So far, Apple Music has failed; it’s very difficult to justify the monthly subscription

“For many Apple users, October’s credit card statement will be the first that has an entry on it for Apple Music,” Ewan Spence writes for Forbes. “With the ninety-day free trial rolling over to a paid subscription, this is the key moment for Apple Music. Will people continue to stay subscribed to Apple’s model of a subscription music service? Has the service delivered enough value? Does it compare favourably to the current leading players? Personally, the answer is no.”

“Close to four months have passed since launch, and the Apple Music experience has not been improved in any substantial way. The package that Apple delivered out of the box was horribly mainstream, with a huge focus on popular artists,” Spence writes. “Having seen countless people set up their Apple Music profile when they were forced to move to the updated Music app in iOS 8.4, I’d be confident that every single Apple Music user was offered Taylor Swift as a musical recommendation. Those bubbles forced mainstream pop music recommendation into everyone’s system, so is it any wonder I’m offered Katy Perry, One Direction, and Miley Cyrus, when a quick glance through my music collection would show that a focus on more Progressive Rock and East European Dance music would be more appropriate?”

“There is no app in the world that is perfect, but the new iOS Music app is a sprawling mess, it can easily hang on opening if it can’t find a solid internet connection, and it makes it harder to search and locate your own music on a handset. Album and Artist lists are compressed into a single drop down box, while Apple’s attempt at a global radio station is given a tab all on its own. Prioritising Zane Lowe’s vanity project over easy access to my own music collection is a courageous call for Apple to make,” Spence writes. “And that’s before I look at the bloated bolt-on nature of Apple Music in the iTunes desktop app. It’s just painful to navigate.”

“It also completely ignores the connected experience of music online,” Spence writes. “Sharing tracks, playlists, and curating from multiple sources and networks is part of listening to music now, and Apple as yet does not have an easy route to work with countless musical moments.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a service for music lovers, not music dabblers. If you do not use the “heart” to like what you like, then, unsurprisingly, Apple Music recommendations will not work very well for you.

That said, Apple Music certainly is a clusterfsck. (There’s a quote you won’t be seeing on the big screen during Apple’s next keynote address.)

One thing, among many, that Apple needs to fix in Apple Music:
In iTunes Store, you can easily see which songs are most popular on an album or for each artist. When you look at an album in Apple Music, there is no popularity rating. Apple need to simply use the iTunes Store data in those views. Call it ‘iTunes Store Popularity.” It gives the listener cues as to where to start sampling a new album. Whatever the reasoning for not including that individual track popularity measure in Apple Music, if there is a reason and not just another oversight, it is wrong.

Another thing Apple needs to fix in Apple Music:
If a user is an Apple Music member, there should obviously be NO 1:30 PER TRACK PREVIEW FOR APPLE MUSIC MEMBERS. Why force subscribers to switch over and hunt for the track in Apple Music so that they can play the whole song to which they are already entitled? You know they are subscribers, Apple. It’s extraordinarily stupid to limit subscribers in this way. It’s frustrating. It makes us not want to bother. It’s a wrongheaded impediment to music discovery. We’ve paid for the entire track to stream unlimited. Let us.

There are countless other niggles that we have with Apple Music that, frankly, should not have been there in a properly-managed, properly-tested product at launch much less continue to exist today.

To turn off Apple Music’s automoatic renewal:

In iTunes:
1. Click on your account
2. Select “Account Info”
3. Select Settings>Subscriptions and click “Manage”
4. Set Automatic Renewal to “Off”

In iOS’ Apple Music app:
1. Tap your account
2. Tap “View Apple ID”
3. Select Subscriptions and tap “Manage”
4. Hit the toggle button to turn of automatic renewal


  1. Really not sure what Apple (or any company) would have to do to justify spending yet more money on another monthly subscription to something.

    Unrelated to Music, but it occurred to me the other day that it would be good if Apple allowed rentals of films to act as a credit against the cost of subsequently purchasing that film. Kind of like the complete my album option. I don’t rent a lot of films, but I think I would rent more if I new that money wasn’t down the drain if I decided I enjoyed the film enough to buy it.

  2. Whilst Apple Music suits some people, it’s neither use nor ornament to me. I much prefer to buy my music and own it outright—plus much of what I listen to is simply not available on iTunes.

    I do, however, think the basic principle is a sound one—one of my daughters has subscribed and is a very happy customer. As with all things, YMMV.


    1. Owning your own music outright is far better than this, however, even the iTunes store doesn’t allow that to even happen.

      DRM limits on music and movies are so anti-consumer it’s ridiculous.

      I know it’s not necessarily Apple in that camp. But to treat millions of people as criminals is insane.

      God forbid you forget to deauthorize iTunes when you do a fresh install or change computers. Wait a year to use de-authorize all machines, just to be able to play something you’ve purchased?

      Pure stupidity.

      1. DRM limits have been removed many, many years ago (Steve Jobs was instrumental in strong-arming record labels into that one).

