Every Thursday I plan on posting a new “Tech Ramblings” post, this gives me a platform to profess my love for, criticize, rant and/or vilify some piece of technology. Sometimes I just want to talk about what I love about a certain technology or what bothers me about it, it won’t always be related to virtualization. This week’s installment of Tech Ramblings will focus on why I Apple Music completely let me down. Let me start by professing my love for music, I love it, I write better when listening to it, run faster when working out to it, and find relaxation in it when unwinding on a long train ride home from work. I love music so much I’ve always had to find a way to carry it with me wherever I go. It started back in 1990 when I got my first Sony Walkman cassette player, the Walkman II. I was in heaven with my cassette tapes of Paula Abdul, Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey. A couple of years later, cassette tapes phased out and we moved to CDs, and I had many Walkman CD players, especially the ones with the anti-skip protection (5 seconds max). Eventually I ended up with my first iPod, simply titled iPod 20GB (with the full click wheel usability). I know was able to carry over 1000 songs in my pocket and my love for music easily doubled.
As I went through about 4 different iterations of the iPod, ending with my 80GB iPod Classic, I moved on to owning my first iPhone (4s). The iPhone was the best of both worlds, I no longer had to carry my iPod and cell phone and I could still listen to all of my iTunes. The problem recently (as late as 2013) became the amount of money I was spending on iTunes, every time a great song came out on the radio or I remembered an old song from my past, I had to buy it. I couldn’t maintain my iTunes spending and I needed to find a solution. After a game of basketball one night I was talking to a buddy of mine about iTunes, and he said, “Dude, stop buying music, try Spotify, it will change the way you listen to music.” Could this be possible? Yep, it was, I instantly fell in love with Spotify, listening to any song I wanted to without having to buy it. It only cost me $4.99 a month (student price) and that was far less than I was spending on iTunes.
Being an Apple fan, I am generally finding that I love everything Apple, there hasn’t been a single item that has let me down to date. You could imaging my excitement as Apple Music was announced and subsequently released on June 30th of this year. It was a way to stream music similar to Spotify and keep it right alongside your own iTunes music library, GENIUS!!! I was sold! I downloaded the update, and immediately started using it over Spotify. Almost immediately I began to experience several things that were really annoying. It seems at every turn, I would find something in Apple Music that I didn’t like, and that I missed from using Spotify. Below is my list of things that I don’t like, are missing or simply annoy me about Apple Music.
Apple Music Issues
This is the first annoying thing I found in Apple Music. Apple Music Connect apparently is there to help you connect to your favorite artists…. who cares! I just want to listen to the music I like, I don’t care to connect with the artist or their twitter updates or anything else. Here’s the official word on what Connect does for the listener… baloney:
“Connect is a place where musicians give their fans a closer look at their work, their inspirations, and their world. It’s a main line into the heart of music — great stuff straight from the artists.”
Another annoying feature is “For You”, this is basically a genius playlist on steroids, I never even liked Genius (haven’t used it once). Basically, For You, gives you a special playlist of artists that may be similar to the artists you have tagged in the past as liking, or that you might have in your iTunes library… no thanks. The interface is terrible and the music plays for me about 40% of the time, its usually choppy and skips (skips!! seriously). With playlists such as “Country Songs About Cities & Towns” and “Hipster’s Guide To Country”, it’s just a mess of a feature really.
If there’s one thing I love about my music, it’s playing a really good song loud. Not with Apple Music, there seems to be a weird volume limit. Even with the headphones turned way up, even with my Beats Studio over the ear headphones, it’s still relatively low volume at its highest setting. This isn’t the case with Spotify, I get the same volume as I would my iPod, or iPhone (pre-Apple Music upgrade). Thank you Apple for trying to save my ear drums, but come on, leave my volume alone!
My iTunes skip/won’t play
Here’s one issue that is really frustrating. I’m at the gym and while I realize that trying to stream Spotify, like everyone else on the gym’s wifi, is going to be spotty and choppy. That’s when I pat Spotify on the back and move over to my iTunes library which is on my phone, shouldn’t skip, it’s stored on my phone’s hard drive. About 1 1/2 reps into bench press and my Imagine Dragons is skipping… what??? This is on my phone, why is it acting like it’s on wifi. I’m not sure what you’ve done with my iTunes Apple, but please, put it back like it was.
Ok, I’m done ranting now, I just want to enjoy listening to my music and Apple has let me down in a big way. I was hyped up for Apple Music, excited that I could now move away from Spotify and welcome another Apple product into the fold. I’m back to Spotify, I can browse the charts from across the globe, the music hardly ever skips and I don’t have a bunch of weird useless features cluttering my interface. Well done Spotify, you’ve won this round. I assume Apple will fix or mitigate any of the above issues as iOS evolves, but for right now, you’ve broken my heart Apple Music.
Ok, so I actually stumbled on a feature of Apple Music that I love, thank goodness. The other day while walking from my office to the train station to go home, I thought I would just ask Siri to play a song I love right now, Jason Derulo’s Want to Want Me, a song I don’t own in my iTunes library. The conversations went something like this:
Greg: Siri, play Want to Want Me
Siri: Here’s Jason Derulo…
It played the song without asking me to launch Apple Music and it played it fast! From the time I asked Siri to the time it was playing was around 3 seconds. Ok, Apple, I’m impressed again, just barely though. The music platform is still severely lacking in many areas. Keep innovating.