Apple Music offers the standard expectations for $9.99 monthly, but its Android offering won't compete with Google and Samsung's offerings.
With the release of iOS 8.4, Apple has now made its new music service official. As with anything, there are always caveats. We cover seven of them here so as to inform you before you dive in.
Three months free, $9.99 afterwards; disable auto-renewal
One of the most transparent features of the new Apple Music service is that it gives iOS users three months free. After the three-month trial, you will be billed $9.99 monthly to continue using the service unless you decide to halt the service in the month you’ve already paid for. You can disable the auto-renewal service by going on your iPhone to the new Apple Music app and tapping your profile icon, logging in with your Apple ID and iTunes password, then visiting your “Managing subscriptions” menu. There will be an auto-renewal toggle that you can enable or disable (just disable the auto-renewal).
If you only desire to enjoy your free three months, then disable auto-renewal. Despite the $9.99 monthly charge you agree to, you need not worry about being billed if the auto-renewal toggle is turned off.
Prepare to provide a credit or debit card to receive the free trial
If you’re an iTunes user or someone who’s purchased apps at the App Store before, having a credit or debit card on file won’t surprise you. Android users who’ve purchased apps from Google’s Play Store, however, need to understand that a similar setup will be mandatory to enjoy Apple’s new Apple Music service that will arrive this Fall. We still think it’s good to warn you before you engage in the service, though.
Free vs. Paid membership comes with some differences
Apple’s Music service comes with distinctions between free and paid members (no surprise for anyone who’s been active in the internet music scene). Free users will get the option to listen to Apple Music and Beats 1 radio stations, as well as follow artists on Connect, but they won’t get to save content offline, like certain songs, and have “unlimited listening” capabilities as paid users get.
The good news is that you’ll get 3 months to decide if it’s better than Spotify, Pandora, Samsung’s Milk Music, or even Google’s own music service.
Apple Music streaming quality doesn’t match that of Google’s Play Music
Apple Music may work for iOS users, but Android users interested in the service will find that it doesn’t match Google’s Play Music service when it comes to internet streaming speed. Apple Music will stream at 256kbps while Google’s Play Music service streams at 320kbps. You may or may not notice these differences unless you’re on a spotty network, for example, but it can be noticeable at times.
Every iTunes song cannot be streamed via Apple Music
iTunes and Apple Music may be controlled by Apple, but these two services don’t work in the same manner. Apple Music will allow you to have access to a wide range of songs and artists (including Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album), but not every song at iTunes will be played on Apple Music. As can be seen with the Taylor Swift controversy surrounding the new music service, Apple is still working with artists and groups to bring more music to its service. Not all deals are finalized, so don’t expect to access Beatles music on the new service just yet.
Apple Music Family Plan is available
Apple offers a Family Plan for its new service, but it may choose to be a no-go for Android users whenever the Apple Music app launches on Android in the Fall. In particular, users need to use the iOS 8 Family Sharing setup for iOS that allows all family members to be connected to the same account and have one credit card or debit card for all users. If you want to share music with friends, for example, know that they’ll be able to purchase music in the same way that your child or spouse would be able to, however.
The iOS 8 Family Sharing setup was designed by Apple to help parents prevent their children from downloading paid apps for which a parent could be billed. Apple was somewhat forced to do this because of the parental lawsuit waged against the company (in the millions of dollars) for Apple’s allowance of child downloads, but the music service may be the best use of the feature for iOS users. Apple Music will charge $14.99 monthly for up to 6 users, and, depending on your family, may be worth having.
Apple Music for Android will be available this Fall
Apple’s Music service will be a big hit with users, no doubt, as many will be tempted to try a radio service from the company that manufactures their favorite iDevices, but tempting Android users away from Google may be a bit more difficult. Apple’s Family Sharing plan may work for large families or those with some size, but Apple’s greatest difficulty will come with single users or a couple that has no children, for example. Android users are likely dabbling into Google’s YouTube Music Key service at this point, with many still using Google’s Play Music service to download songs they want to listen to.
A large majority of Android users in the world are Samsung users, and someone using Samsung devices should question why they’d use Apple Music in the first place when Samsung’s own Milk Music radio service works just as well if not better. For just $3.99 monthly, users can have unlimited skipping of songs, play radio offline without an internet connection, among other features. This may not be the question to ask if you’re a Samsung user who’s planning to grab the iPhone 6s this Fall, but diehard Android users have Samsung and Google from which to grab the best of radio music.
That doesn’t mean that Apple won’t try to win Android users over, however.