        Film studios are a different bunch, though, and they are still way stubborn on this one. This is somewhat ironic; pirating music is practically effortless — you may even e-mail a song file to someone if you want to share, while 2GB movie takes a lot of time to upload/download. Removing DRM from movies would cause even fewer instances of sharing purchased downloads than it did for music (where the uptick after DRM removal was practically non-existent).

        Your message is squarely aimed at film studios. Music labels are already inline (long ago).

        1. Doesnt change the fact that I can’t use my iTunes account on more than 5 machines.

          As a person that has to use many machines for work, this is obnoxious, and affects both music and movies.

          I understand the point.

          But the snark and 1 star-rating really proved me wrong.

        2. I’m not sure where the rating came from (somebody apparently disagrees with you).

          As far as your music is concerned, you can put it on as many devices as you want. For video, regrettably Steve died too soon. He was able to turn record labels around, and if he only had a year or two more, I’m sure he would have beaten the film studios into submission. Eddy Cue is no Jobs (nobody is), so you’re stuck with five-device limit… Until the movie studios eventually figure this one out (I wouldn’t hold my breath, though).

      1. I hate paying for intangibles and services (I don’t even have a cell phone), but I feel it is worth $10 per month. I have about 300 CDs that I paid an average of $15 each. That’s $4500. I could subscribe to MUSIC for 37.5 years for that same amount of money.

        I used the ❤️ function faithfully for about 1 week when MUSIC was first launched, and I’ve been enjoying the “For You” playlists for the past 3 months. The curated playlists have been excellent. There are a few I don’t like, but there are enough of them that I do like, that I have plenty of good ones to choose from.

        I’d be interested to see how good it would get if I used the ❤️ function even more.

        I’m not sure what the dude that wrote this article listens to, but I certainly haven’t had Taylor Swift or any pop artists suggested to me. It’s been classic metal/rock all the way for me and I’m loving it. The nice thing is, it’s not like listening to local radio. I’m actually getting a great mix of stuff I really like. Stuff I forgot about, along with new stuff I didn’t know existed.

        If you haven’t taken the time to use the ❤️ function, I feel you should do so.

        I’m one of the cheapest people I know, but I’m going to keep giving Apple my $10 as long as they keep giving me awesome tunes and I don’t have to play DJ.

    2. AM is a no-brainer for anyone with more than 2 people on their subscription, and anyone that listens to a ton of varied music. I’m in both camps, so I find it extremely useful. The software will iron itself out over time. I certainly hope this doesn’t go the way of ping…

  3. I know the UI can use some work but overall, I am really happy with Apple Music. At $15 a month for the family, the price can’t be beat given the size of the catalog. As long as Apple continues to work on it, than I am fine dealing with V1 wows.

  4. The new Music app is (unfortunately) terrible. For example, why Apple decided to remove things like cover flow or shake to shuffle? These were great and simple features that would dramatically improve experience. Another thing is lack of gestures. Why everything has to be written? Also, the search feature is a complete disaster. Switching from local search to online one in 2015? Seriously Apple?

  5. I haven’t bought any music from Apple the last three months, because I refuse to let Apple do to my music library what they did to my book library, and because they don’t have a free music of the week selection anymore. Oh well. I have bought music from others and some CDs, though.

    1. ” they don’t have a free music of the week selection anymore”

      Well, I can’t find it if it’s really there, that’s for sure. Sorry, Apple, we know you don’t need the money, and I for one am not about to put any lucre in Iovine’s pocket, so, bye bye. My free trial expired without any whimpers from me. In fact, I didn’t really notice. Not worth even a shrug.

  6. I’m very happy with Apple Music. I only see bands and genres I like since I took the time to rate music as well as adding things to my collection.
    My daughters were both heavy users of Spotify but after getting the family plan and showing them how to tailor the service they now live it.

  7. I have no problem with the Thugs thinking their music is well you know… music /smirk, but to make access of my real music, that I own, and save on my iPhone a messy, pre-school attempt at UI design that the new music app is? PLUHEEZE!
    No Steve, no Scott, the Apple is starting to ROT.

    Don’t even get me started on the last 3 MAC OS, and IOS releases. This is not innovation. Its exacerbation!
    By the way, I am looking for over a hundred 1 stars on this one.
    Sorry, but I remember Snow Leopard and iOS6. I remember “just works”, “think different”.

  8. no issue for me as i dont do apple music or apple radio. If i like a song i hear say in a dept store, i shazam it and then buy the single song outright when i get wifi. If i like other songs on the album (after listening to samples on itunes, and double checking the song on youtube) then i buy them also. When major stores do i tunes discount like £25 for £20, i top up my itunes credit so always have enough money for the impulse buy. This way i get songs at a reduced price from itunes with album cover then when i would pay with by credit card. I have disabled my credit card and only top up when itunes vouchers are on sale. Works for apps too.

  9. Uh, I’m kinda loving Apple Music, and I didn’t expect to.

    I mean anything I’m in the mood for! I just say “Hey Siri,” play “lifestyle” by Rich Gang and she just does. I never bought it, I just want to hear it and it’s there. Or “Hey Siri, play jazz” and you get a nice random playlist of good jazz.

    If something is really good you can just interrupt by saying, “Hey Siri, play that last song again.” I love that.

