Apple Launches New Streaming Service ‘Apple Music’, With Help From Trent Reznor & Drake

The makers of iTunes have taken another bite out of the music streaming pie, and it looks set to be a pretty juicy one. Dubbed ‘Apple Music’, the new app teams the power of the iTunes library with Apple‘s answer to the industry-leading streaming model championed by Spotify and Jay-Z’s all-star alternative, Tidal.

The result is a streaming app which offers listeners access to the entire iTunes library, combining streaming, downloads, a 24/7 radio station, and a new way to “connect” with artists.

Launching overnight at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Apple Music has been billed by CEO Tim Cook as “the next chapter in music”. Trent Reznor, Drake and founder of the app’s predecessor Beats Music, Jimmy Iovine, were also on hand to unveil the service to the waiting world, with Iovine setting the scene by describing the current state of music a “multi-medium fragmented mess”.

“For fans, we’ve tried to create a complete experience,” he said (via Rolling Stone). “It’s all the ways you love music, all in one place.”

Here’s a basic rundown of the Apple Music anatomy:

Music Streaming

As well as packing every track in the iTunes store, plus all the music you’ve ripped and downloaded into your own iTunes library over the years, Apple Music lets fans watch tens of thousands of music videos, ad-free.

It also promises playlists tailored to fans’ tastes. But the big difference, as Beats’ Chief Creative Officer and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor explains, is that its playlists are curated by humans, not algorithms.

“There needs to be a place where music can be treated less like digital bits but more like the art it is, with a sense of respect and discovery,” Reznor says in a video introducing the service.

Dubbed the For You section, this feature of the Apple Music service promises to deliver a fresh mix of albums, new releases and playlists, which have been personalised just for – you guessed it – you, tiger.

24/7 Radio

The launch of Apple Music also brings with it the launch of Apple Music Beats 1, a new 24-hour worldwide radio station run by some of the top DJ’s from across the globe, including former BBC tastemaker, Zane Lowe.

“We have real music fans running this place, incredible DJs,” Lowe says in the app’s promo video.

Connecting With Artists

There’s also a social media element to Apple Music, called Connect, which was unveiled at the launch ceremony by Drake. The rap superstar explained that Connect lets artists share videos, lyrics and more, while letting fans comment and interact with them directly. Drake also hinted that the app would play an important role in the release of his next album.

Watch: Drake Announces Apple Music

Paid Subscription

Apple Music will launch on most platforms from June 30th, and offer punters a three-month free trial. While it’s expected to cost US$9.99 a month, local pricing will be announced closer to the launch date.

The question of whether or not Apple Music will be good for artists is a question that still seems to need answering. Speaking with Vulture, artist and digital music commentator David Lowery said he “couldn’t see” Apple paying artists any more than the other streaming sites (a 10 per cent cap on the revenue generated from their music). However, he did add that the movement away from the “freemium” model could only be a good thing.

“If Apple is moving people towards paid streaming, that’s a net benefit for artists. It moves us in the right direction,” he said. “There’s obviously a lot still to be learned.”

The Apple Music launch ceremony was capped off by The Weeknd performing a new song, Can’t Feel My Face.

Watch: The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face

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