Apple's wannabe Spotify assassin, Apple Music, goes live Tuesday, and if you're thinking about hopping on board, here's what you need to know.
Probably the most defining characteristic of Apple Music is its lack of a free tier. You will have to pay at least $9.99 a month if you want to use Apple Music or $15.99 a month for a six-person family plan. But the service does launch with a free, three-month trial period, complete with Taylor Swift's seal of approval.
Apple, ever the Good Samaritan, likes to remind everyone that paying for the service means artists get paid more.
One of the biggest criticisms of services like Pandora and Spotify is that they don't pay artists enough. But unless an artist is already a big success, his or her paycheck from Apple is expected to still be pretty light.
So what do you need to use this service? Well, Android users are left out in the cold until Apple Music arrives on that platform in the fall. But yes, folks, Apple Music is coming to Android. (Video via Google)
As far as the actual music goes, the catalog is expected to be pretty solid. And it'll include a couple notable exclusives: mainly, Dr. Dre's album, "The Chronic" and Taylor Swift's full catalog, including her newest album, "1989."
Apple also wants its service to feel like the coolest place to listen, so it has recruited a former BBC personality Zane Lowe for Beats One radio. It will essentially be a Sirius XM-like station for your iPhone.
Apple is also boasting about a new suggestion system called "For You," which will create a custom music stream based on your preferences and user history.
The biggest thing Apple has going for it is integration — everyone with an iPhone or iPad running iOS 8 will already have the Apple Music app on their phone and access to a three-month trial.
But beyond that, there isn't much else to differentiate from Apple's competitors. So Apple's really going to have to rely on some fanboy or fangirl love and strong word of mouth if it wants to be the new leader in music streaming.
This video includes images from Getty Images and music from Birocratic / CC BY 3.0.