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How much is Apple Music, and how can you get it for free?

For iPhone or Macbook owners, it’s only natural to be curious about Apple Music. In comparison to music streaming sites like Spotify or Pandora, Apple Music can feel a bit mysterious. 

There are some limited-time “free” options and a free trial to check out Apple Music, but if you stick with the service long enough, you will end up paying. Anyone who signs up will have to pay a monthly fee to use the service. Considering that Apple Music offers live radio shows and interesting exclusives, this fee may be well worth it to the right buyers. Let’s take a closer look. 

Apple Music plans

Before we dive into the different pricing tiers Apple Music has to offer, we should note that all the subscriptions offer access to the same catalog of ad-free content, offline listening, Beats 1 live and on-demand radio shows, and exclusive releases.

The main difference comes in the form of the Family membership (more on that in a bit), which lets you create up to six individual accounts in a subscription that’s billed as one flat fee per month — regardless of how many people you add on.

Apple Music Individual

To reiterate, Apple Music doesn’t have a free plan, so if you’re looking for the most basic way to get your foot in the door — or if you don’t qualify for the following discounts — you’re going to need a $10 per month Individual subscription.

Keen to lock people in, Apple also offers customers the option to pay for a year’s worth of service upfront for $99 — a discount of $21 — which isn’t bad, although you should always compare with alternative subscriptions (we talk more about this below). Note that users don’t always see the option for the discounted annual plan until they actually sign up for Apple music on a monthly plan and go back into their subscriptions.

Apple Music Student

Just like Spotify, Apple offers all students (with a valid student email address from a supported educational institution) half-off an Apple Music membership. If math isn’t your strong suit, that drops the monthly payment down to a modest $5. The offer is available only for college students at this time.

Apple Music Family

Looking to enroll up to six people in your household in an Apple Music plan? Subscribe to the $15 per month Family plan. That works out to a total savings of $5 per month for two members, $15 for three, $25 for four, $35 for five, and $45 for six.

Apple Music with Verizon

If you’re a Verizon Unlimited customer, we have some good news: You’re eligible for a free Apple Music subscription. That’s right — you can score a six-month Individual membership for the low, low price of absolutely nothing per month. Currently, to qualify for the free six months, you must be signed up for either the Play More or the Get More Unlimited plan through Verizon.

Apple Music with discounted Apple gift cards

If you look at payment options for Apple Music subscriptions, you’ll see that you can use Apple gift cards — and that includes iTunes music cards — to pay for Apple Music. This opens up a new method to save on your subscription by paying for it with discounted Apple gift cards. The key is finding them, though.

First, you can look for special store deals, like Best Buy’s offer of buying an App Store and iTunes gift card and getting Apple Music free for four months. There are also various survey apps that will give you free Apple gift cards for participating in surveys and reviews online.

Apple Music free deals for new buyers

Are you a brand new Apple Music subscriber? Then it’s work looking for deals that give you free months when you first sign up. One of the best current examples is Best Buy’s deal for three free months for new subscribers when they start Apple Music, and all you need is a Best Buy account. Apple also offers free subscriptions from time to time for new buyers of products like Macs or iPhones, as they did with Apple TV+ when it first arrived.

How Apple Music compares to the competition

While Spotify is king on the worldwide stage, Apple Music takes home the crown in the United States, enjoying the highest number of paying subscribers in the region. Why? Because of its exclusive content and local, human-run radio stations.

All in all, Spotify and Apple Music are neck and neck, with the former’s music-discovery tools putting it an inch ahead. Apple Music’s larger catalog, exclusive releases, and fantastic Beats 1 radio options make it a serious contender, though.

In fact, we’d go so far as to say that if music discovery isn’t your speed, it’s Apple Music for the win.

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