Apple Music is a new streaming music service from Apple that combines your existing music with a streaming digital subscription service similar to Spotify with a live global radio station and features to help you discover new music.
You don’t need an iPhone to use Apple Music, but the experience is a better on an Apple product with built-in Siri support. Before you sign up for the service there are five things you need to know about the service.
Apple offers a free trial of Apple Music, so there is a lot you can learn for yourself, but before you sign up we recommend learning a little more about the service and what it offers for $9.99 a month.
The Apple Music release date arrives on June 30th, and you will need iOS 8.4 to use the streaming music service. The streaming is built-in to iTunes so this update delivers the service to your devices. iOS 8.4 is a free update available on all devices currently running iOS 8.
Here’s what you need to know before you sign up for Apple Music.
Apple Music Free Trial
Users can sign up for a free three-month trial of Apple Music to test out the streaming service without any restrictions or commitments.
The Apple Music free trial period gained a lot of added attention thanks to Taylor Swift calling out Apple’s plan to not pay artists for the trial period. Apple reversed position and is paying the artists at least a portion of the royalties during the trial period.
Unlike most trial periods, the Apple Music free trial is three months long. This gives users more than enough time to figure out if this is the right service to use.
The free trial is only available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC. There is no mention of a free trial of Apple Music for Android. Android access arrives later this year.
When the trial is over Apple Music will automatically start billing you $9.99 a month for the service, unless you quit.
What Music do you Get with Apple Music?
With Apple Music you cannot stream every song listed in the iTunes Library. You can stream most of the iTunes Library, but The Beatles and others will not be in the streaming options. If you purchased The Beatles, they will still show up as part of your library. We’re still waiting to see if Taylor Swift’s 1989 album is on Apple Music, but after Apple changed stance on paying artists this would be an unexpected omission.
Another big question is when do new Albums arrive on Apple Music. For most new music releases, expect an arrival on Apple Music at the same time as other streaming services. We’re monitoring the launch to see if this changes, but in most cases count on new albums in iTunes and on Apple Music at the same time.
We might see Apple shift to offering early access to users who buy an album. There are already bonuses if you pre-order an album and Apple often sells digital movies long before they are available to rent.
Apple Music Family Plan Details
The Apple Music Family plan is one of the best options available for users who are part of a large family. For $14.99 a month users can share Apple Music with up to six family members.
This works through the iOS 8 Family Sharing option that shares iTunes purchases between a family members and links all purchases to a single credit or debit card. You’ll need to use this service that also shares songs, books, movies, apps and other purchases to share an Apple Music subscription.
Where Can You Use Apple Music?
Apple Music works on a wide range of devices and platforms, even if you don’t own a Mac or an iPhone. Here are the devices where you can use Apple Music and any restrictions we currently know of.
On iPhone, iPad an iPod touch you need to be able to upgrade to iOS 8.4, which means you need an iPhone 4s or newer, iPad 2 or newer or iPod touch 5th generation. Apple Music also works with the Apple Watch.
For listening on a computer you’ll need a Mac or a PC with an updated version of iTunes that supports Apple Music.
The Android Apple Music app is coming this fall, so you will be able to use it on Android devices, which is particularly nice for Family Sharing, where some users may not be on iPhone.
Apple Music Features
All Apple Music users, including the free version that works when you are signed in with an Apple ID get access to Artists on Connect, where you can see new music, what they are creating, what they are listening to and more. All users also get access to Beats 1 and to Apple Music radio stations.
With a paid Apple Music membership users get unlimited skipping of Apple Music radio stations, the option to play and save Connect content and to like Connect content. The paid version also includes Apple Music library streaming and the ability to add Apple Music content to your library. This paid membership also includes expert music recommendations that will help you find new music to listen to.
The Apple Music membership includes offline listening so you can listen without using data and sync music to your devices. You can even sync to the Apple Watch. Siri can open and play Apple Music content so your favorite music is only a few words away at any given time.