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Apple Music is for 'everyone,' even Android users

Apple unleashes its first service on Android, the software that runs most of the world's mobile gadgets that aren't iPhones.

Apple released a pilot version of its streaming music service for people who own devices made by its biggest competitors.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple's always orchestrated its music business to draw you in deeper, but now it's playing for a different crowd.

The Cupertino, California, electronics giant Tuesday released a test version of its Apple Music streaming service for Google's Android operating system, the mobile software that powers the majority of the world's devices. The company's only other major Android app helps you switch from an Android device to an Apple one.

"From the beginning with Apple Music, our goal was for everyone to use it," said Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of Internet software and services, in an interview with Mashable.

Apple Music marked several firsts for the electronics company. It was built upon Apple's biggest acquisition ever, the $3 billion takeover of Beats Electronics, and introduced a subscription model to Apple customers after years of resistance. That experimentation underscores Apple's hope to extend into more facets of your life. With iPhones accounting for nearly 63 percent of its revenue in the latest quarter, Apple believes services like Apple Music can make the company a more integral part of more consumers' day-to-day.

Since Apple Music launched in June, 6.5 million people signed on as paying members, said CEO Tim Cook last month, with another 8.5 million people participating in the music service's 90-day free trial. That compares to 25 million paid members to rival music service Spotify, which has 75 million total people tuning in, after accounting for free listening.

Bringing Apple Music to Android opens up a new world of potential customers for the service, which lets members pay $10-a-month to stream as much music as they like from a catalog of millions of songs. However, Apple now faces the challenge of understanding a group of unfamiliar consumers.

"We know we're not experts on Android users," Cue said in the interview.

People using Android phones are eligible for the three-month free trial that Apple offered its own customers. Apple Music for Android, which is in a "beta" test phase, allows music people have purchased from Apple through its iTunes store to show up in the app. Music videos won't be available at launch, and people can't sign up for family plans in the app. Many of the other main features of Apple Music are present, such as curated playlists and its Beats 1 global radio station.

Apple declined to provide further details.