T-Mobile's controversial Music Freedom program just got a lot bigger. In an announcement today, CEO John Legere announced he was adding Apple Music to the carrier's free music-streaming program, joining Spotify, Google Play Music, Soundcloud, Tidal, and dozens of other services. Apple Music support will replace iTunes Radio, which had previously been supported. As a result, T-Mobile users will be able to stream endless quantities from Apple Music without counting against their data caps. In the weeks since the service launched, Legere says Apple Music has accounted for 80 percent of the requests made to Music Freedom.
The move is also likely to infuriate net neutrality advocates, who have objected to the Music Freedom program from the beginning as a prime example of zero-rating. While customers get to dodge charges, Music Freedom necessarily means discriminating against services that aren't part of the deal. The service puts video services like Vevo or even smaller music services like Pono at a huge disadvantage, since users will face now-unnecessary data charges any time they venture outside of a Music Freedom-approved service.
Still, those lingering concerns don't seem to have stopped companies from signing on to Music Freedom, or customers from taking advantage of it. According to Legere, the services on Music Freedom now represent 95 percent of the music streamed in the United States, streaming 131 million songs per day and incurring what could otherwise be billions of dollars in data charges on a capped plan.
7/28 12:03PM ET: Updated to clarify that Apple Music participlation replaces iTunes Radio rather than supplementing it.