Apple Music Announces Streaming Service, Beats 1 Radio, Connect Social Network

Buzz going into Apple’s presentation today at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco was that the company would unveil its new streaming service, and after interminable presentations about OS X 10 El Capitan, iOS9, Apple Pay, Swift, and a bunch of other futuristic technology, Apple did exactly that with the help of Drake, Trent Reznor, Jimmy Iovine, Zane Lowe, and lots of other celebs.

Apple Music has three components: (1) A “revolutionary music service” featuring on-demand streaming of all music in the iTunes Store, ad-free music videos, and human-curated playlists, (2) a 24/7 global radio station called Beats 1, anchored by ex-BBC star Lowe in Los Angeles, Hot 97’s Ebro Darden in New York, and Julie Adenuga in London, and (3) Connect, a sort of all-purpose online space for artists in the vein of Bandcamp, Tumblr, and MySpace. Drake and Pharrell were rumored as DJs on the radio station, but instead their multimillion-dollar payday relates to their ground-floor involvement with Connect.

“We’ve had a long relationship with music at Apple, and music has had a rich history of change, some of which we’ve been a part of,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said before throwing to Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine, whose Beats Music was purchased by Apple last year. Iovine introduced the service with a preamble about the disarray of the early MP3 frontier and his early amazement at the iTunes store. Then a parade of stars including Reznor, Lowe, and Drake showed up to sing the praises of Apple Music. The presentation emphasized many of the same tenets as Tidal — specifically the sanctity of music and the need to support artists large and small — and there was a heavy emphasis on curation by humans rather than algorithms. The event ended with the Weeknd performing his new single “I Can’t Feel My Face.”

Although Kanye West’s Swish was rumored to come out at WWDC — on West’s 38th birthday, no less — Buzzfeed reports that negotiations to release the album as an Apple Music exclusive are ongoing. It’s unclear whether this tweet from Kim Kardashian West means the album will drop today:

Apple Music launches later this month with a three-month trial. After that, subscriptions will cost $9.99/month, with one game-changing caveat: Family memberships of up to six people will cost $14.99/month.