Apple preps sweeping changes to Apple Music

“Apple Inc. is planning sweeping changes to its year-old music streaming service after the first iteration of the product was met with tepid reviews and several executives brought in to revive the company’s music strategy departed,” Alex Webb, Lucas Shaw, and Adam Satariano report for Bloomberg. “”

“Apple is altering the user interface of Apple Music to make it more intuitive to use, according to people familiar with the product who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public,” Webb, Shaw, and Satariano report. “Apple also plans to better integrate its streaming and download businesses and expand its online radio service, the people said. The reboot is expected to be unveiled at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.”

“It acquired Beats Music two years ago in part to rethink its approach to the music business by blending its technological expertise with the entertainment industry experience of Beats executives such as Jimmy Iovine,” Webb, Shaw, and Satariano report. “But the combination hasn’t yet fulfilled its potential. The deal sparked a rare culture clash within Apple that led to the departure of several key managers and, most important, created a product that many critics say doesn’t meet Apple’s own lofty standards. Apple is still struggling to integrate its employees and unite the streaming and downloading businesses into a cohesive music strategy, said the people.”

“Following the Beats acquisition in 2014, Apple scrapped the international rollout of iTunes Radio just a few hours before an event where it would have been announced. Employees who had been working on the project for more than a year were told it would be rolled into a new streaming service based on Beats,” Webb, Shaw, and Satariano report. “But once Apple Music was released last June, the response was mixed. Reviewers praised the depth of the music catalog, but criticized its confusing interface.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s hoping the revamp delivers intuitiveness that Apple Music currently lacks and is sorely needed. We use it every day, but it’s a freaking mess; Microsoftian crap-by-committee, to be blunt.

Some of our previous commentary regarding Apple Music and iTunes:

Apple Music is a service for music lovers, not music dabblers. Music lovers will find Apple Music to be invaluable.

That said, Apple Music certainly has issues.

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 needs 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. — MacDailyNews, October 7, 2015

We’re still amazed this thing came out of Apple and we’re hoping for a massive overhaul of the whole iTunes+Apple Music desktop mess ASAP. At least give us some consistency between how we deal with music on our Macs vs. on our iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. (Shouldn’t it be “how we enjoy music,” not “how we deal with music?” Unfortunately, with iTunes it too often feels like a chore.) — MacDailyNews, August 19, 2015

As for iTunes:

Apple, especially under Steve Jobs, has shown a great and admirable willingness to cannibalize themselves. They obliterated their iPod business with the iPhone, for one example. But, when it comes to iTunes, they seem paralyzed by fear of change. Apple paralyzed by fear is not a pretty thing and it doesn’t yield pretty things. It yields hot messes like iTunes.

iTunes screams to be broken up into separate, streamlined apps. It’s been screaming that for years. But Apple seems to be scared silly to do so — perhaps 800+ million credit cards have something to do with it — so they’ve tinkered around the edges, making questionable tweaks here an there and bolting on even more bloat.

Grow a pair, Apple, and do what needs to be done already.MacDailyNews Take, July 17, 2015

If you have to ask yourself “Why is this so difficult? Am I an idiot?” then there is a User Interface problem, not a user problem. This is, after all, what we pay Apple for. Those type of questions are for Windows/Android sufferers, not Mac/iOS users.

Who’s responsible for iTunes’ unsettled, rather awful UI, a blind Microsoft reject or nobody at all?MacDailyNews Take, July 10, 2015

SEE ALSO:
Spotify dims as Apple Music shines – April 27, 2016
Apple Music needs a web widget – March 8, 2016
Yet another example of how Apple Music is messed up – December 16, 2015
Apple admits it has ‘homework to do’ to improve Apple Music – September 3, 2015
Apple Music, both on iOS and OS X, is an embarrassing and confusing mess – July 10, 2015

31 Comments

  1. How bout we start with bringing back “radio” that doesn’t fscking require signing up for Apple Music. Was so pissed when they blocked that after years of free radio. I don’t use it often, but my daughter did and liked using the Apple TV to stream her stations.

  2. I would start with making Apple Music visible in the Apple Remote App in iOS. I use Airplay for speakers all over my house, but I can’t start playing anything from Apple Music from the Remote App. Once playing on my Mac, it is visible as “now playing” and you can control the current playlist, but nothing else. Can’t search for anything new or browse. Have to go back to the mac for any of that.

    Also, it would be nice if Apple didn’t keep breaking Air Play functionality in general on a regular basis with iTunes and OS X updates.

