I love how Apple has built its ecosystem, every element is connected with all the others and the user doesn’t need to rely on third-party applications. Every functionality and service is perfectly integrated and ready for every device.
Everything is perfect except for Apple Music.
I have been using Apple Music since its launch back in 2015. The service offered a three-month free trial, so I decided to leave Spotify. After a month, sadly, I returned to Spotify because Apple’s algorithm for suggesting custom songs and playlists was too unripe compared to the competition.
Apple Music was the first and for now, the last, Apple service that I didn’t take full advantage of the free months offered.
We come to 2018 when I gave to Apple Music another chance by keeping the subscription to this day.
There have been a lot of changes and the service is outstanding but despite everything, after almost five years, Apple Music still has problems.
Based on this experience I have listed the strengths and problems of the service.
Once you log into your iCloud account, your entire music library will be synchronized without having to download, configure and manage the application. All are in perfect sync between the Apple devices.
If you have one or more HomePods, Siri is ready for any music request. In addition, the music application on Apple Watch is one of the most complete compared to other services.
Apple Music inherits all iTunes library management features. While on many services there is only playlist functionality, Apple has the concept of library and playlist. You can see the library as the total set of all songs you have added while playlists are a subset of these songs.
This division makes the management of the songs more professional as they can be filtered according to various characteristics such as type, release date, artist, bpm, number of stars that can be associated with each song, and many others.
A trivial example of why it’s intuitive to have a library is the case in which we have a song in a playlist that we no longer want to hear, but at the same time, we don’t want to delete it because maybe in the future we’ll be happy to listen to it again.
For most of the services, we should create a special temporary playlist where insert all the songs that we don’t want to listen to, while on Apple Music it’s enough to simply delete the song from the playlist knowing that it will always remain in our library ready to be added in the future.
Without going into detail on compression and the Apple Lossless Encoder codec, the audio quality offered by Apple Music is significantly higher than that of many competitors. The plus is given by the fact that Apple provides this experience while maintaining the same initial price while other services require a higher expense.
In addition to better audio quality, Apple Music also provides a large number of remastered songs and support for Dolby atmos. This feature changes the way you listen to music, from a simple stereo channel to an almost 3D musical experience. To better understand the potential of this feature, put on your best headphones and listen to the stereo/Dolby difference here.
The graphical interface of the application is in pure Apple style. Each element is well-defined and integrates perfectly with all the others, the covers are highlighted through animation and the lyrics of the songs are interactive with a lot of blurs that take on the colors of the album reproduced.
Unfortunately this feature is only available in the desktop version. In practice, we can create playlists that update automatically according to various filters that we establish.
For example, I can create a playlist by choosing: I only want songs that have 3 stars up, songs taken from the latest albums of various artists, lasting x minutes, of the dance and pop type, etc.
Even if 80 or 90 million songs seem endless, it can happen that you can’t find a specific mix or song. With Apple Music, you also have the option to use iTunes Match.
Basically, you can upload to the cloud all the songs that aren’t available in the catalog offered by Apple. The strong point is that the uploaded music doesn’t affect the iCloud plan.
Apple is one of the first companies to pay artists the most on Apple Music.
Not just music, the Apple service also provides three 24-hour live radio stations, interviews, events, artist videos, and much more that further enriches the user experience.
This point involved me personally. The Music application saves tons of gigabytes of cache in memory, the more you listen to music, the more these files will increase.
An example is my iPhone where system data takes up 24.56 GB.
System data, grayed out, is taking up almost all of the space. Perhaps this data is due to the songs downloaded locally, but this is not the case. The downloaded music is 0 KB and the music application takes up only 4.29 GB of data. Then this 24.56 GB of data may be due to other applications such as Safari history or Telegram cache.
I completely deleted the music app from my phone to see if the system data changed and this is what I got.
Almost 15GB of cache data is due to the Music application. How is it possible that a company like Apple, a company that applies maniacal care to any of its products, has such bad management of the cache of one of its services?
Someone could justify this by saying: “It’s only cache data, once you reach the limit they will be automatically deleted from the system”.
Just search on Reddit to find posts from users forced to delete and reinstall the Music application because their device ran out of space.
A user on Reddit was able to record the noise that happens in a completely random way. Imagine if this noise is reproduced while wearing the Airpods Pro at maximum volume.
Such a thing is completely unacceptable and should be resolved immediately!
One of the best integrations between Apple devices. If I copy some text to my iPhone I can paste it on the Mac, if I copy an image from my iPad I can paste it on my iPhone, and so on. The same thing between applications, for example, if I’m writing an email on the Mac I can continue from my iPhone and vice versa.
Why is this feature not integrated into music as well?
From my iPhone, I can put a song that will be played on the Mac but I can’t do it the other way around, from the Apple Watch I can play music on the iPhone but not the other way around and not on the Mac. If Apple focuses so much on its ecosystem why not create a feature like Spotify Connect.
As mentioned we are talking about a service that I use every day to which I have dedicated five years to select and like and dislike various songs according to my tastes.
What I hate is, that if back in 2018, I liked a song by Armin van Buuren and then, over the years, I put everyone’s dislike to the same author; why do I keep finding his songs in recommended playlists and event notifications?
I don’t have it with Armin van Buuren but with the algorithm working in handling new/recommended music that I should like. If out of 30 songs by the same artist only one song has a like while all the other 29 have only disliked, it should be logical that obviously, it is no longer a genre that interests me.
In my case notifications have no logic. There are weeks in which I receive various notifications (many of them on songs by artists whom I dislike) and then for months no more notifications arrive but scrolling through the playlists, in the latest releases section there are new songs by artists that I like them.
How is it possible that the Music application on Apple systems is slower than other applications such as Spotify. This latest is even written in Electron and is smoother and faster than Apple’s native application. Opening, loading playlists, searching, and more take next to no time on Spotify.
Even though Apple Music offers a great service i n the quality of music compared to all the others, there are still many problems, some even serious. For those who want to learn more and read about other problems of the service here is a very detailed article by Dave B.
Since my Apple Music subscription is about to expire, I decided to try Spotify using the three free months offered by Paypal. Once the initial setup was done, choosing some artists I listen to and imported all my playlists using Tune my music. Then I liked various songs.
After a while, Spotify made me a couple of Daily Mixes and some favorite music playlists.
Spotify managed to create, in less than two hours, playlists with excellent songs, while with Apple music I have to look for them on my own because in the new music playlist I always find songs, not of my genre or even songs that I dislike previously.
Other services offer better audio quality such as Tidal or Amazon music but I preferred Spotify to see the changes it has made over the years, also Spotify Connect is one of the most beautiful and useful features that almost no service has. That functionality is so simple and elegant in pure Apple style.
In addition to this Spotify allows you to create remote group sessions where more people can listen to and manage their music in real time. WOW! 😍
I love Apple products and their philosophy, from design to actual use, but Apple Music is the only service that doesn’t have the Apple spirit. Many people like me have hoped for WWDC 2022 to see this service improve and become the cornerstone of music streaming. I think they are all, after the presentation, disappointed by the few, almost nil, news on Apple Music.
I hope that Apple takes the infinite potential of this service to heart and makes everyone feel passionate about using it.