Apple Music: Apple launches subscription service, radio stations and social features

Based on the Beats streaming service, the new Music app aims to integrate culture of music as well as big catalogue

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The Independent Tech

Apple has released Music, a streaming music service that also integrates social features and special radio stations.

The new service will be launched in over 100 countries on June 30. It will come to iOS — including iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch — as well as iTunes on Mac and Windows.

The new app will replace the existing Music app on the iPhone, as well as being built into new versions of iTunes for desktops. As such, it will also be able to store existing music bought from iTunes or ripped from CDs, that users already have in their music library.

Android and Apple TV versions will launch in the autumn. The Music app for Android will be the first time that Apple has ever made an app for the rival music platform.

The service will cost $9.99 per month, or families can buy a subscription for up to six family members for $14.99, and Apple said that it would announce local pricing closer to launch. But it will be free for the first three months.

The new service was introduced by industry veteran Jimmy Iovine, who claimed that it integrated a 24/7 global radio station and new social ways to allow artists to connect to their fans. That is in addition to traditional streaming music services, like Spotify.

All of the new music features are integrated into the rest of iOS, Apple's mobile operating system, and can be accessed through its Music app. The songs can be started using the Siri digital assistant, including complex queries like "play the top song from May 1982", or "play songs from [the film] Selma".

Apple Music will let people stream all of the music on iTunes, Eddy Cue, Apple's head of internet services like Music and iTunes, said.

But in addition to those features, a special radio station will be added, known as Beats One. That effort will be led by Zane Lowe and will be based in New York, LA and London.

As well as those traditional radio services, the company is also offering curated playlists that wil allow users to listen to chosen music under headings like "indie rock" and "funk".

Daniel Ek, the CEO of Spotify, the main streaming music service that Apple is taking on with the app, was muted in his reaction. "Oh ok." he tweeted, shortly after the service was launched, before quickly deleting the tweet.

The new feature was launched at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, where it also revealed the new versions of iOS and Mac OS. Tim Cook announced the launch by borrowing a famous line from Apple founder Steve Jobs, saying he had "one more thing" left.

Cook then gave over the stage to Iovine and Drake, who appeared on stage to enthuse about the new Connect feature.

"I want to say honestly what an honour it is to be in this room," he said.

"The dream of being a new artist like myself five years ago and connecting directly with the audience has never been more real.

"Focus on your body of work. Instead of having to post your stuff on these different and sometimes confusing places, it's all in one place: Connect."

Videos also featured music industry heavyweights like Zane Lowe and Trent Reznor, both of whom have been working with Apple on the service. Lowe left Radio 1 earlier this year and will be the main host of the service's Beats 1 radio station, hosting from Los Angeles.

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