iTunes Music and Apple Music: Is It the Same?

Posted by Dave Henry on May 6,2019 7:24 PM

itunes home page

For many new iOS users or Android users, they may easily consider iTunes and Apple Music as the same thing or just confused about the differences between iTunes Music and Apple Music. Both developed by Apple Inc., iTunes has a longer history than Apple Music. iTunes was announced in 2001 while Apple Music was launched in 2015. Back in 2015 when Apple Music was newly launched, many non-savvy users wondering whether Apple Music will replace iTunes. This question can be answered by today's passage, which is written for those who still not so clear about the distinctions between them. Senior users should come and check on it as well, for you may not know as much as you think.

Functions and Services

iTunes functioning as an online store that you can buy digital media content in, a media library that you allowed to organize and manage your media content, and a media player that you can play your media content in. In addition to that, iTunes is a powerful mobile devices management application that allows you to back up and sync your purchased content between iDevices and your computer. Also, when your iDevices run into some glitches, iTunes can help to fix the problem.

Apple Music, by contrast, is simply a music and video streaming service. To some extent, Apple Music is similar to Spotify, Google Play or Pandora. You pay and you can listen to the music on Apple Music. FYI, Apple Music cannot work as a media player to stream media content external to it. iTunes and Apple Music are both Compatible with MAC and Windows, while Apple music can also be used in iOS and Android OS.

Media Content Scope

apple music home page

As you can see from the home page of iTunes and Apple Music, as a comprehensive one-stop digital media store, iTunes boasts of a much wider media content scope than Apple Music. You can find music, movies, TV shows, music videos, podcasts and audiobooks on iTunes. Apple Music, focus on music literally, also began to expand into video in 2016.

Cost and Charging Method

apple music cost

Apple Music charges a monthly flat fee. After the three-month free trial ends, individual Plan subscription will cost you $9.99 per month, Family Plan will cost $14.99 per month, and there is also a College Student Plan, which only takes $4.99 per month but you have to be a student and will have to subscribe the plan for 4 years.

iTunes services are free and it charges only when you purchase media content from the store. You can choose to pay for a whole album or individual songs. Different price for different content.

How Does Apple Music Work With iTunes?

You can use them independently although Apple Music also works along with iTunes, because you can use iTunes to manage your Apple Music activities on PC, and your saved Apple Music will all placed under your iTunes Library. If you like the songs you listen to on Apple Music, you can go to iTunes Music and buy them.

For more information:

iTunes Match VS. Apple Music: Differences You Need To Know

Digital Right

If you subscribe a plan on Apple Music, you can get access to a massive catalog of over 40 million songs but you merely have the membership to stream and listen to them on Apple Music. You can download songs from Apple Music for offline playback if you have the membership, but once you decide to cancel the subscription, you can no more listen to them. If you don't subscribe to Apple Music, you can only listen to limited music online.

In the case of iTunes, every piece of music you buy you have the ownership over it. You can download the songs and burn them to CDs as you want. However, there something called FairPlay that makes things difficult. FairPlay, a Digital Right Management technology developed by Apple Inc, is to prevent people from playing their purchased or rented videos, music and audiobooks on any unauthorized non-apple devices, which means that you are not allowed to play any of your purchases or rentals on both non-apple devices and unauthorized apple devices even if you've paid for the ownership.

File Formats

According to what has been discussed before, we can presume that since we pay for different digital rights of media content on iTunes and Apple Music, these media content may also have relevant DRM-protected file formats. Sure it is. Apple Music files are normally in a DRM-ed M4P format. Music, video, and audiobook files on the iTunes store are in M4P, M4V, and M4B format respectively. To stream iTunes M4P, M4V, and M4B files, you must authorize your computer using Apple iTunes and there are up to five computers can be authorized with the same account.

If you are interested in the file formats developed by Apple Inc., Please chesk this:

Apple Audio Formats: Differences among M4A, M4B, M4P and M4R

How to Fully Enjoy iTunes and Apple Music

FairPlay and DRM protection arouse a great controversy and cause really bad user experience. You deserve to fully enjoy what you've purchased from iTunes. To achieve that, you may need some help from DRM Audio Converter. It can help you remove DRM restriction and convert the files to common formats, and then you can stream the music to any devices without authorization and time limit.

Donwnload and have a free trial:

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Know more about how to use this converter, here's a guide for you:

How to Remove DRM from iTunes, Apple Music M4P


is a long-time TunesKiter who loves all technological things. In his free time, he likes reading about science and technology, writing for his blog, watching sci-fi films, and meditating.

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