Apple Music: The 20-Second Sign-Up (Plus Some First Impressions)

After downloading iOS 8.4, I thought I’d give Apple Music a look. I was astonished at how quickly I was able to sign up to the new streaming service along with their Beats 1 “global radio station.”

The update was a light 218 MB.  After about five minutes of downloading (I was using a public wifi hotspot) and another ten minutes of installing, restarting and verifying, the update was complete.

The first thing you notice is the new look for the music icon. I keep mine on the bottom row on the far right.

New Apple Music icon


Clicking the icon immediately brings you to this.

Apple Music signup

A tap on the sign-up brings you to another screen that asks if you want the $9.99/month individual account or the family account (good for up to six people) for $14.99 a month. I went for the individual account.

Next up was a 79-page (!!!) ULA that no one but the hardest of the hardcore will read. Two clicks past that  (Agree. Agree.) and I was in. The whole process (I timed it) took 20 seconds. Wow.

Here’s my home page for music.

Music home


A playlist page looks like this.

Example playlist

Going through the tabs one by one, the first one (For You) asked me to set up my personalized stream by picking through a bunch of bubbles.  I’ll have to play with this.

Apple Stream setup


Moving on to “New,” guess who’s face you see first? Uh-huh.

Apple Music New


The Beats 1 home page looks like this.

Beats 1 home

These were the first four songs played:

1. Spring King, “City”

2. Beck, “Dreams”

3. Jamie xx, “Gosh”

4.Skepta, “Shutdown”

And finally, we have the “Connect” tab which promises direct connections to artists. I’ll worry about this later.

Apple Music Connect

Overall, it’s…okay. A bit clunky in spots and not as intuitive as you might expect an Apple product to be. For those who used Beats, it looks awfully familiar. And where are all the curated playlists?

Everyone has a free ride on Apple Music for the next 90 days. But given how easy it is to sign up, how many iTunes users–Apple already has the credit cards of 800 million of them–will give it a whirl? One survey taken back in March suggested that up to 28% of iOS users would be willing to pay for this service.  If that’s true, then we’re looking at a subscriber base of 224,000,000, about ten times the paying customers Spotify has now.

Let me experiment for a while. I’ll get back to you. Meanwhile, if you choose to sign up and want to opt out of Apple’s automatic billing after the 90 day free trial, here’s what you do. And if you want to in-depth right now, Rolling Stone has this primer, which is pretty good.

Other impressions can be found herehere and here.  And what can we expect over the next few months? Here are some predictions.

Last question: will download sales suffer on iTunes? Probably–but by how much? We’ll see.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Apple Music: The 20-Second Sign-Up (Plus Some First Impressions)

  • June 30, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I see the Sonos App on your screen.
    A work around to get Apple Music on your Sonos would be to use the line input (Play5, Connect, Connect amp or Playbar) with an airport express. Within Apple Music Airplay from your device to the airport express. On the Sonos app choose the line input as a source for whatever room you are in. Note you don’t need to be in the room with the line input.

    Or if you don’t have a airport express you could connect your iDevice to the line input but then you need to walk over to the iDevice to control it.

    Sonos has said that Apple Music will be supported by the end of the year.



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