Apple just completed it's opening keynote at the 26th annual Worldwide Developer Conference. After two hours of discussing superfluous updates to iOS and OS X, and unveiling the watchOS, CEO Tim Cook got on stage and announced there was "one more thing."
That thing is the rebranding of Beats Music as Apple Music, (stylistically written Music). The streaming service will be $9.99 a month, with the first three months free for everybody. There is also a family plan, where you can connect 6 accounts for $14.99. The service will allow you to stream anything in the iTunes music library, as well as music videos anytime you want.
There will also be a 24-hour worldwide radio station called Beats1, featuring big name DJs and even overpaid rappers. There are rumors that Apple is courting Drake to be a guest DJ to the tune of $14 million. But that could just be a rumor to get hype going. No official contracts have been reported.
There will also be a social networking element to the service. A "Connect" tab will allow artists to post photos, status, and videos directly to their fans. You, as a consumer, would basically follow your favorite artists, as you would on Facebook or Instagram, and they would bring their content to you within the Music app. We'll see if this makes it past the end of the year. The last time Apple tried to launch a social network on top of their iTunes platform, it was called Ping and it failed miserably.
But what does this mean for metalheads? Well, it means this is basically a Spotify competitor built into your iPhone (they announced an Android version is coming later in the year.) You can basically stream all of iTunes' metal offerings from your phone. We have no word on royalty rates for indie labels, a big hold up for Spotify and a reason that a lot of labels still don't offer full discographies on the service. Will Apple pay better? Will the ubiquity of Apple products cause labels to cave in any way and just have their music on the service? We'll have to wait to find out. Spotify's CEO doesn't seem phased tweeting "Oh ok" at today's news in a since-deleted tweet. Apple will still be selling MP3s as it traditionally has within the same app. But you have to wonder why would somebody need to "own" their music, when they can just stream it?
Apple's Siri software will work with the new software as well, responding to such voice commands as "play the top songs from 1982" and starting an immediate playlist using the streaming software.
It seems that Apple has not forgotten about metal. During the presentation, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software, Eddy Cue, showed how the software would learn of your interests by asking you what genres you are into. Metal is represented on the upper right of the screenshot:
So there will be metal music available, and there will be metal playlists, but will metal be featured on their worldwide radio station? I have to doubt that.
Either way, another big player has entered the streaming game. Apple's service launches at the end of the month. This is big. Mashable has put together a chart detailing the benefits of various streaming services.
[Photos via The Verge Liveblog]