Apple is known to have turned the music world upside down when it introduced the iTunes Store in 2003.
And last year (2015), Apple joined the streaming service providers, such as Spotify and Rdio by launching Apple Music.
How did you listen to music in the past and how do you listen to music today?
I still remember the times when I recorded music on cassettes and listened to music in this way (for those who are reading these lines and wondering what a cassette is, click here). And I still have a drawer full of CDs (my husband still listens only to CDs). A few years back, I experimented with streaming services.
Before Apple Music arrived, I was using Spotify and I liked it.
Easy to use, flexible, not expensive.
But last year, I used the opportunity and signed up for a 3-month free trial period to see what Apple Music is all about.
Now, I am hooked.
In this blog post, I am going to tell you how I changed the way I listen to the music and why I think Apple Music is the best streaming app out there.
What is Apple Music?
You are probably familiar with Netflix.
Well, Apple Music is something similar in the world of music. It is a huge pool of music that is accessible for a flat monthly fee.
But Apple Music is a little bit more.
It combines three services:
- music streaming,
- radio programming and
- social media services (I’ll tell you about that later).
It is a paid service (but it offers a free 3-month trial period), which gives you access to a huge catalogue of music.
You can listen to any song at any time the same way you can watch your favourite movies and TV shows with Netflix on demand.
Apple Music and iTunes
Once you sign up for the service, you get access to 30 millions songs at any time.
Reportedly, iTunes has a bigger catalogue (over 40 million songs) but I never had trouble finding the songs I wanted.
(I even found music in my mother language (Slovak) and I often listen to music from way back (from the high school years!) on Apple Music.)
The biggest difference is that I do not need to purchase individual songs as I used to do with iTunes.
This is a huge advantage: I can have access to any song, its karaoke version or any version for that matter.
Sometimes, when I am learning a new song, I listen to several versions of the same song recorded by several artists to get a feel for the song. I also listen to several accompaniment versions to choose the one I like the best.
It’s very convenient: just a few taps and I have all the versions in my iPhone!
In the past, I often listened to songs on YouTube to make a selection. The quality of YouTube videos was often not the best.
With Apple Music, the quality is always fantastic. And searching for music is much easier than on YouTube.
Apple Music also functions as a library of songs on my iPhone, where I organize and store my favourite music and songs.
I can organize them into playlists.
I can also indicate which ones are my favourites by tapping on an icon.
Other Features of Apple Music
As compared to other streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music offers some extra features: radio programming Beats 1, curated playlists and Connect.
Beats 1 is radio broadcasting 24/7.
The great thing about the “radio feature” is that you can choose the genre of music you want to listen to.
And the selection of featured stations is endless: pop, jazz, alternative, R&B, hip-hop, singer-songwriter, workout music, world music, even news and talks.
This is a great way to explore new music. Or just listen to a stream of music (like I am doing right now while writing this post).
While listening to the featured stations, you can indicate your preferences by tapping the “heart icon” or skipping a tune (yes, you can skip a song if you don’t like it – you don’t need to wait until it’s over – a feature I wish my car radio had).
If you really like a song that is being played on the radio and you want to listen to it again, you can just tap another icon and add it to your playlist.
In this way, you can listen to this song again in the future.
In the “For You” section, you can find music recommendations based on your preferences.
When you first set up your account, you choose your musical preferences in the set-up options. Then curated playlists automatically show up in the “For You” section.
This is also a good way to explore new songs and music.
I found some interesting choices in this way too.
The social networking feature called “Connect” is a feature that allows you to follow your favourite artists.
The artists can share special announcements or content with their fans.
To be honest, I do not use this feature.
I follow a couple of bands just for fun but I don’t have time to read all their announcements. Maybe if I was younger …
One feature that other streaming services do not offer is streaming of music videos without ads.
When you are searching for a song, available music videos are displayed.
It’s entertaining (especially if you have to wait at a doctor’s office with two almost teenage boys).
How much does it cost?
Apple Music service costs $9.99 per month for a single user and $14.99 per month for a family (for up to six people).
The family account requires iCloud Family Sharing.
(I am not a techie so I cannot tell you more about this set up. However, once my boys reach their teenage years, I may need to explore this option more because the price seems very good).
Apple Music is available to anyone who has a Mac computer, an iPhone, iPad, iPod of iOS 8.4 version or later.
And I believe Android users as well as PC owners can access Apple Music too.
The bad news is that this service is not available everywhere in the world but more than 100 countries can enjoy this service, including U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, India, Brazil, or Japan.
Why I think Apple Music is the Best Music Service
The best feature, which I love and use all the time, is the ability to save songs to my iPhone for offline listening.
This is especially useful when I travel to remote areas without Wifi connection.
And it’s easy – to save songs to your library of songs, you just tap the download icon while connected to Wifi.
In this way, I always have a new collection of songs to listen to when I am on the road.
Do you remember times when we listened to a whole CD?
I still do that from time to time for nostalgic reasons when I am at home with my husband.
But the ability to create new playlists every day is just fantastic!
I create special playlists for parties and celebrations (for example our Halloween party had some great tunes).
Music streaming changed the way we listen to music.
We don’t need to purchase whole albums. We can pick and choose songs of our liking.
For someone like me, who listens to music all the time, Apple Music is a great option!
And I will stick to it until … something better comes along (is that even possible?)
How do you listen to music?
Do you still use your CDs, do you download songs from the iTunes store or do you stream?
Maybe it’s time to try something new! Maybe it’s time for Apple Music.
Thank you for reading this post.