when it comes with advanced features and seamless compatibility with iOS devices, Apple Music well and truly beat Spotify. The Swedish streaming giant has essentially the same content library as Apple and better music discovery algorithms, but Apple Music has the technical edge with support for lossless audio, spatial audio that works in Apple’s super popular headphones and on-ear headphones, and the one of the best features on the market for displaying lyrics.
And now Apple is revealing another ace up its tech sleeve. Apple Music Sing, available later this month, will give subscribers the ability to turn millions of the platform’s most popular songs into wordless tunes, all powered by artificial intelligence and proprietary processing technology.
Soon you will be able to pretend to be one of your favorite artists. It’s a nifty trick that will work on newer iPhones and iPads, and the most recent version of the Apple TV 4K, if you want to get a band singing in the living room.
Apple adds a fader on the playback interface that adjusts the volume of vocals in any song supported by the new feature. The timing of the lyrics display has also been improved.
People who already enjoy using Apple Music’s lyrics experience to sing along to songs for personal enjoyment or social media videos will already be quite familiar with the look of the updated lyrics feature. It now highlights lyrics at the exact moment they appear in songs, and it has the ability to show where background vocal lines are, rather than rapidly shuffling two sets of lyrics back and forth. There’s even a way to put lyrics from multiple singers on either side of the screen, making songs with multiple singers even easier to perform together. (Android users will see the new lyrics interface but won’t get the vocal level slider.)
The feature will only work on a subset of the Apple Music catalog immediately; the service focuses on the most popular songs first, then applies this technology to less sung music over time. At launch, Apple Music will feature 50 dedicated playlists of popular songs for you to sing along to, highlighting the examples that best show off its processing skills.
One thing I’d love to see down the line is an update to Apple Logic audio production software that allows musicians and labels to add their own lyrics and timing and create spatial audio tracks. This would allow artists to deliver their own enhanced experience to advertisers with Apple-made headphones like the AirPods Max that support spatial audio. A solution like this could lead to faster adoption of the technology for songs that have no chance of landing on the 50 playlists, which rely heavily on well-known songs. It would be a sort of DIY addition that Apple could plug into its service to help smaller artists and labels take advantage of these features.
Yet, for the millions and millions of us who watch Carpool Karaoke, or enjoy embarrassing (or showing off!) singing in public with our friends, there really is no better way to do it. than the one I can think of beyond Apple Music Sings. And now that Apple Music Sing will make built-in karaoke a key feature somebody with an iOS device can use, Spotify should really be shaking in its reindeer boots.
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