TIME Media

Apple Music Is Cheaper Depending on Where You Live

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Opens In San Francisco
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue speaks during the Apple WWDC on June 8, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

Apple wants to make its service competitive with other apps available on Android

Apple Music may cost about $10 per month in the United States, but that’s not the case everywhere.

The music streaming service, which rolls out in more than 100 countries this week, is considerably cheaper in parts of Asia and South America. In India, a subscription will cost about $2 per month, according to Quartz. In Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand, the cost is about $5. These countries also have the group membership subscription, which costs $15 in the U.S., offered at a similar discount.

Other streaming services like Rdio already offer competing services in foreign markets at a pretty low price. In the past, Apple hasn’t tried to compete on price in emerging markets, instead positioning the iPhone as a luxury item. But with Apple Music set to launch on Android, the world’s most popular mobile operating system, in the fall, it makes sense for Apple to price its service in a way that makes it affordable to all smartphone users and not just iPhone owners.

TIME apps

6 Must-Know Tricks for Mastering Apple Music

A guide to Apple's powerful but somewhat confusing new app

Apple Music, Apple’s new streaming service, is finally here. The $9.99-per-month service is trying to beat competitors like Spotify and Google Play Music by cramming in as many features as possible: access to 30 million songs on demand, playlists curated by music experts, algorithmically powered radio stations and a live radio station like the ones you hear on the classic FM dial.

All those features add up to make Apple Music an incredibly powerful app, but also one that can be pretty challenging to navigate. Here are five quick tips to make the experience a bit more seamless:

Understanding Apple Music’s Tabs

Apple Music is divided into five main sections, and it’s not exactly obvious what each one does. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • For You shows you personalized playlists and albums based on the genre and artist preferences you pick out when you first open the app, as well as your play history.
  • New shows a list of new songs and albums, currently popular content, videos and thematic playlists.
  • Radio features Beats 1, Apple’s 24/7 live radio station, and algorithmically driven stations based on genre.
  • Connect is a social network that lets artists connect directly to fans.
  • My Music shows the songs you have in your library, as well as any playlists you’ve built.

Show Only Songs You’ve Downloaded

Apple Music doesn’t do much to help denote which songs are downloaded to your phone and which are floating in the cloud. On the “My Music” tab, you can select the drop-down menu that begins with “Artists” in the middle of the screen and activate the “Music Available Offline” option at the bottom of the menu. That will make it so only songs on your iPhone show up.

Turn Off Your Subscription’s Auto-Renewal

Apple Music comes with a free three-month subscription, but be careful—Apple has already “helpfully” signed you up to begin paying the $9.99 monthly fee via your iTunes account when the trial ends. To make sure you don’t get charged, press the human silhouette icon in the top left corner of Apple Muisc, select “View Apple ID,” then select “Manage” under the Subcriptions header. Select “Apple Music Membership” and then select “Free Trial.” The app should then show you the date your trial is set to end, and it won’t charge you after that time expires.

 

Download Songs Using Cellular Data

By default, the iPhone only downloads songs over Wi-Fi to help prevent large data bills. If you want to be able to download Apple Music songs to your phone via wireless data, go to the Settings menu and then select “iTunes & App Store.” Toggle the “Use Cellular Data” option on, and Apple Music will be able to download songs whenever you have an Internet connection.

See the Upcoming Schedule for Beats 1

Beats 1, Apple Music’s live radio station, is a new twist for music streaming, but presents an age-old problem for music listeners: how do you know what the radio station is going to play next? If you simply click on the “Beats 1” art at the top of the “Radio” tab, you’ll be presented with a schedule of the upcoming shows over the next several hours. Bonus protip: you can add any song playing on Beats 1 to your library by selecting the three periods to the right of the song’s name and clicking “Add to My Music.”

Adjust Your Genre/Artist Preferences

When you first boot up Apple Music, the app will ask you to pick a few favorite genres to help it show you songs catered to your tastes. Later on, if you realize the app is serving you a bit too much death metal, you can change these preferences easily. Click the human silhouette icon in the top left corner, select “Choose Artists for You” and you’ll be taken to the same selection screen for genres and artists that you saw when you first used the app.

TIME Apple

Another Big Hardware Company Will Get Apple Music Support

Sonos And Blue Note Records Celebrate 75 Years Of Jazz Music And The Launch Of The Blue Note Limited Edition Sonos Speaker At The Iconic Capitol Records Tower In Hollywood
Jesse Grant—2015 Getty Images Sonos and Blue Note Records celebrate 75 years of jazz music and the launch of the Blue Note Limited Edition Sonos Speaker at The Iconic Capitol Records Tower on February 4, 2015 in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, California.

Get ready to stream all the Taylor Swift you want, Sonos users

If you’ve got yourself a sweet set of Sonos speakers, and you’re looking forward to Apple Music, good news! — the new music streaming service from the Cupertino giant will be available on Sonos hardware soon enough.

Apple and Sonos are working together to get Apple Music streaming on the connected speakers by the end of 2015, Apple confirmed to BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski. There had previously been some fear that third-party hardware makers wouldn’t get the same support from Apple that its own Beats brand would receive, but this news should alleviate some of that apprehension.