    Early on my annoyance with iTunes prejudiced me against Apple Music, but it’s really nice.

    Beats the crap out of Pandora or Spotify for me. I’m probably going to cancel both of those.

    1. Agreed, it definitely is down to how you use it. I don’t know yet whether as a family we use it enough to justify the cost. But then again I’ll spend a $100 or so in downloads over a year. So this just replaces that and there is a lot more on offer.
      The hardest thing is finding stuff – that’s the biggest challenge but the recommended playlists are useful.

    2. On a long, tedious Sunday drive, Siri was like Bobby McGee, spinning up any oldies the driver & passenger knew, like three versions of Chuck Berry’s Memphis. Made the trip a happy one

  10. I happily paid my first $10.00. I find the music choices to be great. I listen to classical, jazz, rock and have discovered so many “old friends” and new ones. It is a bit of a mess and certainly needs improvements, but for me the most important thing is the music and they have it, I’ll pay till it is no longer worth it or a better choice comes along.

  11. Before Apple get into streaming critics wrote she has to that business otherwise iTunes will fail. Now Apple is in that business a little bit over three months, they have declared her failed. Which is it critics?

  12. the best policy decision Apple have taken recently is leasing iPhone for a fee and getting new upgrades every year, with apple care included. This got the telecom providers worried and nervous, let alone Samsung 😆 :laugh: this Music subscription, Beats buy out is a waste of money and effort. The iphone leasing will rake in money and the newer more sturdier ipones will help that

  13. The dude is personally unhappy with AppleMusic but writes that AppleMusic has failed. I guess he’s the voice of everyone. Hardly. Why not use a headline saying he’s not satisfied with AppleMusic? I suppose he prefers using the click-bait method.

    I liked using AppleMusic but I’m not yet subscribing. I prefer to have my own music but AppleMusic is satisfactory as far as I’m concerned. I honestly don’t see how it’s all that complicated to use as people claim it is.

  14. FYI,

    If you only want to see songs that are physically on your phone, go to playlists, tap “all playlists” and switch on “only offline music.”

    Regarding Apple Music, not my thing as I’m stuck on music 1970-2000 😉

  15. I am fairly happy with my Apple Music subscription, I am however rather perturbed by the frequent, or more accurately the overwhelming recommendations to popular, Rap, Hip Hop, artists…., none of which I selected in my music choices. I am an avid Classical music fan, and so chose references to this genre, and some country artists only, but the only way I get to see these genres are when I select the What’s new option, this has proved very enlightening to me, introducing music and renditions of some of my favorites by artists with different approaches to the same music. When I find what I really like I buy it, so in essence for $10 bucks a month I get to experience great music that I wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise, and then buy what I really want. Just wish the app more closely resembled my choices in music instead of inundating me with stuff I really am not interested in.

  16. Was it Steve who said people want to own their music? I personally don’t like subscriptions- not to music, not to software, not even to phones to guarantee a new one every year. I want the freedom to buy what and when I choose. I hate cable most of all. We have to subscribe to an entire package, big or small, to get what we want. People want to cut cords, not sign up for new ones.

  17. Any music subscription service that has such a non-musical hack entity like the obnoxious Dr. Dre (or any multi-ethnic rapper for that matter) anywhere near it’s forefront shows me something is not ready for prime time. Musical mediocrity & tasteless garbage should not be thrust in our faces as the face of Apple Music. In fact owing to the varying tastes out there no one group should. As others mentioned here it should be individualized based on user tastes, both good and bad.

  18. Why Apple users (and even MDN) let Apple get away with these low rez offerings. is beyond me. proves you can stream cd quality…. and trust me the sound is much, much better….

    Just as Apple provides users with 25cent headphones in the box…. and also tries to sell them Beats headphones…. they are proving they don’t care about sound quality…. just profits….. and this is coming from a 16 year shareholder…..

    You want to charge me and my family for your streaming service???? Then deliver cd quality sound…. that’s an easy one.

    1. That’s not going to happen when the overwhelming majority of users can’t even come close to distinguishing the difference between 256kbps AAC and ALAC, but a significant percentage would have a problem with sustained data rates to support ALAC.

    2. Well I don’t know… I consider myself a well seasoned audiophile, and to me digital music is in itself an assault on good music quality. so the quality of AAC is a pretty good trade-off to me, as it saves bandwidth and is less digital, and delivers a rather pleasing analog quality.

  19. “…a huge focus on popular artists”? What did people expect from a service inspired by Beats Music—which caters to the young, the pseudo hip and the tone-deaf? I still maintain that Apple’s acquisition of Beats for $3 billion was the worst move that Apple has ever made. They’ll never get their money back, much less make a profit.

  20. I’m pretty pleased with Apple Music. There are a few little things that Apple will likely change and some bugs that still remain, but it’s at a point where it’s worth it to me. Even though I want to own all of my music, I enjoy Apple Music for access/discovery.

  21. Why is the music store a separate app.. Why cant i buy music directly from apple music app?

    Too much clutter too… Make it streamlined and simple….not a pack of sardines …

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