Followup Thoughts On Apple Music

A buddy of mine reached out to me recently for my thoughts on Apple Music. I surprised even myself with the amount of feedback I had after only 3 weeks of exclusively using the service.

Here’s the random list I came up with:

  • I love that that it is incorporated right into iTunes. I already have a decent size music collection. And IMO, the service (be it Spotify, Rdio, etc) that recognizes this and can incorporate it into the overall experience is going to win the long game. The closest competitor in this regard is Google Music.
  • There are no shared playlist, like in Spotify. Meaning, I cannot create a playlist and share it with you for us both to collaborate on. At the high level this means that we’re at Apple’s mercy for creating public playlist. For example; if I search for music by Rocky Votolato no playlists are returned. But a bigger name like Bob Marley will have Apple approved/authored playlist. This is probably my biggest disappointment with Apple Music thus far.
  • It’s not possible to add music to a new playlist. You must first create the playlist and THEN add music to it.
  • If I add something to a Playlist it gets added to my library. For most people I’m sure this is fine. But it drives me crazy. For instance; I keep a “Work Soundtrack” playlist that I use when I need to focus. It’s mostly post-rock and experimental music. But lets say I want to shuffle my entire library, these songs also get included. In shuffle I could be listening to Owen one second and then Russian Circles the next.
  • The mobile experience is one of the better of “the big 3″. I’d rank it just behind Rdio. It also seems to it handles bad/inconsistent reception better than Rdio.
  • Like Spotify, I can download music locally on both my phone and computer. Unlike Rdio, which only allows downloads on mobile.
  • The price point for the family plan is the best bang for your buck.
  • I wish I could pick up where I left of listening. For instance; on Rdio and Spotify I can close and reopen the app and pickup where I left off. To be fair though, iTunes has never had this option. Rdio is the king of this feature with being able to “handoff” playback. I can pause a track on my phone and go over to my computer and continue listening where I left off.
  • Beats Radio, ehh. Not really digging it. Cool concept; but not new. I mean they’re selling radio. Like ol’skool FM/Internet radio.
  • Taylor Swift.
  • You can “love” tracks that you hear on the “radio” but it’s not like Pandora in that it has no influence on what you’ll hear next.
  • Since everything get’s added to your library, you can still utilize Smart Playlist. For example; “show me all my favorited music”.
  • Siri integration on my phone is slick. I can say “Play popular music from 2004” and it’ll create a playlist for me. Or “Play music by Bastille” even if I don’t have any music by Bastille in my library. Just don’t try asking it to “Play the top songs by Matisyahu.”
  • Speaking of top songs. Similar to Rdio, there is no easy way to play the Top Songs by an artist from within iTunes. I can see the Top Songs when I visit an artist page. But I cannot sequentially play them like I can with Spotify.

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