At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, Apple tapped Grammy Award-winning rapper, Aubrey “Drake” Graham, to announce Apple Music, a new service that will blend streaming music and radio on a social network where users can also purchase tunes.
“Given the great success of my last mix-tape that went directly to iTunes … I can’t wait to incorporate Apple Music and, especially, Connect into what I am doing next,” said Drake, confirming that his next album will be released through the service. “It’s truly amazing to be a part of something that I believe in. This is something that simplifies everything for the modern musician, like myself, and the modern music consumer like you.”
Fans can follow their favorite artists through Connect and listen to popular DJs, like Pharrell Williams, Dr. Dre and Will.i.am, on the 24-hour radio station called Beats 1, which will be available in 100 countries, reports TheVerge.com.
Apple’s streaming music is not much different than Rdio or Spotify, in that the 30 million tracks on Apple Music are also going to be found on Spotify or Rdio, plus Apple’s pricing is not competitive.
The platform, which will be available June 30, will cost $9.99 a month, or $14.99 for a family plan of up to six individuals, with a three-month free trial. Spotify offers a two-person subscription package for $14.99, and Rdio’s family plan includes four people for $9.99.
Siri will integrate with Apple Music, allowing users to give instructions for what songs to play based on descriptions. For example: “Siri, play the top track from the Summer of 2014.”
Connect, the social networking feature, will allow fans to follow artists, who will post music, photos, and messages. Apple describes Connect as “a place where musicians give their fans a closer look at their work, their inspirations, and their world. It’s a main line into the heart of music — great stuff straight from the artists.” The site suggests that musicians can upload rough cuts of new videos and in-progress lyrics.
Connect also provides a platform for up-and-coming artists to gain traction, sell content, and curate videos. Apple Music Connect posts from artists can be shared on Twitter, Facebook, and other sites.
Like Pandora, Beats 1 allows listeners to build a station based on a song, genre, album or artist. The old iTunes radio stations have been completely overhauled to include a range of genres from indie rock to classical, folk, and funk.