Apple finally turned up the volume on the whispers about its new music streaming service.
Tim Cook announced Apple Music at the 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco Monday. As predicted, the service will cost $10 a month for unlimited music streaming, and it will come to computers and iOS devices June 30. A version for Android drops in the fall.
Apple Music is the long-awaited product of Apple's $3 billion acquisition last year of Beats Entertainment, owned by legendary Interscope record producer Jimmy Iovine and rap icon turned audio entrepreneur Dr. Dre, and finally puts its streaming segment, Beats Music, to work.
Sales on iTunes still dominate other download marketplaces, but download revenues have given way to streaming, so it's about time Apple got on the stream train. Apple Music marks a major play against Spotify, as well as Pandora, Amazon Prime Music, and Jay-Z's Tidal. And if it takes money out of iTunes' mouth, so be it. On stage at WWDC, CEO Tim Cook practically encouraged listeners not to download when he underscored that a month of streaming is the same price as a single album on iTunes.
Apple Music breaks down to three main components that Iovine said comprise everything a listener needs.
"Online music has become a complicated mess of apps, services and websites," he said Monday. "Apple Music brings the best features together for an experience every music lover will appreciate."
Apple Music, the central streaming part, encompasses the full Apple catalogue, making its over 30 million songs playable at any time, along with your own library and playlists. But the company says the "soul" of Apple Music is the curated playlists, created by music experts hired by Apple.
The app gets to know your preferences and presents albums, playlists and new releases based on your likes. That's in the "For You" section. And Siri gets into the action, too. You can use voice prompts ("Play me the best songs from 1994," or "What was the song from 'Selma'?") to find a play tracks with Siri on the virtual ones and twos.
Apple Music Radio is a live 24-hour radio station broadcasting to 100 countries from New York, Los Angeles and London. At the helm are handpicked DJs -- Ebro Darden, Zane Lowe and Julie Adenuga, respectively. Genre-based stations will also be "curated" by DJs, relying on personal taste rather than algorithms the way Pandora does. And with a membership, you can skip all the songs you want.
Apple Music Connect is intended to let musicians connect with their fans and vice versa. Artists big and small can post updates, share lyrics, backstage photos, exclusive videos and previously unreleased tracks. Fans can comment, like, and share over social media.
A monthly subscription to Apple Music will cost $9.99 starting June 30 on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and PC. Apple TV and Android versions come out in the fall. Apple is offering the first three months free and also has a family plan -- $14.99 a month for up to six users.