Pharrell’s new single, Freedom, now available exclusively on Apple Music

apple music festival 2015 pharrell big camo
Not coincidentally, June 30 marked both the release of Pharrell Williams’ new song, “Freedom,” and Apple Music’s launch. The tech giant premiered Pharrell’s latest single on Beats 1, the Zane Lowe-lead 24-hour streaming radio station, signalling its exclusive availability on Apple’s new service.

Pharrell had teased the release with a 15-second video preview posted on his social media accounts last week, ending with the words, “Only on Apple Music.” That’s right: even before its launch, Apple Music had landed an official song from none other than the man behind 2014’s biggest hit, “Happy.” Nice move, Apple.

After a rough patch in which the new music streaming service was chastised by Taylor Swift for not paying artists for songs streamed during the service’s free three-month trial period, Apple Music showed it was back on track. Apple released new trial terms that appeased Swift, as well as the indie labels that were allied in protest of the previous policy. Pharrell, who had already been on board with Apple Music before the changes, told The Drum that he thought Swift had done “a great thing for music and for artistry.” He also praised the tech giant, though, adding , “And so did Apple. It’s not about who’s right, it’s about what is right.”

Pharrell’s announcement refocused potential Apple Music subscribers on the music, rather than the dollars and cents behind it. With the short snippet he released, “Freedom” gave fans one more reason to be check out what Apple Music has to offer. Of course, the fact that “Freedom” is currently limited to one service — at least for the time being — does raise questions about how music consumers will be impacted. With restricted options, people may feel forced to subscribe to multiple services, or have to forgo listening to some of their favorite artists. No details of Pharrell and Apple’s exclusive deal are known yet, so it remains to be seen how long the service will have it exclusively.

Check out Parrell’s performance of “Freedom” at England’s Glastonbury Festival below.

Update by Stephanie Topacio Long 7/1/2015: This article has been edited to reflect the song’s debut.


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