In this article, I hear a lot of "I". IMO, the big challenge with Apple Music is all the legacy that a) personal libraries, b) iTunes Match, and c) iTunes purchases all bring to the new streaming paradigm. Those are problems Apple has to solve, and can't just discard. Apple's customers have plowed tons of $$$ to "own" their libraries, and Apple is doing the right thing to bring them along.
That complexity explains the difference between "hearting" a song/playlist/station and "plus'ing" one, or "clouding" one, amongst others.
I actually appreciate Apple's queue approach, which has a long history in iTunes. I love being able to insert or reorder songs without having to "recover" the previous state. That may not be everyone's cup of tea, or mental model, but it isn't bad design.
I do agree with the author that configurability of the tabs and the main buttons of the Now Playing screen would be handy. I know of several changes I'd make if able.
I do think that there are several good criticisms here, but when the first paragraph includes a lot of "I don't care about"s, that is a good sign to me that the author is not thinking about the design challenges holistically.
Part of the reason I'm unhappy with the options forced on me is the removal of my ability to customize the tabs. If Apple wants to push Radio, that's fine. Do I have to suffer navigational difficulties, when previously I could replace that button with "Albums" or "Songs", etc.?
With regards to queuing, I don't mind the way it's modeled. I reorder songs all the time; it's very useful. The actual act of dragging the songs is not very graceful at times--I'll fly by the next song in the list, or not move at all past the top of the screen. Like I said, after playing with Spotify and noticing similar issues, I think it's a Swift/iOS issue, not an Apple Music problem.
I've had the same problem, but you actually spelling it out here prompted me to try something new... and it actually works! Hold the song you want to reposition in the queue with a thumb and scroll the queue with the index finger from the other hand.
I only learned this technique recently from an article on how to more easily reorganise your home screen. So much better than dragging to the edge of the screen.
I guess the UI generalisation to this: there should be two ways to drag: either by dragging the item itself, or by holding it in place and using the other hand to drag the background underneath it.
I'm not saying your complaints aren't valid or warranted - they're just not relevant to Apple unless their designers agree with you.
> we are unable to respond to each submission individually. If you provide your email address, you agree that we may contact you to better understand the comments you submitted
Which makes perfect sense IMO.
When I launch Apple Music, I just tap Search and can constrain it to my library with one touch. I feel like I can get to any album in a few seconds.
What you're doing isn't wrong, of course, but it doesn't seem like the designed-for path.
Last-used with a single tap to switch seems ideal to me.
I'm not sure what screen you're normally on, but I just picked up my phone and launched Apple Music. It put me, as it normally does, on the Library tab, where 'Albums' is right there, third from the top.
The Mac app, on the other hand, has clearly received less attention. I've encountered several bugs, and right-clicking a track within the Apple Music app to see an option titled "Show in Apple Music" betrays a distinctly un-Apple-like level of holistic consideration. As a technical user I know what it means is "Show in the Apple Music streaming content instead of my library", but it's an incredibly bad look for a company that historically has prided itself on UX consideration. The desktop app is still "fine". It gets the job done. It's just surprising to see this sort of thing in the flagship app of the largest tech company in the world's much-heralded "services" push.
My personal music collection should be front and center.
It used to be that an iPhone was also an iPod. An iPhone now, especially with Apple Music, is nowhere close to that experience.
This is why I stuck with Apple Music. I was hearing rumors that they'd eliminate music purchases in which case I was going to dump them.
Since when did a personal library become legacy?
They’ve never ripped a CD, or bought an individual track for download. Two of them have no idea what a “file” is. The third thinks a “file” is some bygone shibboleth known only by dorks like their uncle.
They all have iPhones, of course. Two are on MacBooks. One has the airpods. None would be caught dead with a model more than one behind the current.
I’m willing to gamble they are more representative of apple’s target demo than you or I are.
How many Apple products can your nieces buy with their salary?
Between their ability to wheedle devices out of their parents, every goddamned device.
Legacy is, by definition, that which existed before. Unless you're starting your library right now, in the age of streaming, your library is legacy.
Of course it is. It's legacy from the perspective of the company, and the developers at the company. Legacy doesn't mean "bad," it just means "not the latest/current thing."
It is pretty much impossible to build a music UX that optimizes for all three of these user types, since they want such different things. Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play Music have all made different choices in how they address this. Some of those were (IMHO) good choices, others weren't. But it is dangerous to assume that what works well for you will work well for others. The discussion about the queue here is a great example: one person hates it with a passion, another loves it.
This is a good argument for not tying music subscriptions to a specific client -- ie, allowing 3rd-party clients that are optimized for my specific user-type to freely hook into and stream from my Google Play Music subscription via an official API. The Google Play Music client is not optimized for users like me. I'm sure it was a lot of work to build, but I am not the target demographic of any of the interface decisions that have been made, and I curse the designers every time I open the app.
