Apple finally unveils Apple Music and Beats 1 Radio

Nicola Riches
By Nicola Riches | 9 June 2015
Dr Dre (and Snoop) Jason Persse CC

Apple has finally unveiled plans for the launch of its Apple Music service, a hybrid offering which mixes up a streaming service, a discovery app, video and social tools and finally, Beats 1 – the long-mooted radio station which will broadcast across the globe, 24-hours a day.

Unlike rivals Spotify and Pandora, Apple will not offer a free ad-funded tier for the music streaming arm. Instead, users are asked to pay US$9.99 per month (in the States – local pricing has not been revealed yet) for a subscription to the entire service. This is increased to US$14.99 per month for an entire family, across six devices.

Where Apple has sought to differentiate the service is via the launch of its global radio station, Beats 1 – named after the technology company that now powers much of the back-end that supports the Apple Music platform.

Apple’s first ever live radio station is dedicated entirely to music and music culture, and will broadcast live to over 100 countries.

It is a 24-hour listening experience led by influential DJs Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London. Listeners around the globe will hear the same programming at the same time.

Apple Music Radio – the revamped version of the existing Apple Radio – becomes a directory of curated stations.

It is completely unclear, as of today, whether either of the radio offerings will only be accessible to subscribers, or whether there will be a free version supported by advertising and sponsorship, as was heavily rumoured last week.

The Apple press release rather vaguely states: “With membership, you can skip as many songs as you like, so you can change the tune without changing the dial.”

Brought to life at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple revealed little of the detail that brands, media and entertainment industries will want to get their teeth into.

A pack of invited press, however, were taken into a separate room where some of the finishing touches were drip-fed. None of those in attendance were able to take photos or videos.

A journalist from one well-respected publication, The Verge, was part of the press gang invited into a private viewing. They said: “Here's the deal: BeatsOne isn't launched yet but will offer commercial free music with real DJs available to everybody, whether or not you subscribe to Music.”

On the issue of ads, the journalist stated: “I asked about whether Apple ever intended to make money off of it by selling ads and, well, I didn't get a very clear answer — but given the size of Apple's bank account, I suppose the company can afford to be vague.”

“We love music, and the new Apple Music service puts an incredible experience at every fan’s fingertips,” said Apple senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue.

“All the ways people love enjoying music come together in one app — a revolutionary streaming service, live worldwide radio and an exciting way for fans to connect with artists.”

Starting on June 30, Apple is making available a three-month free trial membership. Local pricing will be available closer to launch. The company will also launch a version for Microsoft and Android users.

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