One Year In, Apple Music Sees Redesign And Controversy

Apple Music is celebrating its first birthday, with 15 million subscribers under its belt and arch rival Spotify in its sights. The streaming music service – and its flagship Beats 1 radio station – was launched twelve months ago after WWDC 2015, and as of the developer conference earlier this month has passed the 15m user point.

In contrast, Spotify has twice as many subscribers, but has taken eight times as long to build up that number. Tensions between the services have been growing, most recently after Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren name-checked Apple Music as an example of how the Cupertino company has an unfair advantage in how it takes a cut of other services' subscription fees.

Spotify charges $12.99/mo for a Premium subscription if bought via an iOS device, $3 more than if listeners sign up from the company directly to help offset the cut Apple takes.

Meanwhile, Apple Music is offered at $9.99/mo for individual accounts, or $4.99/mo for students. A family plan, supporting up to six users on the same subscription, is priced at $14.99 per month.

As well as iOS and Mac devices, Apple Music is also offered for Android devices and in iTunes on Windows PCs. Sonos added support for the service back in February.

It may only be a year old, but Apple Music is already getting a redesign. Unveiled at WWDC 2016, the new look will arrive in both the iOS 10 Music app and macOS Sierra as part of iTunes.

On phones and tablets, the new-design Apple Music brings curated playlists to the fore, as well as a "For You" section which – like Spotify's Discovery playlist – promises to highlight new music based on your listening history.

There are also lyrics for songs, together with a new "Downloaded" section to make it clearer what tracks are stored on your device for offline playback, and what are streaming from the cloud.

iOS 10 and macOS Sierra are expected to be released this fall; you can find out more in our full preview of the renamed OS X.