Apple, a name that only a short time ago became synonymous with music released their streaming service just about a month ago now on June 30th. The release came surprisingly as an iOS update instead of with a new iOS altogether. While the company has certainly had its fair share of successes, the cloud and streaming music has certainly been a place where others have been leaps and bounds ahead of the digital music giant. In the past I’ve tried streaming services like spotify and pandora and have always found them limiting in one way or another. The only streaming service I ever found myself coming back to was 8tracks, but this article isn’t about the successes or failures of those services. Apple Music rolled their new streaming music service out to a whole lot of expectations after their purchase of Beats and for the most part I’m happy.
Of course that probably isn’t enough for you to be persuaded so lets go through what makes Apple Music worth using. First of all your iTunes library will not be converted to only U2 songs, as many of us surely were expecting. The price tag is also extremely eye-catching at free for three months. The Apple Music catalogue also has a huge amount of selection and even got Taylor Swift on board, which seems to be a big deal these days. Lots of music, Taylor Swift, and not too much U2 makes it seem like anybody with the capital to invest in it could slap together a streaming service, so what makes this one the one you should use?
For me the first big point was the price tag, as the date where I actually am going to be billed for this comes nearer there will be a bit more pressure on the service, but seeing as I didn’t need to really download anything or pay anything I was bound to try it. As updates and changes come to the service we will see if I fork over my $9.99 in a few months, but for now I will be using the service on both my iPhone and my computer.
Other than simplicity and a free trial though there has to be something to keep people around with, so what are some of the things that apple seems to have done right? They did something new by bringing over beats1 radio and a few other stations that will be playing music without advertisements 24/7 regardless of whether you have a subscription or not. Beats1 has had some great DJs so far and for the first few days was honestly where I stopped as it was easy enough to stumble upon and I ended up hearing a few new songs that I enjoyed. Another great thing that Apple Music can boast is the playlists, they are crafted by “music editors” (quite possibly the best job in the world) and can help you get into a new artist or just find a mood for an activity. On top of hand picked playlists, they also have an algorithm to keep bringing you new music to discover as you use the service more and more often. Many are saying that Apple might just have stumbled upon the latest way to discover and broaden your music tastes, which has been severely lacking with many streaming services.
Apple Music has been a revolutionary step in the right direction then when it comes to streaming music by my own admission, so why wouldn’t you want to stay signed up after the three month period? The ideas are certainly there, but for a company that has always championed intuitive design navigating to all these features takes a while to grasp. It is easy to get lost and miss features with the poorly categorized tabs in the iPhone app, and slightly easier with the iTunes app. The bulk of the features took a few days for me to find and still don’t seem altogether naturally placed, making it very easy to miss opportunities to use them. This seems to mostly be an interface problem so will hopefully be fixed rather soon as we get another update or two.
The second big complaint is a bigger issue I believe, and it is the app’s ability to merge with your library. Half the reason that Apple as a music streaming service seems like a no-brainer is because all of my music is already in iTunes. While streaming playlists or songs there is no way to see if the song is being streamed or played from your library which makes you worry about just how much data you might be using for somebody who is always listening to music. Adding streamable songs to your library or playlists is also extremely difficult to get a grasp on as I find songs duplicating in my library.
All in all the service is worth a try, but it certainly has its bugs that are holding back the potential for a great app. As someone who has always preferred owning copies of my music so that I can take it on the go or add it to my own playlists I am excited to see the changes that will come to this service and I’ll keep trying to get used to it as it changes. With that said however this has certainly put me off storing all of my music in the iCloud as it seems that the system is not up to the par of many similar services.
Have you used the service yet or are you still wary after only being able to listen to that one U2 album on your iPhone for a month? What would make the service a must use for you?