this to prove a fruitful adventure, but having tested it we’ve struggled to find ourselves not tapping our feet or singing along in the shower to some of the songs which have been suggested to us.
It seems that the people behind this have taste, and aren’t simply throwing a dart at a board with their selections…
Apple Music Cost
Apple is offering its streaming service for free for 3 months, after this you’ll need to shell out £9.99 per month, or £15.99 for a family package…
Apple Music streaming performance
So far, we haven’t found too many issues with the performance of Apple Music, but for our ‘for you’ tab taking an age to load after selecting our favourite artists. However, some reports have focused in on complaints about crashes and other performance issues taking hold.
This is Apple’s first shot at this kind of service, so we’d expect some teething issues, so if you don’t fancy risking it, we’d suggest biding your time before getting involved. However, as we’ve mentioned, these problems appear to be few and far between, so there’s no need to be too cautious.
Apple Music verdict
Apple’s given us a brand new way to take in our music, and but for a few minor niggles around performance and the user interface, it does this well.
Given a bit of a shake-up, we can imagine that Apple Music will become a real competitor to Spotify, offering a brilliant selection of music for an affordable price.
Whilst you might not be struck with the simplest way to listen to new songs with it, it should be quick to grow on you, and have you contemplating parting with just £10 each month to keep it going after its 3-month free trial.
Discover the perfect handset for all your music needs over at Mobiles.co.uk.