Apple Music is the new steaming service, Apple has launched. This was highly anticipated once Apple took over Beats. Apple Music is available in 110 countries and has over 37 Millions songs in its catalog. It is a premium service. User has to pay to stream. There is no freemium model apart from the 3 month trial available to users. But to opt for the free trial, Apple asks the user to provide their Credit Card details. Nice way to increase the number of users on iTunes with active Credit Card accounts. But is it worth it?
What & How…
Whether it is your iOS device or the iTunes app on PC or Laptop, Apple Music asks the user to choose what genre/type of music he/she likes. Each option is provided in bubble form. The moment you click the bubble, its size enlarges, indicating that you like it more than other categories. Once the Genre is selected, it also asks the user to choose the artists he/she likes in a similar way.. This could be musicians, singers, actors, actresses, etc.Based on what we choose, Apple Music will generate playlists for us in the For You section. At first these playlists are very limited and won’t be highly accurate but as and when you start listening to more songs, Apple Music provides more options in the For You section.
Apart from this Apple Music gathers information about your choice from your offline library in iTunes if you have enabled Genius recommendations and iCloud Music Library. This information is used by Apple Music to select better songs in Radio for the user. Songs/Albums can be easily favorited and shared through social media. This information is also used to provide better suggestions to the user.The New section allows the user to browse latest music by Genre. Currently, I have selected the Bollywood Genre. Users can check out top charts or playlists generated by Apple. The most awesome aspect of Apple Music is the Connect feature. Here users can follow artists they like. The artists can upload pictures, videos and fans can like, comment or share this content. Good thing is that users don’t have to subscribe to the Apple Music service in order to get updates from their artists. Coming back to iCloud Music Library. Once the user enables it, Apple will scan the library and upload each song. Once the song is uploaded, it will be matched with the Apple Music catalog. If it does get matched, then the user will get an option to download 256kbps song from Apple Music catalog itself. The issue is, it will be DRM protected. So you can play that song only on devices where your ID is connected. If the match is not found then it will offer link to your uploaded version. This allows the user to access his/her library from any device but again this is not a backup service and it is different from iTunes Match because iTunes Match provides non-DRM protected songs. Coming to the last and final section, the Apple Music Radio. It provides several radio stations based on Genre. Several Genres have different sub-categories based radio station. Apple Music comes with a live 24/7 beats 1 radio station too. Other radio stations are not live. Based on the Genres, I still feel there can be more Radio stations. Especially the Bollywood Genre can have so many stations. However, I was really impressed with the songs Apple played in the Bollywood radio station. Almost 95% of the songs were the ones, that were in my Playlist.
- Catalog – Apple Music has a huge catalog of songs and very few music streaming services can even compete with the catalog Apple Music provides.
- Pricing – It is priced at ₨120 per month in India and $9.99 per month in the USA. That’s 5 times cheaper than the USA. I think the cardinal reason for making it cheaper in India was Saavn and Gaana where both provide premium music streaming at a similar cost in India. Well that’s something good for the customers.
- Freemium/Premium – Different users have different preferences. Some like the Freemium model and some like the Premium model. The Freemium model allows the user to listen to few songs at a stretch and then the user has to watch or listen to an advertisement. In the premium model the user has to make payment and then the user can listen to high quality music without any advertisements. Apple Music uses the premium model. High quality in Apple’s terms means 256kbps version of the song which is really good quality. Most of the users who listen to offline music don’t know what good quality music is as they just download music from random sources. For these people, the premium model will really do justice. As for me, I already have high quality music on my PC. I am looking for something like a cloud service.
- iCloud Music Library – is available but again it is a match service and not a backup service. You upload the song and if it gets matched, you get to listen to the 256kbps version. Now if the offline version gets deleted and now you download a Apple Music version, you get a DRM protected version. If you don’t want DRM protected version, you need to opt for iTunes Match. Too much of Confusion 😰! I just want a simple cloud service where I can upload and play the uploaded version. Something like the Google Play All Music Access.
- Radio – Radio stations is a great service. But if there needs to be enough Radio Stations based on Genres and sub-genres. Like for example consider the Bollywood Radio station. Having just one radio station for Indian Music doesn’t do justice to Indian Music. In India, there are number of languages spoken. Each language comes with its own genre of music. At this very exact point, Gaana wins because of the amazing Radio Stations it provides for Indian Music.
Apple Music is good but it can be better. At the moment, I don’t find it a necessity to subscribe to it for music.