Apple Unveils New Streaming Service

As expected, Apple finally unveiled its new music streaming service Monday at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Launched as a competitor to industry leading Spotify and Jay-Z’s recently re-launched Tidal streaming service, Apple Music is tied to Apple’s iTunes download service. Apple chief executive Tim Cook described the new service as “revolutionary music service curated by the leading music experts we helped handpick,” before introducing a video outlining the history of music distribution from 1888 til now. Cook then introduced iconic producer Jimmy Iovine, the Beats Audio co-founder that Apple signed on after purchasing Beats.

Jimmy Iovine said the new Apple Music service is “all the ways you love music, all in one place.” In addition to a 24-hour radio station that boasts every title in the iTunes library, the service also features a “Connect” feature that allows artists to communicate directly with fans. Canadian rapper Drake took the stage to talk about the Connect feature, which allows musicians to share videos, lyrics and other files directly with fans using the Apple Music app, adding that the service will play a key role in his next album release. Drake will also serve as a guest DJ for the new service, as will R&B icon Pharrell Williams.

Apple Music will officially debut on June 30th. Unlike Spotify and other streaming services, the newcomer will not offer a free mode, though the company is offering a free three-month trial. Subscribers will pay $9.99 a month following their trial, and a six-person family plan will run $14.99 a month. Apple will face an uphill battle in dethroning the streaming industry leader, as Spotify currently has 60 million users (15 million paid subscribers).