The wait for Apple Music is finally over. The highly-anticipated music-streaming service will launch Tuesday at 8 a.m. PDT, available via the iOS 8.4 update for the iPhone and iPad. Apple Music stacks up similarly to Spotify and other music-streaming services, but there are some key things to know before deciding to take your playlists to Apple:
1. Apple Music Offers A 3-Month Free Trial
Like other services, Apple Music will cost $9.99 per month, but before Apple starts charging, the iPhone maker is going to give consumers a 3-month free trial to the service. Apple won’t offer a free, ad-supported tier to Apple Music as Spotify and others do, but the three-month free trial offers should give consumers enough time to try out Apple Music and decide if they’ll want to pay for a subscription.
2. Apple Music’s Family Plan Is Better Than Spotify’s
If you’ve got a group of people who want to stream, Apple Music gives you the most bang for your buck. Like Spotify and others, Apple Music is charging $14.99 per month for its family plan, which gives up to six users access to Apple’s catalog of 30 million songs. That’s much better than Spotify, whose family plan only includes two people. Spotify has said it plans to match Apple’s offering, but for now, Apple Music’s family plan gives the most value.
3. Apple Music Includes Taylor Swift’s “1989”
No artist is better known for her stance on music streaming than Taylor Swift. The singer famously pulled her entire catalog from Spotify late last year, criticizing how much the service pays artists, and earlier this month, she convinced Apple to pay artists during Apple Music’s free trial period. Despite the public criticism, the episode ultimately worked in Apple’s favor with Swift announcing that she will include her hit “1989” album on Apple Music -- something she has never done with other streaming services.
Landing Swift’s catalog and her latest album is a major win for Apple, and it’s an example of why consumers may want to choose Apple Music over other services. Over the past few years, Apple has done a great job getting artists to release their music on iTunes before other places. Beyonce did this with her surprise self-titled album in 2013, Drake did the same earlier this year, and the same will happen Tuesday with Dr. Dre’s 1992 classic “The Chronic,” which will launch digitally for the first time via Apple Music.
More importantly, iTunes is still the only place where you can buy digital copies of The Beatles’ music. No one has yet acquired the streaming rights to The Beatles’ music, but if there’s one service that can do it, you bet it will be Apple Music.
4. Apple Music’s Star-studded Beats 1
Besides music streaming, Apple Music will include Beats 1, a 24/7 radio station that will feature shows from star DJs like Zane Lowe and famous musicians, including Apple’s own Dr. Dre, Elton John, Pharrell Williams, Disclosure, St. Vincent and many more. Spotify and others have some human-curated offerings, but no other service has secured celebrity-curated programming like Apple Music has. Beats 1 will be available for Apple users regardless of whether they purchase an Apple Music subscription.
5. Apple Music Will Be Available For Android… This Fall
Apple surprised many when it announced that Apple Music would also be available for Android devices. Rarely does the Cupertino giant play nice with Google, but in this case, it threw Android users a bone. Unfortunately for them, though, Apple Music won’t be available on Tuesday. Instead, Android users will get access to Apple Music later this fall, though Apple has yet to give a firm date.
It’s too early to tell whether Apple Music will appeal to music fans, but Apple has done a good job setting up its music streaming service and should give Spotify a run for its money. With great content, a 3-month free trial and an excellent family plan, it's at least worth giving Apple Music a shot.