| 30 May 2024
Apple loves music, so invented iPod, started iTunes and now Apple Music

MUMBAI: Maybe the revolution in the music industry had already started when the first set of music streaming services were unveiled. However, with Apple Music coming into the picture, the music streaming business has obviously taken another step forward. Apple will soon be pouring in monies to market the service, which will not only benefit Apple Music but also help existing players like Spotify, Pandora, Google and many others, by creating more awareness about music streaming. The much talked about service was announced at Worldwide Developers Conference on 8 June in San Francisco, and was followed by a spur of comments.

Opening comments by Apple Inc.’s chief executive officer Tim Cook on the service stated that Apple Music will change the way “you experience music forever.” When it is released on 30 June, people will get a first-hand experience of what the service claims to offer.

Yet another surprise element during the announcement was rapper Drake who said Apple Music will simplify things for modern musicians and the modern consumer. The ‘Take Care’ rapper was previously in talks with Tidal- a music service with high fidelity sound quality and is promoted by Jay Z, before endorsing Apple. It is rumoured that Drake will contribute guest-curated playlists after the launch and will also release some of his new material on the service.

The music service is priced at $9.99 a month with the first three months offered for free. Families with up to six members will be able to enjoy music for $14.99/month.

The service which has a catalogue of 30-million songs will be available for iPhone and Mac users from 30 June in over 100 countries, and it is expected to be made available to Android users by fall this year. It will also have a worldwide live radio station from Apple broadcasting 24 hours a day.

Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said, “We love music, and the new Apple Music service puts an incredible experience at every fan’s fingertips. 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.”

Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine said, “Apple Music is really going to move the needle for fans and artists. 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.” Last year, Apple acquired part of Beats Electronics which included the Beats hardware division (Beats Electronics) and the subscription-based music streaming service-Beat Music, for an estimated sum of $3 billlion. Apple Music was built with the support of the Beats team.

When radio DJ/record producer- Zane Lowe quit BBC Radio 1 to join Apple, talks were already on regarding how big the new service could be. But with introduction of Apple’s first ever live radio station dedicated entirely to music and music culture-Beats 1, a 24-hour listening experience; it is clear what Apple was planning for so long. Other influential DJs involved in the projects are Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga. Apple’s radio station will offer interviews, guest hosts and the “best in the world of music”. The service promises to provide new stations from various genres like indie rock to classical and folk to funk, with each one expertly curated; something that many other streaming services offer as well. However, we have to still wait and see whether the claim Iovine made, that only Apple can make the eco-system bigger and better with elegance and simplicity, will happen.

Apple Music will also have Siri searching songs for users, making the search option more personal. The new service also offers Apple Music Connect through which artists can share lyrics, backstage photos, videos or even release their latest song directly to fans directly from their iPhone. Fans can comment on or like anything an artist has posted, and share it via messages, Facebook, Twitter and email.

Things for Apple might already be looking up, considering post the company’s announcement shares for RealNetworks (which partially owns Rhapsody) and Pandora Media fell. Meanwhile, Apple’s shares rose, albeit marginally. Spotify and other rivals are also expected to be affected once Apple Music is launched.