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The Verdict: Should you pay for Apple Music when the free trial ends?

Macworld Staff | July 9, 2015
We're a little over a week into the free three-month trial of Apple Music, and the Macworld staff is more or less dancing in the street. We don't love everything about Apple's new streaming service, but even though most of us were already subscribed to a competing service that we pay our own hard-earned dollars for, Apple Music and its Beats 1 siren song are tempting us to switch, and it sounds like our current services are about to lose a few customers.

That said, I'm 90-percent sure I'll be dumping Rdio for Apple Music, and that's because Apple Music's For You section is, quite frankly, freaking awesome. I've only been using Apple Music for a week, and I feel like it has absolutely nailed my musical likes and interests I've been using Rdio for almost two years, and it doesn't serve up nearly as tailored or specially curated options as Apple Music does. As cheesy as it is, Apple Music gets me.

Plus, the playlists are anything but boring: "Songs for a rainy day" (for your most melancholy moods), "An indie rock adrenaline boost" (for working out or just getting pumped up), "Beyonce: Girl Power" (for literally every moment of every day), "Synthesizers and silverware," (duh, for your next dinner party). My For You section is filled with new artists for me to discover, neatly packaged into playlists full of a wide variety of the artist's catalogue instead of just the hits. I've stumbled upon old albums that I love but haven't listened to in ages, and playlists serving up a mixture of my favorite songs and brand new jams for me to enjoy. It also finds new ways for me to enjoy some of my favorite artists: An entire playlist of Robyn remixes? Yes, please!

There's a good chance that you cringed at the thought of at least one of those playlists I mentioned--tastes are subjective, after all. That's why it's important to take the time to curate your For You section, as Apple Music¹s recommendations are only as personal as you let them be. If you don't take the time to properly tap your favorite artist and genre bubbles, if you don't "heart" songs, if you skip through a lot of songs, and if you don't sync up with your iTunes Library, these recommendations might not be as specific, and it might recommend things you find completely off-putting. But if given the chance, Apple Music can be a fabulous new source of music inspiration.--Leah Yamshon

Caitlin: Probably switching from Spotify

I'm a long-time Spotify premium subscriber who loves that service's revamped app for iOS. The new Running feature and the addition of podcasts and videos are big selling points for Spotify, and I'm pretty hooked. But Apple Music's curated playlists, Beats 1 radio station, and Siri integration are making a strong play for my business--and they just might win me over.

Spotify has playlists, too, but they're generated by algorithms. That means they're lengthier, which some people prefer, but I enjoy short, perfectly curated playlists that feel like the mix CDs my friends and I made for each other when we were young. I compared a few Apple Music playlist picks to Spotify's to see what they came up with for specific activities like beach trips and cardio workouts. Spotify's playlist for a day by the ocean was packed with obvious picks like Beach Boys and Jack Johnson, while Apple's editors dug deeper, combining a few new hits from this summer with less obvious cuts that have beachy vibes. I'm discovering tons of new songs this way.


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