Apple Music and the Beats 1 radio station launch today in just a few short hours. But Apple yesterday gave Re/code and Mashable an early look at the new service and they've just published their first impressions.
Apple has built a handsome, robust app and service that goes well beyond just offering a huge catalog of music by providing many ways to discover and group music for a very wide range of tastes and moods.
But it’s also uncharacteristically complicated by Apple standards, with everything from a global terrestrial radio station to numerous suggested playlists for different purposes in different places. And the company offers very little guidance on how to navigate its many features. It will take time to learn it. And that’s not something you’re going to want to do if all you’re looking for is to lean back and listen.
Christina Warren of Mashable also got an advance preview:
It's hard for me to over-stress how much I like For You. From the very beginning, the recommendations in playlists and albums that the app showed me were dead-on accurate, reflecting my various musical interests.
Straight out, I was given a recommendation of a Taylor Swift love ballad playlist and albums from The Kinks, Sufjan Stevens, Elliot Smith, The Shins, Miguel and Drake. So basically my musical brain.
Jim Dalrymple also got a chance to interview Apple's Eddy Cue and Jimy Iovine:
Jimmy shocked me a bit when he said, “Radio is massive.” I considered radio to be like magazines—steadily going downhill for the last decade or so. However, Iovine said that 270 million people in America still listen to radio, adding jokingly, “I didn’t think there were that many people that had a radio.”
Cue and Iovine explained that the problem with radio was not the fact that people didn’t like it, but rather that too much advertising and radio station research into what songs were popular was flawed. Songs that weren’t popular right away were pulled, based on research, so you listen to the radio and hear the same songs all the time.
As Cue pointed out, Technology limited the ads, but it also eliminated the DJ, something many people enjoyed.
Update: USA Today also got an early look:
Not all the artists whose music is available for purchase in iTunes are also available for streaming, most notably The Beatles: "There always some folks to come later that we would all like," Cue says. "Over time I certainly would expect the Beatles to be there." Of course if you own the Beatles music it can reside next to the on-demand tracks in the library.