Apple Music will launch June 30.

TIME Media

Everything You Need to Know About Apple Music

Apple's foray into music streaming launches Tuesday

Apple’s answer to the fast-changing digital music landscape is finally upon us. Apple Music, which launches Tuesday, is the tech giant’s most ambitious music project since the original iTunes Store launched in 2003.

But unlike the company’s famous digital storefront, Apple Music won’t be selling users individual songs or albums. Instead, customers will pay a monthly subscription fee of about $10 per month for access to tens of millions of songs.

It’s a way of listening to music that’s fast becoming the norm thanks to similar offerings by competitors such as Spotify and Google. Though Apple is years late to the party, the company’s arrival signals that streaming is here to stay.

Here’s a quick primer on Apple Music and how it differs from the other streaming services on the market.

What does Apple Music offer?

Apple Music lets users stream songs from Apple’s massive library whenever they want. Users can make playlists or listen to playlists curated by music experts. Tracks can also be downloaded for offline listening.

While these are all standard features of most subscription services, Apple is also trying to make it easier for users to seamlessly switch between music in their personal libraries and songs on Apple’s service. Apple Music will automatically upload any tracks in a user’s library that aren’t available on the service to an iCloud account, so they can be streamed from any device — meaning users won’t have to use up lots of space on their phones. Users will be initially be able to store up to 25,000 of their own songs in the cloud; Apple has plans to increase that limit to 100,000 this fall.

How much will it cost?

A single membership is $9.99 per month, the standard rate for a paid streaming service. Users can also pay $15 per month for a family plan for up to six users. The service is launching with a three-month free trial available to all users.

Which devices does Apple Music support?

At launch Apple Music will support PC, Mac, Apple Watch and iOS devices that can run iOS 8 or newer. An Android version is coming in the fall.

How do I download Apple Music?

For iPhone users, simply download the iOS 8.4 update, expected to appear around 11 a.m. ET Tuesday.

What features make Apple Music stand out?

Apple is launching a live radio station called Beats 1 that will broadcast 24 hours a day. Helmed by former BBC Radio DJ Zane Lowe, the free station will feature shows by stars such as Drake and Elton John, as well as interviews with celebrities like Eminem.

Apple Music will also have a feature called Connect that lets artists post behind-the-scenes content and communicate directly with fans.

What about exclusive music?

It’s likely Apple will try to leverage its considerable clout and deep pockets to line up many exclusive releases for its music service. Already Taylor Swift has said her hit album 1989 will be available for streaming for the first time ever through Apple Music. Dr. Dre’s The Chronic will also make its streaming debut on Apple’s service (Dre began working for Apple after the company bought his company Beats Electronics for $3 billion last year). Expect similar deals in the future.

Which features is Apple Music missing?

Spotify remains the best service for making music-listening social thanks to its collaborative playlists and tight integration with Facebook. Apple hasn’t mentioned either feature being part of Apple Music. Apple’s service will also reportedly stream at a maximum bitrate of 256 kbps, which is below the 320 kbps that Spotify, Google Play Music, Tidal and Rdio all offer. Whether or not average users will notice or care about that difference remains to be seen.

What if I don’t want to pay for a subscription service?

Apple Music offers the live station, as well as artist and genre-specific Internet radio stations similar to Pandora, for free. Google Play Music and Rdio also have free tiers that offer Internet radio rather than on-demand streaming. Spotify remains the most fully-featured free ad-supported service as desktop users can play any song on demand for free while mobile users can build playlists to be enjoyed in random order.

TIME Media

HBO Has The Most Profitable iPhone App

New Product Announcements At The Apple Inc. Spring Forward Event
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Richard Plepler, chief executive officer of Home Box Office Inc. (HBO), speaks during the Apple Inc. Spring Forward event in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, March 9, 2015.

New standalone service is attracting subscribers.

Two months after its launch, HBO’s new standalone streaming service seems to be bringing in a lot of money. HBO Now was the highest-grossing highest-grossing app globally on iOS in May, according to App Annie, a research firm that tracks app sales and downloads.

At $14.99 per month, HBO Now costs significantly more than the typical apps people download. Still, the new service managed to top other streaming platforms such as Spotify and Hulu, which cost between $8 and $13 per month in the App Store.

Right now, Apple devices are still the easiest way to access HBO Now without having it bundled with something else. Optimum sells the service with its Internet package, and Sling TV offers it with a bundle of other channels delivered online. Soon Google is planning to launch the service on Android devices and Chromecast.

TIME Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ Will Be Available on Apple Music

Less than a week after calling Apple out, Swift says she'll bring latest album to streaming service

Less than a week after calling Apple out for not wanting to pay artists during the launch of Apple Music, Taylor Swift is now saying she’ll make her latest album available on the streaming service.

The pop star announced via a tweet that 1989, her smash hit album that was the best-selling LP of 2014, will be available on Apple Music. Swift’s back catalogue is available on some on-demand streaming services but 1989 has never been available to stream before.

