Apple Music Service In The UK

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When Apple releases a new product, the whole world takes note. So when Apple Music, the new music streaming service, came out on June 30th, 2015, Apple fans started downloading. But what is it? More importantly, is it worth getting?

Apple Music is one app with a whole lot of songs -including some 30 million tracks, your iTunes library, a worldwide radio station and a social network. It also boasts great integration with virtual assistant Siri to help you find music quickly. In addition, the service contains elements of Beats Music, another streaming service that Apple acquired along with the Beats company back in 2014. For iPod Touches, iPhones and iPads, it will become the default music player when you upgrade to iOS 8.4. Android users will be able to get a version in late 2015, as an app that can be downloaded from Google Play.

Apple Music got a lot right. It has a huge selection of music, effective use of Siri, and uses real people to curate playlists and DJ live. It’s a truly impressive array of features, but unfortunately they can make the app difficult to navigate. The interface is divided into five sections -For You, New, Radio, Connect, and My Music. One of Apple Music’s biggest wins is the “For You” tab, which is also the main tab and an excellent way to find new music -one of the best in any streaming service. However, you’ll first need to enter your preferences to get the most out of the search engine.

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The “New” tab contains new releases, popular music, music videos, themed playlists and top charts- making it the most cluttered section. In “Radio,” you’ll find the Beats 1 radio, Apple’s flagship station that is obviously connected to Beats headphones. “Connect” is a social media platform for artists, who can use it to share photos and videos with their fans, and “My Music” houses your saved and locally stored music. Tracks you listen to on Apple Music can be saved to playlists and downloaded for offline listening, but only so long as you’re subscribed to the service. All of these tabs can make for a bit of a learning curve, but after a few hours -or a few days -you should be fine.

Price wise, it’s $9.99 US / £9.99 UK a month, or $14.99 US / £14.99 UK for the family plan, and new users get a free three month trial period with full access to all of the features. For the family version, you’ll need to set up iCloud Family Sharing, which allows up to six people to share content using one credit card.

There’s also a completely free version, but it’s limited to what you already have in your iTunes music library, Beats 1, and a radio with ads. Apple Music streams at a slightly lower bitrate than Spotify, but the quality of music is still excellent both online and offline.

All in all, Apple Music is a good service, packed with plenty of features for music lovers. However, the design needs a little reworking. It’s more noticeable on a phone vs a tablet or computer, but Apple Music feels a little cramped, with too much content jammed into a tiny screen and several sub-menus to get lost in. The layout aside, the app is quite aesthetically pleasing, with a white theme covered in colors and photos. If you can get over the design issues and are willing to pay the monthly fee, Apple Music makes a great investment with a lot of potential.

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk