On a day in which the technology giant Apple previewed its latest mobile computing operating system, introduced its OS X El Capitan feature, and previewed a new OS for its Watch line, the company saved the biggest news for last.
According to Cupertino, Calif.-based company, Apple Music is a global, 24-hours a day streaming music service that enables music fans to choose from a diverse collection cultivated from a leading panel of experts for playback on iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, Mac computers, PCs, Apple TVs and Android phones.
The service will launch in 100 countries on June 30 for a fee of £9.99 per month. An alternative family plan will also be available that allows as many as six family members to stream content for £14.99 per month. In addition, as part of the launch, Apple is offering three-month free memberships to the service.
“We love music, and the new Apple Music service puts an incredible experience at every fan’s fingertips,” says Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet software and services, Apple, Inc. “All the ways people love enjoying music come together in one App – a revolutionary streaming service, live worldwide radio and an exciting way for fans to connect with artists.”
Jimmy Iovine, well-known music industry executive and Apple, Inc. team member, boasts the service is exactly what the music industry needs to drive a new era of music consumption.
“Apple Music is really going to move the needle for fans and artists,” says Jimmy. “Online music has become a complicated mess of Apps, services and websites. Apple Music brings the best features together for an experience every music lover will appreciate.”
Apple Music is said to provide users with a streaming service that enables complete access to the company’s music library. In a press statement Apple points out, “Whether from the iTunes Store or ripped CDs, users’ music lives in a single location alongside its catalog that includes more than 30 million songs. You an stream any song, album or playlist you choose—or better yet—let Apple Music do the work for you.”
The more users listen, the more personalised the service becomes through its ability to learn preferences. Apple is also leveraging its Siri technology to ask the music service questions like, “Play me the best songs from 1994.”
Apple also announced its Beats 1 24-hour radio station that will allow a global audience to enjoy the same content all at the same time. Beats 1 will feature the DJs Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London.
To augment the service, Apple is also launching Music Connect. This option is designed to allow music fans to interact with their favourite artists to see song lyrics, backstage photos, videos, or even share song demos from their personal iPhones.
Following the news from Apple, the research company IBISWorld Media issued a press statement that says Apple’s music service will benefit consumers, particularly those that don’t typically purchase music. IBISWorld Media adds that Apple’s entry into the streaming market could adversely affect competitive services such as Spotify. But the research company points out that just because of the company’s collective muscle with the iTunes family of products, it does not guarantee success.
“If Apple can successfully generate substantial market share for subscription-based music services, the company will possess far more leverage with which it may be able to negotiate even slimmer royalty rates from publishers,” estimates IBISWorld Media. “However, considering the public’s tepid support for iTunes Radio, Apple’s 2013 response to internet radio playlist services such as Spotify and last.fm, it is not yet clear if the company’s new streaming service will be able to gain significant market share.”
The only major omission in Apple’s music service announcement is at what level of quality the service will stream. Competitive services offer “CD quality” audio as a streaming option. Apple has in the past delivered digital audio innovations such as its Mastered for iTunes program, but there is no word whether its streams will be at similar quality levels as its music downloads (256k), something something inferior such as 128K, or something approaching the quality levels as its Apple Lossless codec, which could range from approximately 700kbps to 1,000kbps.