Apple Unveils New Music Streaming Service


Apple has announced that it is venturing into the music streaming world with the release of a new app that combines a music video library, internet radio station and song streaming service.  The service will use a recommendation system based on both computer algorithms and human curators to suggest songs to users and will be a new way for artists to release unreleased tracks and other material.

The service is set to challenge existing streaming services such as Spotify and Tidal and was announced along with the news that the UK will be the first country outside the US to receive the Apple Pay service.


Chris Cook, from the news site Complete Music Update, said that many people inside the music industry see the launch of the new Apple service as a big deal and hope that it will carry subscription-based streaming to the mainstream.

He also believes that Apple could have an advantage over Spotify because the latter uses an ad-supported free level to then help sell premium packages but the new Apple wouldn’t.

The service will also introduce Beats 1 radio station, hosted by ex-BBC DJ Zane Lowe who is among other big name sign-ups for the new service.  The app will work with the voice controlled virtual assistance Siri, meaning subscribers can ask for a song to be played as well as asking for a track from a movie soundtrack or a year, without knowing the track’s name.


Others, however, can foresee challenges for the tech giant in explaining all the features that the app will be offering.  Geoff Blaber, from CCS Insight, said that the service is a complex mix including music streaming, live radio, music discovery and even social interaction with the artists that might be too much for users.

But he did admit that it was too early to know what users are wanting and that the three month free subscription and a family bundle are big incentives to try the new service.

Apple came late to the subscription service, namely because Steve Jobs had refused to believe that such services would ever work.  But industry experts think that the new app has the potential to catch up to market leader Spotify’s 15 million subscribers within a twelve month period.

The service is due to launch in more than 100 countries on 30th June and would cost $9.99 a month in the US for a single period subscription or $14.99 a month for a family package for up to six people.   Users won’t need to pay to listen to Beats 1 radio.  Initially, it will be restricted to iOS, Windows PC and Mac computers but will extend to Android phones and Apple TVs later in the year.

Apple Pay

The other big announcement was the continued launch of Apple Pay, with the addition to support for retailers own payment and loyalty cards for US users.  Users in the UK will soon be able to make payments using their iPhones and Apple Watches at contactless payment terminals.

Take up of the service in the US has been limited since its launch in October with a survey indicating only a quarter of the leading retailers accepting the facility.  This is partly due to Wal-Mart and 18 other stores teaming up to offer a rival scheme and refusing to accept the Apple facility until 2016 at the earliest.


Related posts: