You’ve heard of Spotify, but maybe it’s time you learn about Apple Music. Though Spotify may have had a headstart, Apple Music’s hot on their heels — in fact, they’re already the most popular music streaming choice in the U.S. It’s really thanks to big-name partnerships, editorially curated playlists and a more “human” radio. Boasting over 50 million songs, users can stream or listen offline ad-free. It offers exclusive releases and an impressive integration to the iOS ecosystem. So if you’re still on the fence about which music streaming app to get, read on.
What’s different about Apple Music?
Curated playlists, songs suggestions based on what you listen to — these aren’t new. Most, if not all music streaming platforms, have algorithmically created playlists. But a large part of Apple Music’s content is also curated by editors and their content team, which can offer interesting shows and music you won’t find elsewhere.
Beats 1 Radio
For example, Beats 1 Radio is one of Apple Music’s more unique features. Spotify too has radio stations based around what you like to listen, but Beats 1 isn’t that. The 24/7 radio is hosted by actual DJs along with special shows — you know, like how a traditional radio is.
Sometimes artists themselves such as Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) and Annie Clark (St. Vincent) host these shows and offer fans a unique perspective into their artist’s tastes. Beyond Beats 1, there are also other live radio stations you can tune in to. Both local and even non-music ones like ESPN and BBC News, something you might not even find in other music streaming platforms.
Music curated by local editors
Sophisticated music discovery algorithms are common, but it’s refreshing to see Apple adding a human touch. Besides, with a DJ, you might be the first to discover new and unreleased tracks, especially music in the local scene, where it can sometimes be difficult to find on other music streaming platforms.
Apple Music’s focus is on human curation. If you’re into the local music scene, you’ll find no trouble getting recommendations. Features like New Artists Spotlight and even hosting live performances with the Up Next Live help connect artists with audiences and vice versa.
Case in point: Yuna. If you haven’t heard of her, maybe you will through Apple Music. The Malaysia singer-songwriter first found viral success when she uploaded her music to Myspace (that’s the OG Facebook for you Gen-Zs). Since then, her music has gone on to be produced by Pharrell Williams, broke into Top 10 of 2016’s Billboard Best R&B Albums and even had her album Chapters nominated in the Top 20 Best R&B Albums by Rolling Stone magazine.
In July, Yuna was invited on Ebro Darden’s Beats 1 Radio show to talk about her album Rouge, which was then broadcast to over 60 million subscribers. If you haven’t heard of her, you will soon on Apple Music.
Music Library & Integration with iOS devices
Apple Music may have started a decade later than Spotify but their music library touts just as many songs as them. In fact, they’ve even taken the extra steps to sign exclusive deals with big-name artists like Drake, Pharrell Williams, Future and Selena Gomez (who btw, just dropped her latest single Lose You To Love Me, which was shot entirely on an iPhone 11 Pro).
To top it off, your own local music from iTunes is seamlessly integrated into Apple Music. Sure, Spotify offers the same option, but you’re relegated to a separate tab for it and makes searching for your local music a somewhat complex process.
Not only that, you’ll be able to listen to your Apple Music on every Apple device you own, even on your Apple watch or in your car if you have a CarPlay. The Apple Music app is also available on Google Play too for Android users.
Other New Features
Pre-adds: Waiting for the release of an upcoming album from your favourite artist? Now you can pre-add it and it’ll automatically be in your library when released!
Apple Music for Artists: This is a great platform for any artists, especially up and coming ones. You’ll be able to track how your music is doing across a variety of stats that includes total plays, average daily listeners, most shazamed songs and more.
New Music Daily: It’s Apple Music first premiere global editorial playlist specially curated by a team that updates it with brand new music every single day.
Apple Music for Web: Don’t have any of your Apple devices around you? You can still listen to your tunes on the web!
Other nifty features coming to Apple Music includes time-synced lyrics and the ability to tune in to local broadcast radio. Click here for more info.
Apple Music doesn’t offer free ad-supported music like Spotify, so a paid subscription is required to access Apple Music. The standard plan starts at $9.99/month. If you’re a university student it’s $4.99/month and a family sharing plan is $14.99/month.
Sounds good? If you’re not ready to commit yet, Apple Music offers a generous free 3-month trial that you can cancel anytime. So there’s really no harm and no reason to give it a go!