Apple finally announced their streaming music service yesterday at their Worldwide Developer's Conference. Most Apple pundits have been anticipating this announcement since the company acquired Beats Music last year.
The service launches on June 30th on iOS, Mac and Windows, and in 100 countries. It'll launch on Android this fall, and for some inexplicable reason Apple TV owners will have to wait until fall to get it, too.
It'll cost $9.99/month, or $14.99/month for a family plan that covers six users, and there'll be a generous 3-month trial. There is no free or ad-supported tier.
In their press release Apple calls Apple Music "revolutionary" but I'm not so sure. Their hook is "...a pioneering worldwide live radio station from Apple broadcasting 24 hours a day and a great new way for music fans to connect with their favorite artists." That sounds a lot like SiriusXM to me but maybe kids these days don't know what satellite radio is?
Another touted feature is that a single app gets you access to music you've purchased through iTunes, music you've ripped from CDs and streaming music. It also offers curated playlists. That all sounds a lot like Google Music.
Apple says you'll get access to over 30 million songs. That's pretty much what Spotify, Rdio and Google Music say, too.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the services. Heck I was a Beats Music subscriber before Apple purchased them and I'll definitely take advantage of the 3-month trial to give Apple Music a chance. I'm just saying I'm not seeing much to differentiate Apple Music from Google Music or Spotify, except possibly the radio feature and until I experience that first hand I'm not convinced it's a killer feature. I think we're just reaching a point where all music streaming services seem pretty much the same, so I'm not convinced there'll be much reason to switch if you're happy with Google Music, Spotify, Xbox Music, Rdio, or whatever other service you currently use.
In fact the thing that most grabbed my attention was the inexpensive family plan. $15 for six users is pretty darned cheap. But according to The Verge Spotify, at least, intends to match that price.