  3. For sure the lack of popularity guide is odd.

    The biggest issue for me is that there are 5 links at the bottom and only one is about the music you have.
    At connect is odd. The top view is about artists I have not listened to or have only a few songs. It’s bizarre and I thought it would have links to the bands I am interested in. I would expect it would tell you want they are doing and maybe if there are gigs nearby.
    Radio is okay but don’t use it.
    New is very strange. I have over 5000 songs in my library. It’s pretty obvious that I like alternative and rock. So why is a hip-hop artist the first choice there for me? Surely there are some new alternative releases around.
    For You is probably the best new option. It seems to be pretty good after some training.
    One other complaint is make the buttons bigger. When playing a song have a taller view so that you can skip songs without having to maximize.
    Also every song should have a link to the album and artist. The annotation is spotty at best. If I like an artist I may want to learnt more about them and definitely want to check out the album.

      1. Most likely the brutal truth is that you’re most likely racist.

        It’s one thing to say you don’t personally like a form of art. It’s quite another to say that someone else’s art is not even art because you happen to not like it.

        Too bad the amazing smash musical hit Alexander Hamilton (with a record-breaking 16 Tony award nominations) doesn’t count as art, according to “Brutal Truth”. Go listen to the soundtrack and come back and tell us that isn’t art, written and performed by artists.

        It isn’t “truth” you’re selling, it’s garbage opinion.

        1. Pardon for the extra “most likely.” I’m sure that’s why I was down-voted. Can’t possibly be that MDN commenters believe that their lack of interest in an art-form means that it doesn’t actually count as art. MDN commenters are that narrow-minded and insular, right?

          I mean, seriously, here’s the thought process of Brutal Truth:
          “Hmm. Someone just mentioned a style of music associated with people who aren’t white. I’m going to make a joke that it isn’t art! Woohoo! That will kill with this audience!”

          And then y’all proved BT right. Good job.

          The original comment by doggonetoo was just saying that the iTunes algorithm should notice that hip-hop wasn’t his preference. Totally fine. Then BT was excited to have an opportunity to jump in with a bigotry-induced irrelevant comment, and a bunch of people got really happy to see someone affirm their own bigotry and up-voted his “joke.”

            1. You sound confused. I was pointing out that someone threw an irrelevant comment that was motivated by racism, and people were happy to up-vote it. That should be embarrassing.

          1. You are pretending to not get the “joke”?

            The joke was: “This music style that is associated with non-white people doesn’t count as art! Ha!”

            That’s only funny if you think it is funny to insult other cultures in a nasty, condescending way. Do you think that?

            Self-examination, folks. It’s good for you.

        2. Perhaps putting underrepresented minorities like Harriet Tubman on US banknotes will subliminally reduce race bias. Everyone groks money. Ironically, plans to replace Alexander Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill were scotched after the hip-hop play became wildly popular. I think he’s still white on the new sawbuck.

          1. How is BT’s “joke” funny, unless the reader thinks it’s funny to insult a style of music based on the fact that it is associated with people of color?

            I guess I could have just stuck with “I don’t get it. Why does anyone think that’s funny?” Probably the best response. I’ll use that next time I see a joke clearly motivated by racism.

            1. I also just noticed that, except for Sport Fiend, everyone defending the racist “joke” (and the joker BT) is here as an anonymous coward. Bravely standing up for the racist status quo. You should be proud.

  4. How about integrating an EQ just like iTunes, and not just presets. Yes, I know, there are tons of EQ apps for music stored on the device, but I hardly ever listen to my own music. My preference is Spotify over Apple Music just because I can sculpt my sound to my liking.

  5. …and I have YET to have an issue with Tidal HiFi!

    Maybe if Apple were to get serious about the quality of sound and less about the ‘WoW!” it would be worth another try.

      1. Wow, how brutal! Don’t know if I will EVER recover!!

        There’s no doubt it may go away.
        And I don’t care for the hip-hop scene they promote, but it is one of the few streaming services that is included in music software like Roon and Audirvana.

        If you don’t know what those are, you probably listen to your Taylor Swift in 128k…so, yes, I WILL enjoy Tidal HiFi while it last, verses the crap Apple has that isn’t worth what they charge.

        Now, when Apple gets their shit straight AND offeres CD quality streaming, I’ll come back….as long as it doesn’t screw my library up again.

  6. I sure hope they fix it. Sole reason why I’m sticking with Spotify over Apple Music is because AM is soooo not intuitive and Spotify is. Fingers crossed they get it right or close to right in v.2

  7. Yea, well I don’t use Apple Music and I TOTALLY HATE the Music app on my iPhone 6. It’s SO hard to find my music (yes, I have my own private collection which I have on my- I don’t stream- I like owning my music). It’s SO hard to search for a song- then when I find it and play it, I can’t scrub it! It’s insane. There are a 1000 things wrong with how to find music (switching between songs, artists, playlists, albums is SO hard- it used to be MUCH simpler before Apple Music). But I’m a captive audience and Apple knows it (I’d rather die than switch to Android). But it would be really nice if they would fix the GUI on this app…

    1. Open music app. Click on My Music at the bottom left. Click Playlists at the top. Then click All Playlists (not a button…bad GUI), and choose “Only Downloaded Music.”

      This will only show you songs that are physically on your phone (although it can be buggy).

      Not user friendly AT ALL.

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