Apple has announced it will launch a new music streaming service called Apple Music.
Apple, which played an instrumental part in the digital music revolution, has thus far not entered into the subscription content service game.
Instead, the company has sold digital music, movies, TV shows, and books through iTunes, complemented by services such as iTunes Radio and iTunes Match.
iTunes Radio lets users listen to DJ-curated or genre-specific online radio stations, but without the ability to choose specific songs.
iTunes Match lets you pay $24.99 per year to have all your music – including songs ripped from CDs – available in iCloud. A subscription to Match also removes the ads from iTunes Radio.
Apple Music builds on these existing services by adding a 24/7 radio station that is run by Apple and its partners.
An old feature returning to Apple Music is the social networking service that used to be built into iTunes.
Previously called iTunes Ping, the service has been renamed Connect and had its feature-set tweaked.
Artists, whether signed or unsigned, will be able to connect with fans through the service. They will be able to post their latest tracks, behind-the-scenes photos, works in-progress, or a new remix.
Apple Music will cost $9.99 per month, or $14.99 per month for up to six family members. The first three months will be free.
It will launch on 30 June 2015 in 100 countries, with Android support coming “this fall” (September – November 2015).