Apple Music


Apple Music vs Spotify

12th March 2022

Ru Singh wrote today about how Apple Music just doesn’t work for them, and that Spotify seems to be a better fit:

I recently began using Apple Music. There was something to say for a native mobile app and a native-in-progress desktop app.
Unfortunately, that is simply not enough on its own.
Here’s why Apple Music doesn’t cut it; and why Spotify does.

Obviously, I’m in no position to discredit their opinion. But the headline had me from the start, since I’m the other way around. I prefer Apple Music to Spotify. However, there are a few things that I think Spotify still does better.

The main points in the article against Apple Music are these:

  1. No Handoff or continuity of playback between devices.
  2. No “download all.” option.
  3. Search on macOS being terrible.
  4. The quality of playlists.
  5. Apparent previous/next button issues.

I don’t want this to come across as a “well, actually…” piece. But I would like to at least offer some perspective on these points. I can’t comment on the last point, as it hasn’t affected me, but that’s not to say bugs don’t exist.

No Playback Continuity

First off, I think I can understand the feeling towards the lack of playback continuity between devices. Spotify does do this very well. However, although Apple Music doesn’t have this feature itself, AirPlay does. From any Apple device, you can send music to another device, or control it at the source.

Although, while I’ve found Apple Music to work better in the Apple ecosystem, with devices such as the HomePod, I’ve found Spotify to work better with Alexa devices.

No “Download All”

The lack of “download all” option is bad, I agree. Ideally, there should be an option to either keep your entire library downloaded to your device. But at least a “download all” button for your entire library would work.

Even so, there is a workaround to keep your entire library downloaded, and I’ve been using it for a very long time.

The trick is to create a Smart Playlist in the macOS Music app that has rules that mean all songs are added. I have it set up to include all songs where the artist is not blank.

Once this is created, you can then set this playlist to download on any device. Then as you add songs to your library, this playlist will update, and it will download on your device.

Search on macOS

Totally agree. This is terrible. The search just doesn’t feel good at all. Sometimes you enter a query and hit enter, and just nothing happens.

Here is me complaining about this issue back in November 2021.

However, macOS 12.2 will include a lot of improvements for the Music app. You can read more in this article by MacRumors, but here is a video of me using the beta back in December 2021.

I’m not sure if it’s up to the same level as Spotify, but at least it’s getting better.

Playlists

I’m mixed about playlists on both Apple Music and Spotify. For a while, I thought that Spotify’s “Daily Mix” was the best, but I’m really liking Apple Music’s “Favourites Mix” now.

As for community-created playlists, although I share some myself on Apple Music, I’ve always found Spotify to have a much bigger collection.

I know Apple (and I guess Spotify) also make “official” playlists for various genres or moods, but I haven’t really tried these at all.

But I get the point, the community on Spotify definitely seems better.

More thoughts on Apple Music vs Spotify

Apart from the points mentioned in Ru Singh’s article, there are a few extra points I’d like to make.

  • The Music app on macOS is definitely getting better, but Spotify has always felt much more responsive. I also think it looks better.
  • Although I like Spotify’s dark interface on macOS, when I used it on iOS, I really wanted a light option.
  • When I used Spotify, I didn’t find it particularly easy to manage the library and my downloaded songs.
  • Apple Music seems to work much better for me on the HomePod, but I think this probably more because of the limitations from Apple. It would be good if Spotify could have this level of integration too.

For now, Apple Music is a better fit for myself. But I like to switch between the two services every now and then, so I’ll most likely be playing with Spotify again soon.

Changes to Social Features on Apple Music

14th December 2018

Apple have announced some changes to the Artists Pages in Apple Music for iOS:

Apple Music in iOS 12 makes it easier to browse an artist’s catalog and discover new music to play. You’ll find the following changes in the new Artist Pages:

  • Improved Organization: Artist Pages are now better organized to make it easier to find the music you’re looking for, including Essential Albums and a featured release at the top of each artist’s page.
  • Personalized Artist Radio: Every Apple Music artist now has their own radio station. Press ▶︎ at the top of any Artist Page to start listening to music from across an artist’s catalog.

Connect posts from artists are no longer supported.

So Apple Music Connect is no more. Not exactly a big loss in my opinion though.

My opinions are similar to Nick Heer of Pixel Envy:

Aside from Connect, I think Apple Music’s social features have been fairly successful. I check out what the users I follow have been listening to all the time in the For You section, and I like the new Friends Mix added a few months ago. I’ve even noticed a better selection of user-created playlists. I would love to see continued investment and promotion of these more passive social features, rather than another attempt to create a Twitter-but-for-music social network.

I can’t say I regularly check what my friends are listening to, but I too have been finding a lot more user-created playlists. And I’ve noticed that playlists that I have created have been getting more attention from others.

Receiving updates from artists in Apple Music always seemed a bit odd to me, as I never really thought any artists would spend much time creating content for a limited outlet such as Apple Music. Especially as they surely knew it wouldn’t be that popular.

What I do want to see more of though, are social features designed for the listeners. With things like user-curated playlists, and smarter recommendations that take into consideration your interests, your friends, what’s trending in a certain area, etc. I’ve always found Spotify to be much better at this, and discoverability in general. And I’d much prefer Apple to compete on that front, instead of trying to attract Artists to be social on a music platform.

Apple Music - Carpool Karaoke: The Series

14th February 2017

Apple have just released a one minute trailer of their Carpool Karaoke series, and with it comes a bit more information about the upcoming episodes.

Hollywood Reporter said last year that Apple had ordered 16 episodes, and we now know that they won’t all be hosted by James Corden. There may be people on multiple episodes still though, as they only mention 13 celebrities “and many more”. However they did say specifically “celebrity pairings”, so this seems like they’re moving the series away from a host/guest structure.

The thirteen celebrities already confirmed are: James Corden, Will Smith, Billy Eichner, Metallica, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Seth MacFarlane, Chelsea Handler, Blake Shelton, Michael Strahan, John Cena, and Shaquille O’Neal.

The series as we expected, will be available exclusively on Apple Music. I’m quite looking forward watching these, and also whether Apple can go on to create/produce/purchase even more content.

Update:
Apple have now released a second video, showing more of the series content!