A hands-on guide on how to get a bite out of Apple Music in India

  • Pranav Dixit, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 22, 2015 17:19 IST

It’s Apple Music day! Apple is late to the music streaming game. Others like Spotify and Pandora are already well-entrenched competitors. But Apple Music kills many birds with a single stone. It’s a full-fledged music streaming service that allows you to stream both your iTunes Library and much of Apple’s vast iTunes catalog anywhere with an internet connection. It lets you follow artists you like and get exclusive tidbits like tracks, videos, lyrics and more from them. And, for good measure, it also throws in a live, non-stop internet radio station called Beats 1.

Apple Music costs Rs. 120 a month for an Individual plan and Rs. 190 a month for a Family Plan (up to 6 users) in India but the first three months are free, so go ahead and try it out.

You can access it by updating your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to iOS 8.4, which is out now. On the desktop, you will need to update to the latest version of iTunes to access the service, although that update still wasn’t out at the time of writing. Android users will need to wait till September to get an Android version of Apple Music.

I played around with Apple Music for just few minutes right after it launched and here are my first impressions. I’ll have a full review later this week when I’ve really put it through its paces but here’s what I think of it right now.

Once you update your iOS device, you will see that your Music icon has…changed. It’s now a multi-coloured music note instead of a plain orange like it used to be. Tap it and head in.


You’ll be greeted with this rather pretty splash screen. I hit the Start 3 Month Free Trial button, because why the heck not?


The next screen allows you to choose a membership. I went for the Rs. 190 a month option. We’re an iPhone family and my Dad and cousins are going to pleased as punch with this stuff. Honestly, getting six people on board for this little money itself makes Apple Music so totally worth it.


Once you’re in, you’ll be asked to choose your favourite music genres in these pretty little floating bubbles. If selected Jazz, Rock and Indian Classical Fusion. If you choose Punjabi Pop, I’m judging you.


You’ll also need to tell Apple some artists you like so it can better curate playlists to suit your individual tastes. That little ‘Yo’ on the right in that screenshot below was Yo Yo Honey Singh, by the way. No comments.


That’s it. Apple Music will automatically decide what it thinks you will like on the For You tab based on what you just entered. I have no idea why it thinks I should be studying, by the way. And oh, I’ve never listened to Indian Classical music while studying. I mean, what the heck?


The highlight though, was Beats 1, the live radio station I mentioned. DJ Zane Lowe was jabbering away in his smooth voice when I started playing but that’s all I can tell you about it now because I haven’t had a lot of time to play with this thing so far. Everyone on Twitter is raving about Beats 1, by the way, so it’s apparently pretty great.


Hit the New tab and Apple Music will show you what’s hot. I’m don’t want a lot of Bollywood movies but my wife tells me that Guddu Rangeela is an upcoming flick, so Apple clearly knows more about this stuff than I do.


Apple Music also integrates with Siri, so you can tell it to just play what you want with your voice. I gave it a shot.


OK, so I might be an ignorant bum when it comes to Bollywood. but I do know that whatever this might be, it is definitely not a 90s Bollywood hit. This is embarrassing, Apple.


And so I decided to play it safe and search for something I grew up with. This time, Apple Music got it bang on, but seriously, this is pretty popular music.


MJ Forever! ?


Apple Music also smartly integrated all the music I had ever purchased from iTunes right into my iCloud Library, as you can see below. I have no idea how some of these tracks ended up in my collection, so please do not judge.


One last check before I closed the app…and yes, Taylor Swift’s 1989 is indeed there. Thank goodness they sorted that out.


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