How to use Apple Music

“About a week ago, a friend of mine offhandedly mentioned recently buying an album through iTunes, and I immediately thought to myself, why?” Justin McGee writes for Apple Gazette. “With the release of Apple Music and Apple’s subsequent software updates, Apple Music has really provided an awesome alternative for people to consume (yes, consume) music, but I’m starting to realize that most people just don’t know how to use Apple Music.”

McGee writes, “If you’re one of the people who buy music online more than once a month (or if you’re someone who would like to), Apple Music is for you.”

“One of the most complicated things about using Apple Music has been users’ aversion to iTunes. And I can’t say that I blame you. iTunes is an incredibly bloated piece of software, doing everything from serving up music to movies, TV shows, podcasts, audiobooks, apps, iTunes U and more. Here’s the thing: everything that you can get through iTunes is incredibly useful, but it’s such a hassle to use a program that does it all,” McGee writes. “But if we take iTunes back down to its essentials, music, it’s easy to see how Apple Music makes sense in this program.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For the price of 10-15 “albums” per year, Apple Music, especially the $14.99/month family plan is a no brainer.


  1. The value of Apple Music for me comes from using it on my iOS device, not my Mac. I carry it (with headphones on) and listen to music while doing other stuff. And I’ve found a new use; i plug my iPod touch into a small powered speaker next to bed, and listen to “nature sounds” (like ocean waves or falling rain or crackling fire) that are on Apple Music.

    It only costs me about $8 a month, because I can usually find deals for buying iTunes “gift cards” at 20-25% discount. iTunes Store credit (good for all types of digital media including subscriptions, movie rentals, apps, and ebooks) gets used first, before credit card.

  2. When Zune, Plays4Sure, Real, etc. were hawking this scam, MDN called it for what it was — antithetical to what we want & like, which is to own our music.

    Why the 180 when Apple sells the exact same model?

    1. Yes, you are right! The vehemence about ‘rented’ music and how nobody wanted to do that. Wouldn’t it be amusing for MDN to post cross reference links for articles like that at the bottom of this one…

    2. Not “exact same”… There is no “free” option for Apple Music, after the trial period. The streaming music competitors could not compete with iTunes Store for music retail. So they went with “free” ad-based streaming of music, which was not very profitable for anyone. Apple’s approach is to stream music profitably.

      Also, the competitors wanted customers to abandon their existing iTunes music library. They did not value years of effort people put into collecting songs and organizing playlists. “Throw out your old purchased songs and come stream with us.” Apple’s approach values the customer’s existing iTunes library. Apple Music songs can be added to your existing library, and they (mostly) act like songs that you already own. You can complete the album of a favorite song that you previously purchased by itself. You can added streamed songs to existing playlists with owned songs. PLUS you get the services that have helped me (more easily) find new songs and artists.

    3. I can speak to this…

      I have a ginormous music collection. I’ve been collecting music since the early 70s, and in addition to investing tens of thousands (at least), I’ve received tons of free music as a DJ, reviewer and producer.

      I went to work for a pre-Played-For-Sure startup in 2003 back when Microsoft was courting people with Janus. I saw then that as things stood, it wasn’t a viable business, nor was it a model that I was interested in.

      When Napster (the subscription service) came out and had its IPO, I wrote some articles about how I didn’t see it succeeding, and why I didn’t particularly want it to. I also consulted with some VCs on how I didn’t see the services being successful.

      People forget how many of these services came and went… Napster, Real, Rhapsody, along with Zune, heck even Wal-Mart had a subscription service.

      Here’s what’s changed…

      Back then, the biggest reason why I suggested that these services wouldn’t be successful is that Apple owned the personal media player market with the iPod. There wasn’t enough potential market for any one company to scale to the level it needed on what was leftover after the iPod.

      However, now that most people have smartphones and even many personal media players in use allow 3rd party apps, subscription service apps have the potential to be installed for most people.

      Additionally, the one biggest benefit that subscription services offered was the “unlimited library”, however this was far less significant when the capacity of devices was much smaller, and most critically much less significant when there wasn’t high speed connectivity via 3G/4G/LTE.

      For many people, streaming is flawless and always available now. In addition, music catalogs of Apple Music or Spotify are much larger than they were back with Napster, Zune, Rhapsody, etc…

      So now, for many users, for $10 a month, pretty much where ever you are, you can listen to whatever you want (without having to download and sync from your computer first), on devices from many different manufacturers. The potential customer base that fits this profile is over a billion.

      Even for someone like me who likes to buy, curate and collect lots of music from many genres (much of it rare) the idea that I can also tap and instantly play 90% of what I might be looking for 90% of the time where I am, that’s fairly compelling for $10 a month.

      Now, roll that in with something that integrates with my iTunes library, and I have a hard time saying no to something that I didn’t want, and very much didn’t see being successful as things stood a decade ago.

