Apple Moves To Recoup $3.2 Billion It Paid For Beats With Apple Music Launch
Apple Music has already cost the US Company $3.2 Billion now Apple is looking to get a return on their investment.
Apple Music goes live across 100 countries today, June 30, at 4pm (BST), bringing with it Apple’s 24/7 Beats 1 radio channel.
According to Mashable, Apple Music will stream music at a bit rate of 256 kilobits per second (kbps) using Advanced Audio Coding (AAC).
For clarity, bit rate is how much data is processed over a period of time. In this case, every second of a song contains 256 kilobits of information.
This means that higher bit rates equate to more detailed songs, which translates to better sounding audio – although how much us simple human folk really notice these small differences is open to debate.
For instance, Deezer and Tidal offers a Hi Fi tier which streams at 1,411kbps using the Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) format. That’s the equivalent of CD quality audio. This can be listened to on a Sonos system in Australia after Deezer cut an exclusive deal
Spotify, by contrast, streams at 320kbps, as does Google Play Music, and Rdio. Xbox Music, streams at just 192kbps.
The big question is why has Apple chosen to fall in the middle? Apparently, it’s because songs downloaded from iTunes are also encoded in 256kbps AAC.
It’s important to note that most people won’t be able to tell the difference between 256kbps and 320kbps, so Spotify isn’t necessarily an inherently better proposition than Apple Music because of its higher bit rate.
Don’t forget that Apple hasn’t actually officially confirmed the Apple Music bit rate yet, so we’ll have to hold off on judgement until the launch.
Apple Music also offers more than 50 human-curated radio channels to compete with the likes of Pandora. Beats 1 is Apple Music’s 24-hour, ad-free, live online radio station, featuring shows hosted by renowned disc jockeys Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga. Musicians such as Pharrell, Dr. Dre, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga and Jaden Smith will also show up on Beats 1, too-though at this point, it’s not clear if they’ll be regulars or just occasional guests.
Beats 1 will be free to everyone, regardless of whether they’re subscribing to Apple Music or not. The 50 other stations will only be available to paying subscribers worldwide, unless you’re in the U.S. or Australia, where there will be free ad-supported versions of those stations.
There will also be a section in the Apple Music mobile apps and in iTunes, where Apple Music can be found on Macs and PCs, called Connect, where artists can deliver new songs, remixes and other media directly to their fans. (Think SoundCloud.)
If you want Apple Music, you’re in for some software updates. And, given that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, will be doing the same, this could take a while.
On iPhones and iPads, you can only get the Apple Music app (which will replace the existing iOS Music app) with an update to iOS 8.4. Before you update, read our guide on how to clear space on your iPhone or iPad to make room for the new software. When you’ve got enough space for iOS 8.4, go to Settings => General => Software Update and you’ll see a download prompt there.
On a Mac or PC, if you want Apple Music, you’ll have to update your iTunes. Just launch the app, then click iTunes in the menu bar, and click Check for Updates. A pop-up window will let you download iTunes 12.2, which has Apple Music built in.
At launch, Apple Music is only available for Apple devices. But it’ll come to Android and Sonos speakers later this year.