It's safe to say that I'll probably be deaf by age 40 -- you know, judging by the hours and hours per day I spend with earbuds crammed into my head. And, starting Tuesday (June 30), I'll likely have Apple Music to blame for my rapidly impending lack-of-hearing-ness. Because, from what I can tell so far, it's kind of really rad.
Yup, Apple Music is finally here -- after years of waiting and a particularly memorable tussle with Taylor Swift over getting paid during the service's free three-month preview period. The service hits Apple devices today (Android at a later date) for the pretty standard price of $9.99 -- 30 million songs, plus 1989, in tow.
There will be a ton to talk about in the coming days when it comes to the future of streaming and artist compensation -- plus, Taylor will probably do something sometime as well -- but at the moment, I want to take you through my initial impressions of the app.
I got the chance to check out the service ahead of the official launch date and while I had A LOT OF THOUGHTS, I boiled them down to the guttural reactions below -- complete with accompanying GIFs. Check it out below and let us know in the comments: What do you think of Apple Music so far?
The first thing you're asked to do when booting up Apple Music is pick your favorite genres -- courtesy of some pink floating bubbles. You can tap once if you "Like" a genre -- twice if you LOVE a genre.
This took me quite a while, as I can find reasons to like pretty much anything (I mean, I like reggae-inspired older-school punk, but not so much REGGAE -- and I could take or leave modern reggae-inspired tunes).
I settled on LOVING indie, oldies, classic rock, rock, pop, alternative (because, you know, guitars) -- which took me to the NEXT stage, where I was asked to then pick artists in those genres. I was "hmmm"ing all over the place at this point and -- when the app suggested the Monkees -- feeling super reminiscent for my youth and my childhood crush on Micky Dolenz. I also picked some artists like FKA twigs and Tame Impala, a.k.a. bands you have probably heard of.
After I picked my genres and artists, I was taken to a page boasting myriad playlists -- tailored especially for me. There was one detailing Grizzly Bear's influences, an introduction to the music of Of Montreal, a selection of records (from Weezer to Lykke Li) and, score, a playlist of '90s alternative rock titled "Here We Are Now, Entertain Us."
As I have been on a kick lately of performing such songs at karaoke to everyone's
delighthorror, I was happy to see a pretty diverse listing of everything from Nirvana to The Donnas. With a little mental fistpump (I save the real ones for the stage), I clicked the little plus sign at the top to add that playlist to my music library.
Speaking of My Music, that's also a tab on Apple Music -- and when I opened it, every album I own was already loaded up, from Azaelia Banks to X. I noticed that I don't yet have FIDLAR's "40oz. On Repeat," though, so I zoomed on over to the search function, typed in the title, and instantly added it to my music library.
While I was searching, I could also see what's trending in the store, which, it seems, is just a whole ton of Big Sean right now. (As he should be.) I could also make all of my music available for offline listening, which I did immediately, as I ride the subway every day and that mode of transit is basically just a modern-day version of "Dante's Inferno" and therefore wholly intolerable sans music.
"I Want That"
After browsing through my own music for a while -- which is frankly a little boring because I listen to things to death -- I clicked over to "New" and was immediately gorging myself on tunes. Ryn Weaver's The Fool? Need it. Florence + The Machine? Must have it. That was before I even laid eyes on the rest of the features on the page...
"Hmmmm" Again -- With A Different Inflection
At the bottom of the page, Apple boasts music organized by Apple's Music Editors, Activities and Curators. I clicked on "Indie" under the Music Editor section and found myself a little baffled. I mean, the definition of "indie" music is really loose -- but I don't generally think of artists like The Weeknd and A$AP Rocky as being particularly independent, and yet they were listed.
I did like the structure, though -- the section features playlists, albums you need to hear, radio, a spotlight feature where certain artists are called out (Odd Future was indie's, which seemed a little, well, odd to me), plus playlists that feature artist influences. I'm not sure I would subscribe to the indie section as it is now, but I may also be a little biased since I tend to go to shows at DIY venues with decaying bedbug-infested couches and whatnot and am a pretentious pain in the a to the double ss.
Apple Music also has some playlists catered for certain activities -- very few as of right now. They're pretty basic -- songs for breaking up, songs for getting ready to go out, etc. I'm not sure I would queue up any of these playlists IRL, but the one titled "Cuddling, Snuggling & Nuzzling" under the "Romancing" section features Nick Drake so we'll see how my next date night shakes out.
The app also has a curators section that's pretty handy -- basically playlists curated by publications and whatnot. It's pretty similar to what Spotify has done in the past, but I was still pretty stoked to add some of my favorite pubs' picks to my music library. Also, I totally want to curate a playlist -- it would be really weird and amazing and would contain many, many songs that one could mosh to. Call me, dudes.
"Totally Into It"
New ALSO has a huge cache of ad-free music videos, a feature I will totally be using the next time my friends and I go on a '90s music vid tear. "Basket Case," anyone?
"We Shall See"
One of the most intriguing features of Apple Music is Connect, which is supposed to be a kind of social feature that allows artists and fans to... connect. When you first log in, you'll be connected to every artist in your library (you can go through and unfollow them if you want to), and you'll have a stream of activity from said artists.
Fans will be able to like, comment on and share artist content and, I presume, artists can interact right back. Currently, the only artists in my feed are Cheap Trick and FKA twigs -- since the app hadn't launched at the time I was perusing it -- but I quickly went and followed my boyfriend-person and all my band friends for the sake of future
So I obviously didn't get the chance to check out Apple's impressive-sounding 24-hour live station Beats 1 yet -- as the app JUST launched -- but I did get a sneak peak from the team at a pretty neat little show from St. Vincent. Apparently, she's been asking fans to send her mixtape ideas in prep for the program, in which she queues up personalized jams. The first participant is an 11-year-old named Piper who loves to have dance parties in her room at night and is super into Chvrches and Purity Ring. I heard about three minutes of that first broadcast and my ovaries exploded all over the place.
Can't wait to see what St. Vincent and Beats 1 mastermind Zane Lowe bring to the digital airwaves.
"OK, yes, awesome"
You can totally ask Siri to play all manner of things -- from my favorite band Man Man's top hits to what song was popular on my birthday, December 27, 1984. It was "Like A Virgin," by the way. Which I guess is a very apropos way to end a review of a brand-new music app.