Long-Awaited Services Splashes Down With Streaming, Radio, More

The cover of our latest issue commemorates the event we’ve been eagerly anticipating for months—what we’ll hereafter refer to simply as The Announcement. And now, Van Arno’s heavenly illustration, entitled “The Advent of Apple Music,” takes flight, proverbially speaking. Will today's event represent the genesis of a music-biz renaissance? That's what we're praying for.

Apple's big WWDC unveiling Monday in San Francisco culminated with the long-awaited Apple Music, which goes live on 6/30. As expected, it's $9.99 per month with a free three-month trial (families can get up to six accounts for $14.99). With on-demand streaming, curated playlists, and live radio, it's intended as "one thought" for all music, and can be bossed around via Siri. Oh, and it'll be available for Android users.

Cook starts the music portion of the presentation with a video on the history of music. It includes CDs and boomboxes and iPods and record stores going out of business.  And now: Apple Music.

"The next chapter in music. It will change the way you experience music forever." He brings out Jimmy Iovine. 

Iovine retraces history of iTunes. Notes that today it's a fragmented mess, how he appealed to Apple for an elegant solution to streaming fragmentation.

A video starring Trent Reznor details the gathering of on-demand streaming, curated playlists, new releases and free, 24/7 worldwide radio (Beats 1) from all over. Apple Connect for sharing of all media.

Reznor promises "An ecosystem ... to grow and sustain careers... one place, one complete thought around music."

Iovine says the next song is as important as the song playing now, and Apple Music will give you "the right song" for whatever you're doing.

Radio will not be based on research or genre or BPMs but that's "great."

He brings out Eddy Cue to discuss how the elements work together. In addition to on demand, "For You" recommendations serve up human-curated ideas based on your taste. Top charts plus playlists by genre or activity appear in one place.

With radio "We wanted to do something really big." He introduces a video from former BBC Radio 1 star Zane Lowe to discuss Beats 1. He reports his marching orders were to "move the needle," pushing real radio and music discovery.

Cue demonstrates Apple Connect with content from Pharrell, including demos, photos and lyrics; fan comments are enabled on each post. He brings up Drake, who discusses the importance of technology in reaching fans directly. He notes the power of Apple Connect as he works on his new album. He says "It simplifies everything for the modern musician...and the modern consumer."

Cue starts the Apple Music demo with a Spoon song, "Rent I Pay." Showcases artwork on artist pages. He runs through "for you" setup, which asks for genres and artists the user likes. Curated playlists come up. Videos are in same interface without ads.

Siri has been "learning a lot about music," with the ability to oblige requests like "play the top 10 songs at Alternative" or "play the #1 song from April 1982."

Wrapping up, Eddy promises Apple Music on a bunch of platforms, notes it's $9.99 a month with a three-month free trial, as expected. Meanwhile, a $14.99 subscription allows up to six family members. It's all coming on 6/30. Cook plays the first-ever ad. Oh, and it'll be available on Android devices. That's a lot of users.

The finale: XO/Republic's The Weeknd comes out to perform new single "I Can't Feel My Face." Holy shit, what a great song.

For the really nerdy WWDC stuff, see below.

Cook hit the stage a little late (after quick comedy spot co-starring Bill Hader) and welcomed the throng to the 26th annual WWDC. He notes more live-streaming than ever.

He then told a quick anecdote of paying the ransom for Brandon Moss' 100th home run ball back from his prankster Indians teammtes, since they demanded a long list of Apple gizmos.

Cook is talking "ecosystem" with new iOS, OSX and watchOS. He's dispensing with normal remarks except to say "Everything's great." He brings out Craig Federighi to talk operating systems. He touts the virtues of Yosemite, which is designed to work more effectively across all devices. The new OSX is El Capitan, named for a mountain "within" Yosemite. Windows management, app enhancement and more touch gestures are big talking points. There are improvements to Safari for whomever actually uses Safari. "In my own words" searching works on multiple programs. Yurts are mentioned.

Everything's faster, too.

Now, a demo of Metal for Mac, which accelerates graphics rendering to a degree unseen on any ... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...

More coffee. That's the ticket. We know the music thing will happen eventually.

Oops, now we're in a developers' game interface. They're finding an axe! A broom! A purple storm! But probably not any dates.

Federighi talks improvements in iOS 9, and how much faster and more accurate Siri has become. Soon you will be Siri's slave. iOS gives you in-app search and finds and serves up photo and other media more handily than ever. He also claims Apple maintains user privacy to an unprecedented degree. 

VP of Internet Services Jennifer Bailey introduces Apple Pay: "replacing the wallet." We are holding our eyes open with toothpicks. Federighi talks Transit, with detailed refinements for getting around on public transport and on foot. The new News app (intro'd by exec Susan Prescott) with "best mobile reading experience ever." Notes offers, um, the best notes experience ever, we guess. A low power mode extends battery life.

Car Play will let you run your apps to your car player without taking it out of your pocket or plugging it in.

The place erupts when Federighi announces open-source programming in Swift. So now you know what you're dealing with.

Cook returns to the stage. He announces the App Store has passed 100 billion apps downloaded. So that's a lot. A video starring SVP Phil Schiller and a ton of creators and execs celebrates apps and developers.

Next: A nice long section on the Apple Watch











Dynamic duos (12/7a)
I.B. Bad on music's biggest comeback (12/7a)
It's De-Lovely. (12/7a)
He's got a new record to talk about. (12/8a)
The hitmakers speak. (12/8a)

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