So Apple Music is finally available on Android. No biggy. I have been using the service since it debuted on July 29th and was already test-driving it within minutes of it arriving on the Google Play Store so here are a few (mostly obvious) things you need to know about it.
1. 3-month free trial for all
Just as it was the case with Apple Music on iOS, Mac and PC, anyone who signs up for Apple Music for the first time from their Android device gets the free three-month trial that Taylor Swift was losing her mind over.
2. You will only be presented with an option to subscribe to an individual account
Apple Music has that Family Sharing option that got competitors like Google Play Music Play All Access rethinking their offering and ape it. In case you were, like yours truly, using Apple Music long before it made its way to Android and have already eaten into your 3 months of free access to the service, you are probably tempted to give it a try and share with a few family members and friends as well. Only that you can’t. Somehow.
Android users won’t immediately be presented with an option to subscribe to a family account which can be shared by up to 6 family members. This is most likely due to the fact that Apple is still, well, Apple. Locked platform things. You need either an iPod Touch, an iPhone, iPad or a Mac running on recent software (iOS 8 in the case of iOS devices and Yosemite in the case of the Macs) in order to manage the family subscription.
All is not lost, though. You can still subscribe to the family subscription using iTunes on your computer then sign in on the Android app and things will be just fine.
3. It is exactly the same on Android as it is on iOS
Spot the difference…
Yeah. You heard that one right. Nothing changes. If you already tried out Apple Music on an Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch then there is no bag of surprises for you. Besides a basic slide out that is characteristic of the Android user interface, there is nothing else to set it apart.
There are no special features for the Android app and neither does the app miss out on anything that its iOS counterpart has. Well, save for just one feature…
4. You can’t tell your Android device to play Drake’s Hotline Bling just yet
Apple being Apple also comes to play on the only standout feature of Apple Music that did not make the trip to Androidland. Voice controls. Yeah, Android users will have to learn to skip tracks or search for songs like it’s still 1998. There’s no Siri on Android and as a result, we really can’t be helped can we? 🙁
5. You can still try out Beats 1 Radio even if you don’t pay
Not feeling like giving Apple any $$? Just reach for the hamburger menu and reach out for Radio and you’ll be on your way to listening to Zane Lowe, Julie Adenuga, Ebro Daden and their countless guests on air at different times of the day. You can also access artist radios but you won’t be able to skip forward so if Iggy Azalea comes on and you feel like dying then there isn’t much I can write to help you.
You need an Apple ID before you can do anything
Remember those uptown parties where they tell you straight up that you must show up dressed in all-white like the Pope? This is it too. There is no way you are going to start sampling Apple Music without an Apple ID so get one!
You don’t need to fake your location to access it
After sharing with a few friends news of Apple Music’s arrival on Android, the first response besides how much it cost was if I was using any specialized software (VPN apps and the like) in order to access it. You know, if you live in certain parts of the world like East Africa like I do then you learn to accept that you’ll mostly be either waiting before the latest stuff gets to you or make an extra effort to get it, at times unscrupulously. Spotify, MixRadio, iHeart Radio… name them. You have to go the extra mile to access them in Kenya. And even when you do, paying for their premium tiers where necessary is a whole other headache as they automatically decline local cards (that’s how you get found out!) and require international ones as well as valid addresses (sigh).
That’s not the case with Apple Music. It is accessible to users in over 100 countries so wherever you are, Apple Music is likely accessible to you. Unless of course, you woke up in a high-rise in Beijing, China, where it will take a few more weeks before it becomes available as Apple tries to figure out a way to get the application in the hands of Android users in that country who are usually locked out of accessing the Play Store. In fact, for just being in a country like Kenya, you pay a little less than folks in countries like say the United Kingdom.