Review was updated on 17th May, 2019
Apple has reinvented the way we listen to music in more ways than one. From the iPod to iTunes, Apple has paved the way for how music can be listened to and carried around. And with the launch of Apple Music only a few years ago, Apple is officially in it to win it in the music streaming game with over 50 million songs accessible through their generous 3-month free trial.
There are only so many songs you can store and listen to using the iPod or iPhone with the help of iTunes. From having to transfer songs into your iTunes library or purchasing one album or song at a time from the iTunes Store, it can be quite a hassle — and expense — to have to settle for that service alone to get your music fix. This is exactly where Apple admittedly lagged behind despite their early domination in the digital music industry, and where then smaller players such as Spotify immediately took advantage.
Fortunately, even after giving Spotify a few years head-start, Apple has finally released their own music streaming service — Apple Music. And from its rather shaky, humble beginnings back in 2015, Apple Music has since then become a strong player in the already crowded music streaming industry.
What Makes Apple Music Different?
For Apple Music to really make a difference, they had to push the boundaries of music streaming right off the bat — and that’s exactly what they did.
Having built solid relationships with record labels and artists, Apple knows how to appeal to the human side of listening to music through a more curated way of delivering songs that fans want to hear. It’s not just an algorithm at work, but a way of catering to listeners’ needs that goes beyond just the music.
For one, you may have already heard about some of Apple Music’s partnerships with big-name artists, including Drake, Frank Ocean, Chance The Rapper, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift — all of whom have signed deals to either exclusively release their album/songs through Apple Music or to offer early access for subscribers. This is big in the world of digital streaming, where everything is easily accessible online whenever and wherever. Exclusive content is the name of the game, and Apple has achieved it with flying colours.
There’s also the Beats 1 radio, which caters even more to fans’ interest with a more human approach to radio-style listening. It’s not just about boasting big-name radio hosts — BBC’s Zane Lowe leads a host of other DJs in this 24/7 radio station which is available even to those without an Apple Music subscription. Through Beats 1, fans can tune in to first-listens, compelling interviews, and other exclusive content that they won’t find anywhere else. If you’re a die-hard fan of pop and hip-hop, Beats 1 provides plenty of reason to make the switch to Apple Music.
Exclusive content and great interaction with listeners aside, it makes sense for a lot of people using Apple devices to subscribe to Apple Music given how easy it is to integrate their existing library — and to expand it even more. Apple has provided a one-stop shop for Apple users and music lovers to listen through this service using their go-to devices.
Apple Music Plans
Apple Music plans are simple and easy to understand. Once you’ve decided to make use of a paid subscription after the 3-month free trial, you can choose to subscribe to an Individual Plan which you can pay for on a monthly or yearly basis, with the latter offering the best savings.
To know the key differences between these subscriptions, check out the plans below to see which one would best cater to your music needs and budget.
|Individual (Yearly)||$119/year (12 mos. For the price of 10 mos.)|
|Family*||$17.99/month (Up to six family members)|
When you subscribe to any Telstra mobile plan, you can get a free 6-month Apple Music subscription for new Telstra Apple Music subscribers. Offer ends before December 26, 2018 and must be redeemed by February 26, 2019.
*Free 3-month free trial applicable to these plans. No commitment. Cancel anytime.
How to get Apple Music?
To start streaming on your iOS device, whether it’s an iPhone or iPad, simply download (if you still don’t have it built in) the Music app and click on the “For You” option beside your iTunes ‘Library’. Once you’ve clicked on that, the free trial offer will appear and all you need to do is hit “Try It Now” to get your first three months free — no commitments, cancel anytime.
It’s all easy from there. You can then search the name of any artist, album or specific tracks you want to listen to right away — or pre-download it and listen while offline. The great thing about this is that you get the actual iTunes Store copy of the music you’re after as well, meaning it has the exact same bitrate and quality as the version you can purchase from the store.
