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Apple announces its 'revolutionary music service' for $9.99 a month

Last year, Apple acquired Beats Music, and ever since then, rumors have been constantly swirling that the company would redevelop the streaming service under its own brand. Today, it announced Apple Music.

With a predictable heap of hyperbole, Apple declared that "it will change the way you think about music forever", and it consists of two major new components.

First, the company is launching what it calls a "revolutionary music service", exactly as expected, which will allow users to stream music from the iTunes catalog - but beyond this, the company will also be offering curated playlists and recommendations.

An integral part of this is its new Music app, which includes a 'For You' section that can make new music recommendations based on your tastes and usage. Playlists are not based purely on software algorithms but also includes selections made by "people who love music".

Connecting fans with music and artists is another cornerstone of the new service. Through Apple Music Connect, artists will be able to share lyrics, photos, videos and other content with their fans; the fans themselves can comment on the songs and content, and share it via social media and email.

Everything comes together - including the streaming service, users' existing purchased music, and other multimedia features - in the new Apple Music app. The app itself features a new user interface that first appeared in the iOS 8.4 beta.

Apple's Jimmy Iovine, formerly of Beats, said that the aim behind the new service was to create "a bigger and better ecosystem with the elegance and simplicity that only Apple can do". From discovering music, to watching music videos, and answering the elusive question, "What song do I listen to next?", Apple is attempting to build a single unified hub for all of your music needs.

This brings us to the second component of the new music platform: Apple is launching its first 24-hour-a-day worldwide radio station, called Beats 1 - and given how emphatically Apple referred to it being 'the first', it seems likely that the company doesn't expect it to be the last.

With global coverage led by DJs Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London, Beats 1 promises to offer "exclusive interviews, guest hosts and the best of what's going on in the world of music."

Iovine said that the station "has only one master: music itself", and that it would be "a music-lover's dream".

There's also new Siri integration - you can now simply ask Siri to play a particular song or artist, or use natural language to request a genre or era of music.

Apple Music will launch in over 100 countries on June 30. You'll be able to get a free three-month trial initially, after which the service will be priced at $9.99 a month. However, a family plan will also be offered, allowing up to six family members to use the service - each with their own Music account and recommendations - for $14.99 a month.

But perhaps the most surprising news of all is that Apple Music is coming to Android later this year. And Windows Phone? Don't hold your breath.

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