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Florence, Pharrell and One Direction headline free Apple Music festival

The event formerly known as the iTunes Festival takes place in London throughout September.

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine performs at Lollapalooza in Chicago in August 2015. Gary Miller/FilmMagic/Getty

Pharrell Williams and One Direction are headlining a series of free gigs organised by Apple Music. The huge-hatted hitmaker and tight-trewed pop moppets are among the first acts announced for the annual event previously known as the iTunes Festival.

Since 2007 Apple has held a free series of live shows every September in London under the collective name of the iTunes Festival. Packed with stellar stars of the pop and rock firmament from Lady Gaga to Paul McCartney, the shows serve as a marketing tool for Apple and iTunes, encouraging music fans in the UK to clamour for tickets and fans around the world to tune in online.

In a change to previous years, this year's event has been rebranded under the name Apple Music Festival to highlight Apple Music, the new streaming service launched in June this year. Bands and artists involved in the festival will bring their fans backstage updates through the service's integrated social network Apple Music Connect, and the festival will also be covered on Apple's global radio station Beats 1.

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One Direction will be making some midnight memories on 22 September, and Pharrell makes fans happy with a headline show on 26 September. Other acts confirmed for this year include indie dryad Florence and The Machine, trying not to be too much of a shipwreck on 28 September, and ravey daveys Disclosure holding on on 25 September. More headliners and support acts will be announced nearer the time.

Previous festivals have seen a month of free gigs, but this year there will be just 10. Shows run each night from 19 to 29 September. As in previous years, they're held at the historic Roundhouse venue in London's indie ghetto Camden Town. Tickets are free.

To turn up to the shows, UK residents can apply to win tickets through Apple Music on iTunes, competitions by radio stations and newspapers, and through event apps such as YPlan. If you can't make it in person, you can watch the shows livestreamed to iOS mobile devices and via iTunes. While there were similar free iTunes showcase shows at music and tech festival South by Southwest in Texas in 2014, Apple hasn't announced any plans for any shows outside the UK.

Apple Music is Apple's long-anticipated entry to the music streaming market. The service signed up more than 11 million users in its first month or so, tempted by a lengthy three-month trial period to tempt you away from musical rivals such as Spotify, Pandora, Hulu, Deezer and the like. How many will convert that free trial into a paid subscription remains to be seen. By comparison, Spotify has 75 million users, of which 20 million pay £9.99, $9.99 or AU$11.99 per month for a premium subscription.

Apple Music's launch was not without controversy: the California-based company originally had no plans to pay artists for music streamed during the trial period -- until pop star Taylor Swift's very public objection prompted a swift U-turn. Swift had previously pulled her music from Spotify but her tunes, including "Shake it Off" and "Bad Blood", are available on Apple Music.

With the remaining festival headliners still to be announced, we wonder if Apple and Tay-Swift could show they've truly shaken off their bad blood for an appearance by La Swift in the relatively intimate surroundings of the Roundhouse? Who are we kidding: it's going to be Kasabian again, isn't it?