Apple Music is set for changes! Since it’s launch in June 2015, Apple Music has grown to around 13,000,000 subscribers, a figure which Apple recently released at their earnings call. Impressively, they have gained 2 million since February alone, earning themselves a growth rate which is on par with Spotify.
Apple are planning to overhaul the music-streaming service by giving the interface a complete redesign, plans for which will be unveiled at their Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The point is to simplify it and make it easier to use, after taking on board criticism that Apple Music’s interface is too muddled and the myriad of features too confusing.
The new interface will be more intuitive, make more use of the 3D touch features with shortcut previews and make it easier to share songs. Sources, say that work began on the overhaul in earnest at the end of February, and plans are to go live, along with the new Apple iOS 10 in autumn. Users will see an interface that emphasises black and white backgrounds and text, instead of the colourful translucent effect it has now and it will be interesting to see how they use album artwork as a large part of the interface so it doesn’t look dull with all the black and white. Apple also intends on improving the integration of its streaming and expand its online radio service.
Aside from the redesigned interface, much emphasis has been put on the “For You” tab, a feature that recommends artists, songs, music videos and albums. Apple intends for users to make much more use of this feature by making it simpler to use although the algorithms used will be similar to the ones used today by Apple Music, so it won’t necessarily be more intelligent.
The “New” tab will disappear…which is a good thing as it’s generally a bit a mess to date. Replacing it will be a “Browse” tab, which will arrange content such as genres, top charts, new artists and launches on a much more organised level. Another great new feature is wide-ranging support for song lyrics. Apple is currently working with song labels to automatically integrate lyrics into Apple Music, and although the roll out will be gradual, there will be a “good amount” of songs available with lyrics support from the start of the new launch. No more searching online for the lyrics to your current favourite song!
Apple have been on the receiving end of criticism that they don’t pay artists during the free 3-month trial period and artists have also complained that the social “Connect” aspect has ‘failed miserably’. Strangely, this feature is to remain much the same with no plans improve much for the revamp.
On the contrary to being tight, Apple Music are being very generous to students who are managing on a budget by announcing a 50% discount plan for students which can run for up to 4 years. The offer rolled out last week in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and other countries and although prices vary per region, the discount should be around 50% of the normal Apple Music price. Again, this is similar to a student plan also offered by Spotify who offer a similar discounted plan for people in education (again representing a 50% discount from their normal Spotify Premium plan).
Apple continues to offer a free 3-month trial service to new users, without any
financial commitment so they can try it out. A single user monthly tariff is €9.99 and they also offer a family package which is generous enough to allow six users for €14.99 a month.