Before the launch of its new music streaming service, Apple invited selected journalists to take it for a spin.
The reviews we’ve seen so far.
Neil Cybart, Above Avalon: “Given what was announced at WWDC and knowing a bit about the Beats app, I felt pretty confident that Apple Music was going to be the right product for Apple, and after using the service for some time, my early assumptions were correct. I think Apple nailed it. Yes, the curated playlists are interesting, and the process of selecting which music genres and artists that I enjoy was as smooth as can be, but without question the highlight of the product was Beats 1.”
Walt Mossberg, re/code: Rich, Robust — But Confusing. “Would I pay $10 a month — $120 a year — to use it? My answer is a tentative yes, with some caveats. Apple has built a handsome, robust app and service that goes well beyond just offering a huge catalog of music by providing many ways to discover and group music for a very wide range of tastes and moods. But it’s also uncharacteristically complicated by Apple standards, with everything from a global terrestrial radio station to numerous suggested playlists for different purposes in different places. And the company offers very little guidance on how to navigate its many features. It will take time to learn it. And that’s not something you’re going to want to do if all you’re looking for is to lean back and listen.”
Harley Brown, Spin: What Works (and What Doesn’t). “The first thing that happens when Apple Music launches actually looks pretty familiar to anyone who used Beats Music: circles representing different genres (Indie, Electronic, Oldies, Alternative, etc.) float into view on the screen, and users tap or double-tap the ones they like and love, respectively. Once those categories have been nailed down, the artists in them — Tame Impala for Indie, Porter Robinson for Electronic, and B.B. King for Blues, to pick a smattering of options presented to me —and then, ideally, you’re done. For Apple Music’s intents and purposes, your musical identity has been established, at least until if/when you decide to change it later.”
Jim Dalrymple, The Loop: First Look, Apple Music. “To date, Apple has failed pretty miserably with updates to iTunes, most notably with Ping and iTunes Radio. Those failures led me to be a subscriber of Spotify, Rdio, I Heart Radio, Beats and most recently a paid subscription to Pandora. I’ve been a subscriber the rest of those services for about a year, so I have experience with all of them. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much from Apple Music. I was not only pleasantly surprised when I started using it, I’m downright impressed.”
Edward Baig, USA Today: Visually appealing with creative playlists. “Apple has high hopes for the Connect feature that connects artists to fans. The artists you follow may post extra music and videos, photos, in-progress song lyrics, info on tour dates and more. Having indicated an interest in classical music, I found myself connected to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra where conductor Sir Simon Rattle in a video discussed streaming classical music. For all its promise, the Connect area seems pretty thin at the outset.”
Christina Warren, Mashable: It’s all about curation, curation, curation. “Much of the Apple Music experience really is Beats Music. And this is a good thing. I always thought Beats had the best discovery mechanism of the streaming services. With live radio, human curated playlists and access to your iTunes purchase history, I’m really liking Apple Music. Will it replace Spotify for diehard subscribers? That’s a more complicated question — and one I plan to address in Mashable‘s full review. For now, however, the For Me section alone has made me excited about music for the first time in a long time. And that’s a good thing.”
More as they come in.