Today marks the launch of iOS 8.4, and alongside it will be the launch of Apple’s new music streaming service, Apple Music. The service will offer unlimited streaming from a library of over 30 million songs for $9.99 per month. Sound pretty similar to popular streaming service Spotify? It is – the price is even the same. So what will set Apple Music apart from the competition? Well, Apple’s 24-hour global radio station, Beats 1 alongside the hand-curated on-demand stations in multiple genres help, but it might just be Apple’s relationships with the artists that sets it apart. Apple’s solid relationship with artists in the music community means exclusive albums and tracks for Apple Music.
Apple Music is offering a free three-month trial period for users to give the service a test drive. Information came out several weeks ago stating that Apple had negotiated that during the free trial period, they wouldn’t be required to pay any royalties to the labels, artists, and rights owners – the streaming wouldn’t just be free to the users, it would be free to Apple as well. The policy caused quite the uproar among musicians, culminating in a scathing open letter from pop artist Taylor Swift, who pleaded with Apple to change its policy. Only hours later, Apple did just that, with senior VP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue tweeting out “we hear you [Taylor Swift] and indie artists. Love, Apple.”
Shortly after the policy change, artists began changing their tune about Apple Music. Apple soon reached deals with prominent indie distributor Beggars Group, responsible for such acts as The Prodigy, Adele, and Arcade Fire as well as global rights agency Merlin, with a catalog of over 3 million tracks from several indie labels. Several days later, Taylor Swift announced that her latest album, 1989, which was famously pulled from Spotify (along with the rest of Swift’s catalog), would be featured on Apple’s service. Just this morning, it was announced that Dr. Dre’s seminal hip-hop album The Chronic will also be exclusively streamed on Apple Music.
While it’s no surprise that Dr. Dre, co-founder of Beats Electronics, would likely stream his music exclusively on Apple’s service, Apple’s budding relationship with popular artists like Drake and Pharrell Williams means we might just see the list of Apple exclusives growing as the service matures.
Apple Music will be released this morning at 8AM PST alongside the iOS 8.4 update. The free trial of the service should begin functioning immediately at launch, and the inaugural Beats 1 radio broadcast hosted by DJ Zane Lowe will follow at 9AM PST.