  3. Yes! It is a no brainer for sure! A no brainer to not use it that is. Sorry, I’m not into Top 40 and I am definitely a physical media kind of guy. There is NO digital equivalent to the EXPERIENCE of browsing a used record store and finding a hidden gem for $3.99 😀 Also, I have no problem paying full price for a CD that I will have and enjoy ‘forever,’ especially to support in independent label or self-produced record. And PS, even when streaming Sirius XM, or listening to the radio, or using Pandora or Spotify or whatever, music (even crappy music) is ‘listened to,’ and maybe even ‘enjoyed’ if you like good stuff. Twinkies are ‘consumed.’

    1. I guarantee you’ll find more gems on iTunes Music than a used record store and it certainly isn’t all about top 40. I hate top 40 and in the 4 months of listening to Apple Music I’ve never heard a top 40 song. My experience has been the exact opposite. I’ve discovered dozens of bands that I’ve never heard nor would I have ever heard of.

      eg. Hollywood Vampires
      Never is a million years would I have discovered this band. Even if I was browsing through a used record store I would not have purchased the record.
      I got to discover this band while I was having a campfire with my GF. She liked listening to the album too.

      Regarding independent labels and self produced albums. ITunes is the best medium for the little guy to get exposure.

  4. It may be a “no brainer” for some, MDN, but not for me. It all depends on how often a person listens to music and how much variety he/she wants. Personally, I would rather own the 10 to 15 albums (~120 to 180 songs) than rent access to music for a year. Given the fairly large library of music that I already own, I do not normally find 10 to 15 songs each month that are worth buying.

    Your generalizations often go too far. They represent your opinions, not facts.

  5. It is a no brainer for me. I used to buy 2-3 albums a month, sometimes more. I usually listen to an album for a month or so and then it is on to the next one. Very rarely do I listen to “old stuff”. It was a logical step for me. Used to buy CD’s which took up so much room I finally made the switch to digital purchases, now I’m subscription. If I want to check an album out that is not on Apple Music at release, I just move on. If it is an album by a favorite band, I buy it or better yet, see them in concert and buy some merch.

  6. No-brainer? Not quite. A significant number of users have much more sophisticated collections and music systems that Apple apparently didn’t think about. Now that Apple puts all its effort into iOS, it’s painfully obvious that everyone who doesn’t use his iPhone/Watch/Pad/Thing for managing and enjoying music now has to wrestle with a painful interface that is the worst of both worlds. And let’s face it, 256kbps compressed files sound pretty flat over B&W Nautilus speakers. In 1984 CDs offered noticeably superior sound quality.

    But fine, let’s assume the user just wants music and doesn’t even care about quality. It’s still a pain in the ass to manage one ore more subscriptions in addition to one’s own collection from within one creaky old application . I am with the large and growing number of users who agree it’s time for Apple to fix iTunes by separating major functions into separate applications, and optimizing the interfaces back to what worked in the past (or at least giving the user more control).

    Finally, Apple Music is not particularly good for music discovery, because it only offers a tiny slice of the world’s music. Just because Apple thinks it’s a great curator doesn’t make it so. It’s horrible if you have a multilingual user or one who likes a wide range of genres and regional music.

    So from a business perspective, I wholeheartedly encourage artists to time their releases and support all possible avenues for media distribution. They do whatever they want. What’s puzzling is how Apple keeps ignoring the elite end of the market. The audiophile, who spends multitudes more on his music than the typical iPhone user, asks Apple: “Why don’t you want my money? I’d buy Apple Lossless files if you only sold them to me.” But Apple doesn’t. So other hi-def music sources will win my business. And soon, iTunes may no longer be my choice for music management either. Why? Because Apple software is more and more like Microsoft every day.

  7. I wonder how Apple Music succeeds in China, my experience is that it won’t. Streaming works on some local pop songs but mostly it’s stop and go. The servers are outside China and it seems they get blocked.

  8. I’m not against streaming music services, but I am against how clunky and unintuitive Apple Music is, especially compared to Spotify or the the soon-to-be discontinued Beats Music which they own!

    For the first few months of my trial period I had been “hearting” songs thinking I was adding them to a favorites list. I recently went to search for this list and it turns out clicking the heart is a “like” which is meant to aid music discovery (which it never seemed to do) and to add songs you had to use a two step process to add it to a new playlist. Add to this the frustration of not seeing albums that you own in search results, though I haven’t used iTunes Match.

    I have a large enough music collection to satisfy me for a long time. I purchase CDs once or twice a year at most since I live abroad and know the hassle of storing hundreds of CDs. I spend most of my listening time on podcasts. Until Apple Music becomes as user-friendly as Spotify I’m staying away from it. I’ve getten used to iTunes, but Apple Music seems to be its demon stepchild, I want no part of it.

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