What about your playlists? When you first sign up, you’re taken through a series of screens containing “bubbles” that you tap once, twice, or hold down to remove. These cover genres and artists that you’re interested in listening to. After you’ve covered all that, Apple Music generates personalised playlists for you based on your interests — including mood-specific playlists, introductions to new artists and songs, and so on. Not to mention, all the songs and albums on your iTunes library stay intact and remain accessible alongside your Apple Music library and playlists. If you want fresh music or want to discover something new, simply go back to the “For You” section to check out the updated playlists prepared for you by Apple Music’s algorithm.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of using Apple Music on your chosen device, it’s pretty exciting to discover new songs or even updates from the artists you follow, or perhaps listen to the Beats 1 radio station.
What Devices Can You Use Apple Music on?
It’s already a given that as long as your device has an Apple logo on it, you can access Apple Music through it. This includes your iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and so on. You can either download the Music app on your iOS devices or simply use your iTunes app on your Mac/PC devices.
Of course, there are other devices in which you can get a hold of Apple Music’s features as well. You can stream your favourite tunes using these eligible devices:
- iOS devices (Running on iOS 8.4 or later)
- Android devices (Download app from Google Play — requires Android 4.3)
- Apple TV (Apple TV 4th gen and Apple TV 4K only)
- Mac (Requires iTunes 12.2 running on OS X 10.9.5)
- Windows PC (Requires iTunes 12.2 running on Windows 7 or later)
- Amazon Echo/Echo Dot/other Amazon speakers (using Bluetooth connection)
How does Apple Music Compare with Other Providers?
Given the seven-year head-start of Spotify, Apple Music has done well to catch up relatively quickly. And let’s be honest, it all boils down to these two key players when it comes to today’s digital music streaming war.
Just this year, Apple Music has bested Spotify in the United States and has claimed the top spot as the most popular paid streaming service in the country. Sure, Spotify still reigns supreme globally, but it’s a great sign for Apple that they’ve managed to do this in a span of just three years.
When it comes to plans and costs, Apple Music has made it so much easier for avid music listeners to try out their services with their 3-month free trial. Even if you’re not much of an Apple fan, you can’t deny how enticing this is given their exclusive deals with some of the best artists today. Should you wish to move forward with a paid subscription, you’re looking at roughly the same costs of Spotify’s Premium Plan with Apple Music’s Individual Plan at $11.99/month. The Family Plan will cost you $17.99/month, which is also the same as that of Amazon Music Unlimited. Both Apple Music and Spotify also have a Student Plan for only $5.99/month.
The main point of difference in the plans and costs is Apple’s announcement just this year of an annual membership discount if you choose to pay a one-off fee for a year’s worth of Apple Music. If you pay for 12 months on a monthly basis you’ll end up shelling out more than $140, but if you choose to pay this yearly sum you’ll pay just $119 in total — which means you’ll get Apple Music for a whole 12 months for the price of 10 months.
Boasting over 50 million songs (significantly higher than the 30 million plus songs on Spotify), exclusive deals with popular artists, plus a full-on integration of your iTunes library, it isn’t hard to see how Apple Music has gained traction over its main competitor — and how it may even outrank it globally in the near future.
Apple Australia Customer Service and Support
Going beyond Apple Music, Apple truly knows how to take care of their customers. The best and easiest way to get any of your issues or enquiries resolved is by going straight to their website and clicking on “Support”. From there, you can either do a quick search on what you want to know or simply click on the “Music” icon on the bottom right part of your screen. This will take you to a page which can help you to explore the features of Apple Music even further, find out how to connect your streaming devices, and more.
Of course, there’s also the popular Apple Support Community, in which you can interact with other Apple users to get the solutions you need regarding specific issues or enquiries about the Apple Music service — or any given Apple product.
Apple Music — Hitting All the Right Notes
So should you or shouldn’t you give Apple Music a try? We highly recommend that you do! There’s really no harm in making use of their 3-month free trial offer. It’s more than enough time for you to explore all the music and other features that Apple Music has to offer, even in the absence of a free subscription like Spotify. It also makes a lot of sense if you’ve already been a loyal iTunes or Apple device user for a long time — and hey, you can even use Siri to play or search for a tune as well.
From exclusive releases to breaking news from your favourite artists, not to mention your customised playlists, Apple Music certainly has what it takes to continue its rise in the music streaming game. Given how they’ve managed to take the lead in the US, it will be interesting to see what’s next as they continue to improve the music streaming experience.