Apple Music launches today: Here's what you need to know

So, Apple Music is finally in.

Launching exactly at 4PM today, the new streaming service from Apple promises a ton of goodies for you to choose from. Here's a smart guide to let you know how to start and where to go.

First of all, you need to own either an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, iPod Touch, a Mac or a PC with iTunes to use the service. If you are an Android user, you'll still need to wait till autumn for an Apple Music app to be available for your gadget.

Next, you'll need to sit and watch your clock strike four in the afternoon, which is when Apple will release iOS 8.4 update which carries the Apple Music app. once you have installed the update, you'll need to sign up for a three-month free trial service that should let you hone your skills on the app.

At exactly 5PM, Beats 1 online radio station will go live and can be accessed from the Music app.

Once you've signed up and are ready with your headphones, you'll be able to access up to 30 million songs across genres, cultures and regions through the app. It obviously requires an internet connection to stream and will bring songs to you at a bitrate of 256Kbps.

At the same time, in the For You section of the app, you will be able to access readymade playlists curated by the best music experts that Apple can buy. You can also make your own playlists from songs available for streaming or from songs downloaded via iTunes previously. Once you've finished the three-month trial period and decide that you can no longer live without Apple Music, you can sign up for paid subscription for £10 per month or even  £15 each month under Apple's Family Sharing scheme.

Both the free trial and paid subscriptions will let you access Beats 1 radio station at all times. No matter where you are, you will be able to listen to popular DJs like Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London. You will also be able to access daily schedules to choose which programmes to hear and which ones to give a miss.

 

Is it any different?

Cost

In terms of cost, the first three months on Apple Music is completely free and unrivalled in terms of free trial period. So is the Family Sharing scheme wwhich lets up to six users share a single subscription of just £15 per month.

 

However, you can access the basic services of Spotify, Deezer and Rdio for free if you can stand the advertisements. In contrast, a two-user Spotify Premium subscription can cost you as much as £17.99 each month.

 

Content

Apple has recently committed to paying commissions to music artists during the free trial period which landed Taylor Swift's albums into their fold, giving them an upper hand over Spotify.

However, in terms of content, major streaming services in the UK are almost neck-to-neck with over 25 million to 30 million songs in their kitties.

 

Sound quality

While Deezer, Qubuz and Tidal offer CD-quality audio streams, Spotify, Google Play Music and Rdio can manage up to 320kbps which is a bit faster than the 256kbps that Apple Music can churn out as of now.

 

Supported platforms

Until Apple comes up with a Music app for Android devices, it will fall seriously short in terms of total number of subscribers compared to those of Spotify. Other streaming services like Deezer, Rdio and Google Play Music can also stream music in wider platforms like Chromecast, Sonos and web player, apart from the usual suspects iOS and Android.

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