Apple in October 2021 announced the Apple Music Voice Plan, a new low-price subscription tier for Apple Music. This article explains what the Voice Plan is, what you need to use it, how to become a new subscriber, and how to play music with the service.
What Is Apple Music Voice Plan?
The Apple Music Voice Plan lets you access the Apple Music catalog with Siri. Priced at $4.99, the Voice Plan provides access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri, and is augmented by a custom in-app experience with suggestions based on your music preferences and a queue of recently played music.
The Voice Plan is primarily designed to allow you to ask for songs and albums from the Apple Music catalog by Siri request, rather than through the Apple Music app interface. In that sense, it’s useful with CarPlay in the car and on the HomePod where the natural inclination is to use voice control.
As far as the Apple Music app goes, the Voice Plan populates the Listen Now section, where you can find music you recently played and discover personalized music recommendations that you can play with just a tap or by asking Siri. In the Radio tab, you can access live and on-demand radio, and you can use the Search field to find music, but you can only play it by asking Siri.
What Are the Limitations of the Voice Plan?
First and most obviously, the Voice Plan can only be activated through Siri, whereas on a standard Apple Music subscription you can use Siri to play anything from the Apple Music catalog and use premium features, like full access to the Apple Music app, downloading music, syncing your library across your devices, and more.
As a result, Apple Music Voice Plan has a limited interface in the Apple Music app, but it does offer full access to Apple’s song catalog and radio stations, as well as playlist suggestions. You can actually search for artists, albums, and songs using the Apple Music app, and you can listen to previews of songs, but not the full song. If you find a song in Apple Music that you want to play after hearing the preview from tapping it, you’ll need to ask Siri to play the full version.
Users can ask Siri for music suggestions that are provided based on listening history or likes and dislikes, and a “Play it Again” feature lets users access a list of recently played music. There is no option to add songs or albums to the Library, nor can you create playlists or save music for offline listening. If you want those features, you need to upgrade to the full Apple Music subscription.
Lastly, there is no support for Spatial Audio or Lossless Audio, both features that require the $9.99 per month Apple Music plan, nor is there an option to view lyrics, watch music videos, or see what friends are listening to.
Where is the Voice Plan Available?
The Apple Music Voice Plan is available in 17 countries and regions, including Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
How to Subscribe to Apple Music Voice
As the Voice Plan is centered on using Siri, naturally you will need to own at least one Apple device that supports Siri, such as Apple TV, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, or HomePod mini. iPhones and iPads must have iOS 15.2 or later installed to access the Apple Music Voice Plan. If you intend to use a Mac to access the Voice Plan, it needs to be running macOS Monterey 12.1.
If you’re new to Apple Music, you can start a seven-day free trial of Apple Music Voice by saying “Hey Siri, start Apple Music Voice,” or by tapping the Voice Plan option in the Apple Music app on an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV. After seven days, you can subscribe to the Voice plan in the Apple Music app.
If you can’t seem to subscribe to the plan, check to make sure it’s available in your country (see above). Also, check that your device supports Siri, and that it’s up-to-date with the latest software:
- An iPhone or iPad with iOS or iPadOS 15.2 or later
- An Apple TV with tvOS 15.2 or later
- A Mac with macOS 12.1 or later
How to Play Music with Apple Music Voice
To play a song, album, or artist, say:
- “Hey Siri, play Moonlight Drive by The Doors.”
- “Hey Siri, play the top songs by Adele.”
- “Hey Siri, play the new album by Lucy Dacus.”
To play hits from any decade or genre, say:
- “Hey Siri, play hip-hop songs from the 90s.”
- “Hey Siri, play the top songs of the year.”
- “Hey Siri, play some 90s ambient.”
You can also play mood for your mood or activity (“Hey Siri, play some workout music.”) and find out what’s playing (“Hey Siri, who sings this song?”). In addition, you can request live and on-demand radio and control what’s playing (“Hey Siri, skip this song.”)
Apple also has added hundreds of new mood and activity playlists to Apple Music that have been optimized for voice. Subscribers can ask Siri to “Play the dinner party playlist,” “Play something chill,” or even “Play more like this” for a personalized music experience.
The more music you play, the more Apple Music learns what you like and what you don’t. And you can help Apple Music learn your taste in music by telling Siri when you like or don’t like a song, which is the same as liking and disliking content in the Apple Music app.
Overall, it’s a decent option for someone who will use Siri exclusively on something like a HomePod or CarPlay and wants to save some money, although there are a lot of additional features that you get with the extra $5 for the full $9.99 per month Apple Music plan.