Apple has unveiled Apple Music for Android Beta. The app is aimed firmly at Apple Music subscribers who want access to their streaming subscription as well as previously purchased music from iTunes via their Android phone.
Although released as a beta, Apple Music for Android already has a finished feel to it, mashing Apple’s design sensibilities into a user interface that will feel comfortable and familiar to Android users.
Apple Music is one of a number of growing subscription services, encouraging users to rent rather than own music. Existing subscriptions cost $9.99 a month for individuals and $14.99 a month for a family of up to five individuals. A three-month trial subscription is included for first-time users of the app.
At the present time, users can activate the three-month trial subscription, which involves signing up for an individual package that automatically renews on a monthly basis once the trial expires. Users can disable automatic renewal by tapping > next to their name on the main menu and choosing Manage Subscription > Subscription before flicking the Automatic Renewal switch to Off.
Family memberships require access to a Mac or iOS device – Apple promises in future the sign-up process will be “optimised” for Android. It also promises to implement the one missing feature from the current Android release: music video support.
Android users previously subscribed to Beats Music will have to transfer over to the new app, although playlists and libraries will be transferred over.
Those already familiar with the new Music app on iOS will instantly feel at home with this somewhat jumbled up approach to mixing their own music collection with Apple’s attempts to cash in on the new music rental market.
The user interface works in practically the same way, although optimised for Android phones (the main menu slides in from the left via the hamburger-like menu button for example). Users are prompted to create an Apple account or sign into an existing one, although they can listen to ad-supported radio without doing so. This is where one key difference comes into play: while users can happily listen to music previously purchased through iTunes in the native iOS version of the app, the Android release is functionally useless without an active Apple Music subscription.
Once a sub is up and running, the default view – For You – presents suggested music based on users’ listening habits, but they can also browse new music, listen to the radio and even connect with favourite artists, which basically means following what they post to Apple Music. Finally, Playlists and My Music give users access to their iTunes purchases.
Early feedback from users is mixed, with some criticising the fact user libraries can only be downloaded to the phone’s internal storage, while others have complained about buggy behaviour, in keeping with the app’s beta tag.
Apple Music for Android Beta 0.9.0 is available now as a free download for Android phones running Jellybean 4.3 or later. An active Apple Music subscription is required to use the app.