If you’ve got an iPhone 5 or later, on Tuesday, June 30th, you’re going to get a little notification that it’s time to update iOS. Among the many benefits of this update is Apple Music, the new music streaming service from Cupertino.
Well, sort of. It’s really an upgrade to the native Music app you’ve already got on your iPhone, where all the music on your iPhone’s hard drive is stored. They’re revamping that part, but Apple’s streaming service will be built right in to the app. The service includes curated playlists, discovery features, and radio stations, including Beats 1, a 24-hour station headlined by former BBC DJ Zane Lowe, playing all the latest hits and giving artist interviews.
So why not just stick with Spotify? Many of the features Apple is integrating into it’s service are already in Spotify. Well there are a few reasons Apple’s pitching out. One major one is that all of its radio stations are curated by the people on Apple’s new editorial team—not an algorithm. In addition, music experts from publications like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork curate many of the playlists in the “For You” discovery section.
The sheer size of Apple’s deals and resources could make it eclipse Spotify in the near future (no small feat, as Spotify has 20 million paid subscribers and 55 million who use the ad-supported free version), as Apple it taking advantage of its massive iTunes Store. But even indie labels are down with Apple—after Taylor Swift essentially made them change their policy to pay artists during the free, 3-week trial period. On the downside, you won’t see Apple Music for Android until later in the year, and despite strong showings from Apple’s new iPhones, Android still has a strong hold on smartphone market share.
There’s a few contextual playlists you can choose from, but they’re not as in-depth as the ones you’d get from Beats. For example, you get “workout” or “celebration,” but no “I feel like driving a tank over a refrigerator” (joke.) In addition, there will be four radio stations purely dedicated to working out, with hip-hop, rock, and pop variations. Once we get to try these, we’ll update you.
The one true benefit to your workout is that if you have a playlist in the native iPhone music app, you don’t have to switch back and forth between Spotify and your favorite tunes. It’s all in one place. What Apple hopes to help you do is make it easier to discover new music while you workout, and if you dig the song, simply add it to your music by downloading it to your phone at no cost except the monthly fee ($10 per month, $15 on a family plan of five phones). Will it change your life—or workout, for that matter—if you switch from Spotify (or Rdio, or Google Play Music) to Apple Music? Not a lot, in all likelihood, but due to the sheer scale of Apple’s iTunes store, their human-curated playlists, and the resources at their disposal, we wouldn’t put it past Apple to own the go-to streaming service in a few years.