Apple introduces cheaper 'Apple Music Voice Plan' for only $5 per month

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,213   +883
Staff member
In a nutshell: On Monday, Apple introduced a new Apple Music Voice Plan. The plan is built around and marketed on the music streaming service's tighter integration with Siri. The new tier replaces the Apple Music individual plan as the service's entry-level subscription.

Starting at just $4.99 per month, users can seamlessly use the power of Siri to control and call up any of Apple Music's 90 million songs, tens of thousands of playlists, or Apple Music Radio stations. Of course, this functionality is also included in Apple Music's $9.99 Individual Plan and its Family Plan, which is $14.99 per month. The premium tier subscriptions include Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio, Lyrics, Music Videos, and more.

"Apple Music and Siri are natural partners and already work seamlessly together," said Vice President of Apple Music and Beats Oliver Schusser. "With Siri actively used on hundreds of millions of devices worldwide, we are thrilled to add this new plan that delivers an effortless music experience just by using your voice and makes Apple Music accessible to even more people around the world."

Users can control Apple Music via Siri to play specific songs, albums, artists, or playlists. Siri's improved integration can also recognize more general requests like, "Play something chill," or "Play more like this."

The Voice Plan also complements Apple's redesigned AirPods or HomePod mini, which now comes in three additional colors. In addition to the standard white and space gray, users can opt for yellow, orange, and blue models. The HomePod mini is Siri-enabled but can also seamlessly pass off Apple Music to or from your iPhone whenever they are near each other.

The Apple Music Voice Plan rolls out later this fall in several regions, including Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Apple Music app will also be getting a dedicated section with tips on optimizing Siri for Apple Music.

"A one-time, seven-day free preview with no auto-renewal is offered to nonsubscribers who request music through Siri," said Apple's press release.

To get started with the trial, just say, "Hey Siri, start my Apple Music Voice trial." Alternatively, users can sign up for service using the Apple Music app.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 1,334   +2,607
The keynote made it seem like you can *only* use your voice on that plan like, if you type in your search no results would show up and you *have to* speak your request aloud. And I was thinking "Wait...what?...Do they need like lots of training for their voice recognition on the cheap or something?"

I'm still not 100% sure this isn't the case by the way, I'm still *that* confused about this tier....Probably not what they intended.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 570   +918
The keynote made it seem like you can *only* use your voice on that plan like, if you type in your search no results would show up and you *have to* speak your request aloud. And I was thinking "Wait...what?...Do they need like lots of training for their voice recognition on the cheap or something?"

I'm still not 100% sure this isn't the case by the way, I'm still *that* confused about this tier....Probably not what they intended.
It seems it is almost 100% through Siri--the press release Apple made specifically says:
Subscribers have full playback controls including unlimited song-skipping through Siri.
It does not mean it's 100% voice as you can edit your input into Siri after you say it and Siri offers some user interface controls. In addition, it seems the Apple Music app has links to start playlists or show your music listening history that you can tap on:

Apple Music Voice Plan subscribers will get a customized in-app experience with suggestions based on the listener’s music preferences and a queue of recently played music through Siri. Within the app there will also be a dedicated section called “Just Ask Siri” where subscribers can learn tips to optimize Siri for Apple Music.

Source: https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2021/10/apple-introduces-the-apple-music-voice-plan/

This plan is targeted at getting more users to buy into the walled garden, and increase usage of Apple's cloud services. Even though they will probably lose revenue from existing Apple Music customers, it certainly looks like one of the most attractive offerings for people who do not currently use any Apple paid services such as myself. In addition, they're heavily emphasizing the usefulness of this for anyone who has a peripheral Apple device such as a HomePod, AirPods, Apple TV, or Apple Watch. It's also pretty attractive for those who use competing streaming music services through CarPlay and don't use many user interface controls in the first place.
 

Wrinkle

Posts: 90   +68
  • Access to Apple Music’s global catalog of over 90 million songs is available through Siri.

This sounds pretty cumbersome too be honest. Say you'd want to listen to a specific dj set but you don't know where the set was played and in what year. How would you even find this? How would you pronounce remixes that have strange abbreviations?

Then there's metal with all these strångė bând nämes, I wouldnt even know how to correctly pronounce these. Given the state of voice recognition this is going to be hell.

This sounds more like a glorified radio station where you'd ask the system to play classic rock or hiphop.