Music


20 Years of "Let Go" by Avril Lavigne

2nd July 2022

One way that I've been realising my age recently, is the amount of anniversaries for music that I used to listen to when I was a child.

The most recent one is Avril Lavigne's album Let Go, that has now reached it's 20th anniversary. Which obviously means, a new anniversary version has been released, and I'm listening to it right now.

Listen on Apple Music or Spotify.

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.

Bring Back the iPod Click Wheel With Rewound

12th December 2019

I came across a fun app recently on Twitter, called Rewound. It’s a Music app that simply acts as an interface to your music library, but it comes with a rather interesting quirk, it looks like an old iPod. And you can even go back to a click wheel.

Rewound App.

The control layout can be changed within the app, however to apply a matching skin you have to download them from Twitter/Weibo (You can find them with the #rewoundskins hashtag) or add custom photos from your device.

Depending on the skin you add, it automatically assigns a layout based on the size. And if you use one with a click wheel, you will actually be able to use the circular gestures to navigate through your music collection.

It’s a bit of fun, and I’m sure some nostalgic people will love to see it. I can’t quite say I see this as a long term product though!

Download Rewound for free on the App Store


Update: 18th December 2019

It turns out that Apple have now rejected Rewound, and it’s no longer available to download. (via Michael Tsai)

How To: Download Your Entire iTunes Music Library

2nd February 2017

If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, or you just have a super large iTunes library, then downloading all of your music to a device can be a giant pain.

With the iPhone storage sizes getting bigger, having your entire collection downloaded is even more of a possibility. I for example have a 128GB iPhone 7 Plus, so I easily have enough space for my entire library.

The only problem is that on iOS, there isn’t a “download all” button. However there’s a really simple solution if you have a Mac available.

Step 1 – In the sidebar, right click and choose Create Smart Playlist.

Step 2 – Change the rules to “Artist is not (blank)” like the image below.

Step 3 – Open the Playlist in the Music app on your iOS device.

Step 4 – Tap on the “…” button in the top right, and press Download.

That’s it!

All of your music library should then start to download.

Another bonus that this gives you, is that because it’s a Smart Playlist, it will continue to update as you add music to your library. As the rule simply is that it matches any item where the Artist name isn’t blank, which should be all of them!