Apple Music will get a makeover, but it needs much more

“Last year, Apple finally got into the subscription music business,” Peter Kafka writes for Recode. “Time to try it again.”

“Apple is expected to roll out an overhaul for its Apple Music service at its WWDC event Monday, aimed at making ‘it more intuitive to use,'” Kafka writes. “That’s good, because Apple Music needs some help: Its first effort was surprisingly confused — especially from a company that famously waits for other people to take a stab at something, then shows up with a much better version.”

“But even if Apple Music gets much, much better, there’s no reason to think Apple Music’s trajectory will get any better. Because even if Apple offers a service that’s as good as Spotify, or better, it’s still going to be selling the same thing: All the music you can stream, for $10 a month,” Kafka writes. “At this point the main difference between Spotify and Apple Music is that Spotify has 30 million paying subscribers and Apple has 13 million. Apple will argue in public that 13 million is not too shabby for a service that didn’t exist a year ago; privately, music label executives who talk to Apple executives report that the Apple guys are disappointed.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple owns the platform. Spotify doesn’t. Guess who wins in the long run?

That said, this is going to be a long, long run. As we wrote last August: 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.)

And, despite [Eddy] Cue’s claims of being “thrilled,” doesn’t 11 million seem a bit paltry for a free trial that launched in over 100 countries over a month ago? 11 million free trial users? That’s it? With more than 1/3rd of the trial period now gone? This might be a harder sell than most, including Apple (with their rumored goal of 100 million subscribers), initially thought.

And, as we wrote in February when Apple Music got to 11 million paying members: The level of impressiveness depends on your perspective. Apple Music launched in over 100 countries. That’s an average of fewer than 110,000 subscribers per country since last June. Maybe there just aren’t that many true music lovers out there? It seems like most people are happy enough to be music dabblers for the price of free, even among well-heeled Apple users.

Apple Music adds another million subscribers in 1 month, surpasses 11 million paying members – February 12, 2016
Apple Music subscribers could hit 100 million users in 6 years – January 11, 2016
Apple Music nabs 10 million subscribers in 6 months, which took Spotify 6 years – January 10, 2016
Uh-oh, Spotify: People are paying up for Apple Music – November 5, 2015
Why Apple Music will win in streaming music – October 27, 2015
Apple Music takes a huge bite out of Pandora – October 23, 2015
Taylor Swift calls Spotify a ‘start-up with no cash flow’ – August 4, 2015
Oh ok, Spotify listeners are upgrading to Apple Music – July 19, 2015
Apple Music could kill more than just Spotify, it could kill music labels, too – June 25, 2015
Why Apple Music will gut and publicly execute Spotify – June 10, 2015
Spotify CEO claims to be ‘ok’ with Apple Music – June 9, 2015
Jimmy Iovine and Eddy Cue: Apple Music gunning for Spotify, YouTube, and terrestrial radio – June 9, 2015
Apple Music’s huge advantage over Spotify – June 9, 2015
Apple’s revolutionary Apple Music just might prove its skeptics wrong – June 8, 2015
Apple unveils revolutionary Apple Music service – June 8, 2015


  1. Despite all the whining and digital ink splayed about this issue on “fixing” Apple Music, I’ve seen no one really publish anything on how to fix it. There have been ideas on what needs to be added perhaps, and I think some of those are in there now, but where are the geniuses that are showing us how they’d fix it from the ground up? Its not going to look like Spotify, it has to fit on an iPhone screen. So where is the article that describes the complete fix? Did SteveJack post one and I missed it?

    1. Here’s one. iOS has an app called Videos. It has an app called Music which suffers through playing music owned by the user and Apple Music if subscribed. There’s also a podcast app. Then there’s Apple TV. Then there are apps. iTunes services all those except apps. How about each app having a Store link which takes you to that appropriate store. Split iTunes into three different stores – Video, Music and maybe podcasts. Leave ringtones and music and MAYBE music videos in iTunes. And for God’s sake, split My Music off from Apple Music and let those of us who prefer to buy an occasional song, but otherwise don’t really dig music, delete the Bloatware that is Apple Music. Even Google users have that privilege. Do the same on macOS to keep it all simple and consistent across platforms.

  2. Apple software on IOS is a confused mess.

    To download a song do I go to iTunes or Music? What about a ringtone? What about a movie? What about Radio? What about finding an album?

    To get to the pictures I took on the Camera do I go to camera or Photos? To take a photo do I go to Photos or Camera? To edit a picture I took with the camera do I go to camera or photos?

    To download a movie do I go to iMovie, iTunes, or Videos?

    To change the equalizer for my music do I go to the app for the bluetooth speakers, to iTunes, to Music, or to Settings? If Settings, where do I go in Settings? iTunes, Music, Sound, the app for the speakers?

    Come on Apple. What ever happened to ‘it’s harder to make things more simple but that’s our commitment’ or some semblance of that?

    My iOS is a mess. The music app is a mess. I hit the home button to see the time or notifications and it instantly activates Touch ID and I miss it. Or I tap the home button as fast as i can and then swipe up on the Camera app, but TouchID has already activated and the up swipe hits some random button on whatever was open.

    I try to change the volume and I turn off the phone, or try to turn off the phone and hit volume. I try to use the volume buttons to take a picture and turn off the phone.

    Multiple times now I’ve opened camera, switched to Video, hit the record button and held up the phone to record the priceless once-ever moment, only to tap the button after several minutes to end the video and find the video starting… It never began recording! This has happened multiple times to me and family members on their own phones.

    Shit is just a mess Apple. Sorry for the French, but give me a break. This is supposedly rock-solid software by now and it’s a shitstorm.

    I expect better and I expect it ASAP. I pay a premium for Apple products because I believe they are best in class, best in the world. But if you can’t clean this stuff up and get things working smoothly soon I’ll begin more and more to yearn for some other company to swoop in and do the work themselves.

    So let’s button down and work this stuff out. C’est bon?

  3. Well Higi, this is a ridiculous rant. Sounds like a considerable amount of operator error has crept in to your iPhone usage. For example, you don’t need to hit the home button to open the camera. You just swipe up the icon from the lock screen. Try reading the Apple Tips app.

      1. I understand and have experienced many of the same issues esp since apple moved the sleep button to the side. As for viewing notifications on the lock screen, I use my fingernail rather than finger. Also, if you inadvertently unlock, just pull down notifications from the top of the screen. Speaking of notifications, there should be a way to set an expiration (possibly by app) so that I don’t have to clear 100 notifications from the local news app. Sometimes I do feel like I started off with Apple making stuff that just came natural. Nowadays, it all just feels like a chore that I have to work for. After programming for about 10 hours a day and driving an hour and a half, I don’t have the time or patience and I long for the days when things just worked.

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