The announcement is a big coup for Apple, which is entering a crowded market of subscription streaming services. On Sunday Swift penned a widely shared blog post criticizing the company for its plan to not pay artists during a three-month free trial period of Apple Music. The tech giant reversed course in a matter of hours and is now planning to pay artists a small amount for streams that occur during the free trial.

Swift has spoken out in the past against the idea of offering up artists’ music for free. She removed her entire catalogue from Spotify around the time of 1989‘s release in the fall because she doesn’t approve of the service’s free, ad-supported tier.

In her tweets, Swift also seemed to address the claim made by some observers that her entire spat with Apple might be a marketing ploy to promote herself and Apple Music. “In case you’re wondering if this is some exclusive deal like you’ve seen Apple do with other artists, it’s not,” she said. “This is simply the first time it’s felt right in my gut to stream my album. Thank you, Apple, for your change of heart.”

TIME Media

Hey, Taylor Swift: Here’s How Much Apple Is Really Paying Musicians

onstage during KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2014  powered by LINE at Staples Center on December 5, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
Kevin Winter—2014 Getty Images Taylor Swift onstage during KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2014 powered by LINE at Staples Center on December 5, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Apple will pay labels and publishers less during free trial of Apple Music, but it will pay something

The new terms of Apple’s deals with record labels for its new music streaming service are slowly leaking out.

The New York Times reports that Apple Music will pay labels 0.2 cents per stream during the service’s three-month free trial. Meanwhile, Billboard says music publishers, who control the songwriting rights for recorded music, will get 0.047 cents per stream during the free period.

That’s a turnaround from Apple’s initial plan, which was to pay rights holders nothing during the free three month trial. Pressure from independent labels and a widely shared blog post by Taylor Swift criticizing the policy compelled Apple to change course.

It’s unclear whether this plan to pay up during the free trial will affect Apple’s plan to offer 71.5% of total Apple Music subscription revenue to music rights holders. The figure would be slightly higher than Spotify’s rate of 70%.

TIME Apple

Apple Just Signed a Major Deal for its New Music Service

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Opens In San Francisco
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue speaks during the Apple WWDC on June 8, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

More artists are coming to Apple Music

Just days before its June 30 launch, Apple has signed on thousands of additional independent record labels to participate in its new Apple Music streaming service. Record company Beggars Group and independent label network Merlin have agreed to sign their artists — including Adele and the Arctic Monkeys — onto Apple’s platform.

The indies had been holding out because Apple initially didn’t plan to pay artists during a three-month free trial period. Beggars Group publicly spoke out against the policy last week, but it wasn’t until Taylor Swift penned a widely shared blog post calling Apple out that the tech giant backtracked and changed its policy. Apple will now pay artists even when customers aren’t paying during the trial, but the company hasn’t said exactly what the royalty rate will be.

After the free period, customers will have to pay $9.99 per month for Apple Music. Apple will share at least 71.5% of its revenue with artists, according to the New York Times.

MONEY pay TV

Hulu Subscribers Just Got a New Perk

Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson and Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters in Masters of Sex (season 3, episode 1) on Showtime
Michael Desmond—Showtime A scene from Showtime's "Masters of Sex"

If you already pay for Hulu, you can now get cheaper access to certain cable shows.

Streaming media provider Hulu has just announced a new deal that will allow current subscribers to get a discount on Showtime’s new standalone service.

The offer shaves $24 off the annual price of Showtime’s platform, an HBO Now-like service that will serve as an alternative for viewers who want access to the network’s popular shows—like Masters of Sex, Nurse Jackie, and Homeland—without paying for a cable package.

The service, which you can try out free for 30 days, normally costs $11 per month, but Hulu Plus subscribers can get it for $9. All told, a Hulu and Showtime subscription together would cost a little more than $200 per year.

If you don’t find Hulu’s offerings to be generally worth paying for (say, because you use rabbit ear antennas to watch network TV for free), but you do want to be able to watch cable shows and movies, check out our guide to choosing the perfect combination of streaming services—and never paying a cable bill.

TIME Media

These Taylor Truthers Think the Apple Feud Was a PR Stunt

It worked out so well. Almost too well...

After pop superstar Taylor Swift and Apple resolved their spat about music royalty rates over the weekend, both sides came out looking golden.

Apple had been planning not to pay artists during a three-month free trial period of its upcoming streaming service, Apple Music. The company swiftly about-faced, however, after the singer wrote a post Sunday demanding Apple pay up.

After the dust settled, Swift came out looking like a champion for her fellow artists, while Apple appeared open to making big changes when faced with mounting pressure. Apple also came out of the ordeal with more public interest in Apple Music, which launches June 30 but was announced to fairly muted fanfare.

In short, both sides won — a rare outcome in business negotiations. It was, at the very least, a savvy PR campaign by Swift to build public support for her cause and an effective response by Apple. But some people — let’s call them Taylor Truthers — think the two sides may have been in cahoots all along:

Meanwhile, former Pandora executive Tom Conrad deemed the so-called dispute “mostly theater.” Conrad pointed out that competitors such as Pandora, Spotify and YouTube already pay artists even for users who don’t pony up for their music.

Whatever the case, the entire episode speaks to the power of Swift’s brand. When she speaks about the future of the music business, people listen.

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