Siri: Why Apple Music’s most playful feature may be its most crucial one

“Apple is late to the subscription music party, but it is bringing Siri along to have a little fun,” Joan E. Solsman reports for CNET. “Unlike [rival] services, Apple adds the element of voice commands with its Siri virtual assistant. Voice commands like ‘play the top 10 alternative songs now’ and ‘play the top song from 1982’ will automatically retrieve those tracks.”

“Listeners who experiment with Siri’s chops as their personal music helper may find it to be the most playful part of Apple Music. Asking it to play the No. 1 song on the day you were born or the most popular song on the soundtrack to your favorite movie can be a fun rabbit hole to tumble down,” Solsman reports. “But it’s more important than just party tricks: Most subscription music services offer the same fundamental proposition, and a unique element like Siri may help Apple Music stand apart.”

“‘Until relatively recently, there had not been a lot of marquee innovation in the subscription music space, in the features of the product,’ said Dan Cryan, analyst with IHS. With Spotify’s introduction of an element that matches the beats per minute in the song to the cadence of your running, and with Apple integrating Siri, ‘we are starting to see more difference and some innovation on the user experience,’ he said,” Solsman reports. “A three-month free trial works in Apple’s — and Siri’s — favor. Letting people experiment with the service, and Siri integration may give them the opportunity to make it part of their routine. Also working in Apple’s favor: iPhone owners already use Siri for other simple tasks. About 42 percent of iPhone owners turn to Siri at least once a month, according to ComScore.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Siri, if you haven’t queried her in awhile, is vastly improved. We noticed that, around the release of Apple Watch, Siri began to work better and faster, with fewer mistakes. We’re not sure if this occurred sooner, but Apple Watch caused us to use Siri much more and, consequently, we’re were surprisingly happy to discover a significant improvement. We can’t wait to try using Siri to interact with Apple Music.


  1. I use Siri daily and have for a while, mostly for text messaging during my drives (hands-free!) and have seen the service pick up to be much improved over time. With the Watch so dependent on Siri as an interface, Apple’s been slowly pushing to make the service improve and I think it’s the best it’s been and continues to improve.

  2. On my iPad I ask Siri…..”Play Music”. It tries to do it….but NOTHING, no sound, even though screen looks like it is playing music.

    I say again, “Play Music”. Now I get the sound.

    Hope they fix that!

      1. Sometimes I say “play xxxxx” (where xxxxx is some band or song) and still nothing. In fact, on some rare occasions I say “play xxxxxx” and it starts playing yyyyyy. There was a time when it used to play shuffled stuff that was on my iPad without a hitch. It stopped doing it about two or three iOS updates ago.

        I have tried to reboot the iPad and at one time I even set it up anew. Still the same.

  3. > With Spotify’s introduction of an element that matches the beats per minute in the song to the cadence of your running

    That’s a REALLY good idea. I’ve been doing that (in a non-streaming more hands-on way) for about six months, by populating the “BPM” field for songs in my iTunes library. I do that with a third-party app; iTunes has the BPM field for each song, but leaves it blank.

    Then I use smart playlists in iTunes to make lists of songs with specific BPM at (and near) my current running cadence (steps per minute). I sync those BPM playlists to my iPod nano; on my iPod, I select the playlist I want to use for my run that day, and “run to the beat.” In this way, I keep a steady cadence during each run, and slowly increase my cadence over time in a systematic way. My running speed has improved significantly…

    Tim Cook is a runner, so I hope Apple has “populated the BPM field” in its database of songs, and Siri understands when I say, “Play me songs that are at 170 beats per minute.”

    1. This works up to a point — until you have music tastes that include tempo changes or when you do variable tempo workouts. Apple makes neither easy to manage.

      There’s much Apple could improve tough. It would be extremely helpful if Apple took the trouble to fill in BPM on the metadata for the tracks it sells. It would also be helpful if the iOS music app would give the user much more information display options (including BPM).

      My workaround solution is to create playlists using Tangerine. It examines your library, automatically saving each song’s tempo more or less accurately. That’s the first important step to having meaningful workout or dance playlists. Can’t believe that Apple didn’t incorporate that functionality years ago.

      1. For my purposes, it works as desired. I want to maintain a steady cadence during the run, not change tempo. I remove any songs from the BPM playlists, if unsuitable for “running to the beat.” A song with long slow intro would not work well, even if rest of song is fine.

        I use beaTunes to populate the BPM field. It does this quite well. I can even give it a “range,” so that BPM entry is (for example) 170 instead of 85. The BPM data get synced to my iTunes library, where I can use the most powerful yet under-appreciated feature of iTunes. Smart playlists.

  4. Siri still sucks at most things. It should be able to read your text messages, for example. It should be able to do simple things like turning on the flashlight, or tell you what’s on TV tonight.

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