Make the most of Ap­ple’s new ser­vice

Ap­ple’s mu­sic stream­ing ser­vice brings big changes to its Mu­sic and iTunes apps. We’ll help you make the most of them.

Mac Format - - CONTENTS - Words: Alan Stone­bridge

Ap­ple Mu­sic has a strong fo­cus on help­ing you to dis­cover new things among a li­brary of mil­lions of tracks

Ap­ple has at last in­tro­duced a mu­sic stream­ing ser­vice that, for a monthly fee com­pa­ra­ble to sim­i­lar ser­vices (see group test, MF289), gives you ac­cess to mil­lions of songs by artists big and small. For £9.99 a month, or £14.99 to al­low up to five other fam­ily mem­bers to use it too, you can ex­plore hun­dreds of years of mu­si­cal her­itage and hear brand-new re­leases on your Mac, Win­dows PC, iOS de­vices and Ap­ple Watch – and Ap­ple TV and An­droid de­vices from the au­tumn.

We’ve fo­cussed the ma­jor­ity of our tips on the iOS ver­sion be­cause of the pop­u­lar­ity of ac­cess­ing mu­sic on por­ta­ble de­vices, even if that’s to send it to re­mote speak­ers. Most of this ap­plies to iTunes 12.2 on the Mac too, though there are a few things that are pos­si­ble only on one or the other.

The ser­vice is about more than just giv­ing you a mas­sive li­brary of mu­sic to ex­plore at your own leisure. It also in­cludes the Beats 1 in­ter­net ra­dio sta­tion (which doesn’t re­quire a sub­scrip­tion), genre-based ra­dio sta­tions (which do) and the fea­ture for­merly known as iTunes Ra­dio, avail­abil­ity of which was pre­vi­ously lim­ited to the US and Aus­tralia.

Just as im­por­tant, there’s a strong fo­cus on dis­cov­er­ing new things to lis­ten to – both new re­leases and back cat­a­logue ma­te­rial that fits your tastes. Ap­ple Mu­sic tries to do this in­tel­li­gently, based on some sim­ple guid­ance from you when set­ting it up, ex­plicit feed­back you give it by mark­ing things as ‘loved’, and your lis­ten­ing habits.

Ap­ple Mu­sic also con­nects you to your favourite artists in the same way you might fol­low them on so­cial net­works. This doesn’t re­quire a sub­scrip­tion ex­cept to add au­dio from their posts to your li­brary.

You might al­ready fol­low artists on other net­works, and right now many we’ve fol­lowed seem not to be post­ing to Ap­ple Mu­sic, but in time you might find it a use­ful way to keep artists’ mus­ings sep­a­rate from your ac­tual friends.

One thing that might strike you as odd about Ap­ple Mu­sic is that it’s so sep­a­rated out from the iTunes Store. You’ll need to type into a search bar to reach most of what’s in its li­brary, yet you can add things to your per­sonal col­lec­tion, where you can rate tracks, add them to playlists, and down­load it to play off­line just like tracks you’ve bought.

You’ll spot a new heart icon in Mu­sic and iTunes, and on your iOS de­vice’s Lock screen and Con­trol Cen­tre. It’s cru­cial to get­ting the most out of the Ap­ple Mu­sic when it comes to lis­ten­ing rec­om­men­da­tions.

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