I would not call myself a huge music fan but I’m the type to know every line, hook, chorus and beat to my favorite songs which amount to roughly 1000 plus on my iPod but I digress.
June 30th 2015 – the much anticipated iOS 8.4 update that mainly brought Apple Music and minor bug fixes was launched. 20 minutes later my iPhone 5s was rebooting after the small download size which is unlike Apple’s previous updates.
Being an “OCD” phone user I immediately noticed that the music icon was different. It was white in color with a neon effect much more “in tune” with the iOS 7/8 color palette. I clicked on it fingers crossed with the full knowledge that similar services such as Spotify, Tidal and Google Play Music were unavailable in our region.
The screen that followed put the largest smile across my face.
Apple Music – All the ways you love music. All in one place. Start 3 month free trial.
The world is crazy for music streaming services and now I know why.
Apple Music is official and I love it.
It’s now been a full 2 weeks of use since then and I’m thoroughly smitten. My iPhone is normally reserved for podcast use but now all I do is stream music. The audio quality is crisp. I’m no audiophile but I can assure you that Apple didn’t go cheap on us. The music selection is wide, vast and absurdly great.
The app itself has a completely new interface with 5 tabs at the bottom: For You, New, Radio, Connect and My Music.
This is a section of curated music according to your genre and artist preference when you set up the app for the first time although you can simply change that if need be.
It gives you a selection of 7 to 8 playlists tailored to your tastes and plenty of albums to choose from. I personally loved the Fresh to Death playlist that started me off with Drake’s – Worst Behavior and threw in some new A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, J.Cole and so on. Clearly I’m a Hip-Hop Head.
The New Section is mainly for music discovery. It encompasses all genres but you can select either Alternative, Classical, Dance/Electronic, Hip-Hop/Rap, Jazz, Pop, R&B/Soul, Rock and World. It has Hot Tracks, Apple Editors Playlists, Activity Paylists and Curator Playlists, Top Songs, Recent Releases and Recommended Music Videos. Quite impressive in my opinion.
Radio on the other hand is where most of us will live seeing as the iPhone does not have an inbuilt radio app. The station is called Beats 1 which came from the acquisition of Beats Music and Beats Electronics by Apple for a staggering $3 Billion last year.
Well Beats 1 is pretty cool. It’s simply good radio without a lot of nonsense in-between.
It’s a 24 hour broadcasting service that is worldwide and trust me they will constantly remind you of that – Beats 1. Worldwide. Always on – is something you will hear almost every 15 minutes into any show. The shows are pretty good with very exclusive interviews. We had Eminem talking about music obviously and his new tracks on the upcoming Southpaw movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Eminem revealed that he was meant to be starring in the role but his schedule didn’t allow him. It’s radio like this that appeals to a worldwide audience.
There are also guest hosts such as Sir Elton John who had a great playlist of old classic rock and roll and the latest rock, hip-hop and R&B.
There is also Featured Stations which have Charting Now, Pop Hits, Sound System, The Mixtape, On The Floor and All-City. Think of this as a mix of the latest and the greatest music selection. I call it UK Top 40 music on fleek.
Connect is the fourth tab and it is for bringing artists and their fans closer. It is simply the social media aspect of the app. It has the artists that you follow and the artists can share photos of shows, music video sets and scripts. It’s something new but the least interesting of the tabs as I just don’t find the urge to reach for it.
Finally we have My Music tab which holds your current library and playlists.
The best thing with Apple Music is that you can save all the music you want on your device by simply clicking on the 3 dots on any song and adding to my music. From there you have to “track” down the song and make it available offline. And just like that. It is yours without an internet connection.
Streaming on carrier internet is decent but I prefer the wifi and save offline route. It has less probability for failure.
Apple Music is free for 3 months after which you will be required to subscribe at a fee of $4.99 (roughly Kshs.500) per month for access to the service. It is quite a bargain as it is $9.99 in the US. There is also the Family Sharing option which goes for $7.99 (roughly Kshs.800) per month for up to 6 members.
It is quite the bargain and I can assure you that I have my payment set on automatic renewal. The new age of music is here for Apple fans and soon to Android users as it will be available later this year.
The app also works quite well with Siri. Ask Siri something like “Hey Siri, Play the top songs of last year” and boom! – Playing the top 25 songs from 2014. Obviously the first song that leads the playlist is Happy by Pharrell Williams as if to crown your feelings at that moment.
The only problem I have now is insufficient space. I’m constantly cursing myself for cheapening out and getting the 16 GB variant of my phone. I guess it’s time for an upgrade and that iPhone 6 64 GB in gold looks convincing.