So it's weird that, say, Shuttle, a music client that is optimized for me as a user, can't hook into my account or even download my purchased music.
I don't mean to call out Google Music in specific, because while it doesn't have good public APIs, they're at least consistent enough that alternative clients are being made on desktop.
But I do see this as a trend across a lot of SaaS services -- Netflix, Twitter, Facebook, Apple Music. People complain that the services aren't optimized for them, and designers will roll their eyes and say, "you can't optimize for everyone".
And that's true. But who's fault is it that you have to optimize for everyone? Who's fault is it that you have to try and figure out how to balance a bunch of wildly diverse and often contradictory needs? There used to be really good alternative Twitter clients, and if Twitter wants to complain now that building one client for everyone is hard, I just can't muster the energy to feel sorry for them.
Apple's whole shtick is trying to get everyone to use the same official apps, to have the same consistent, good experience. I'm not sympathetic to a company that deliberately puts themselves into that position and then complains, "optimizing for everyone at the same time is hard."
But, yeah, I'd definitely like to see more services offer full-featured APIs and actively support, if not necessarily promote, third-party clients. Watching what Twitter did to their ecosystem was supremely frustrating.
Only pointing this out because it speaks to your point. I think you're spot-on that APIs and embracing 3rd-party clients are the way forward. Not just for music, but any service where the primary UI challenge is making everyone happy (hint: a lot of services). I'd instantly support and switch to a service like GPM that put APIs first, assuming all the same back end functionality and catalog was available. Even if the "official" client didn't suit my needs.
It's also an easily solveable problem if the APIs are actually open. If Apple put out three music clients, you would definitely get people complaining that they weren't unified. If Apple shipped an open iOS API that covered everything in their official client(s), somebody in the community would just build one client that did everything a complaining demographic wanted, and then sell it for $4.99 on the app store.
When you see large groups of people complaining about current tech offerings for sustained periods of time, that usually means that the legal and/or technical barriers to entry to build alternatives are too high.
I'd be pretty happy to be wrong about that, since I'm fairly annoyed with Google Play. At the time, if I had found good enough API support and a good enough 3rd-party client, I would have switched services.
It's been a while since I looked into it, and maybe I missed something when I first did. I can see that Spotify is experimenting with a web playback API now, but as far as I can see it's still pretty limited.
I am almost entirely unsympathetic to people who argue that having too much choice is a bad thing on an app store. That's not a real problem.
Yeah, sure, then we only need a few meta-rankings to know which of those we actually need to pay attention to.
Of course, when you build recommendation engines and lists, you run the risk of filtering out quality offerings. But if the alternative you're proposing is we only have 1 or 2 choices for each type of app, then accidentally filtering out quality offerings is probably not a real concern for you.
Filters, reviews, and lists are great. They're how I select products to buy online, how I get book/movie/game recommendations, how I decide what Linux software to install on my computer. Curated content recommendations are the entire premise behind sites like HN and Reddit. This stuff really does work.
I live in a house of 6 people. We have discussed this at the dinner table, and it's just too bad the iOS music app isn't completely re-configurable so each user can make it their own.
When you start the app, it can ask "Are you a lean-back music listener?" "Are you an expert curator of playlists?" etc. And then it gives you a default view that's a little more suitable to YOU.
But they don't do this.
I use Pandora. I turn on the station related to the Artist I want, and this is all I ever do. I only listen in my car, so I sit down, plug in, open Pandora, press play. I don't even bother to change the artist/station usually unless I'm maybe sitting in my car waiting for something.
2 of my sons have vast playlists in iTunes. They create fine-tuned play lists and are constantly adding and removing songs from lists and creating different listening experiences.
My wife is a great middle-ground. She knows lots of music. She knows artists, new songs, old songs, lyrics. She chooses music based on her mood every day. She uses Alexa in her car to pull up play lists she has compiled on Amazon music. Her phone has backup playlists for plugging in when she's in my car and not willing to listen to whatever randomness I have queued up on Pandora.
Let's just say entertainment consumption in general is a broad topic. Creating the perfect player is impossible and therefore should be 100% configurable.
I studied Human Computer Interaction and interfaces in college . It's hidden and unintuitive for no good reason.
This is my biggest complaint. How in the world do I get off of the lyrics display and then how do I shuffle and repeat?
Also, if I want more by an artist than what I have in my library, I get to the artist and then look at the library and then have to swipe up once or twice in order to get the “show more by this artist” option. Minor annoyance and I’ve learned the pattern, it just took a bit.
From what I could see, it shipped, then immediately turned into abandoned-ware which it still is today (in spite of being "replaced" by YouTube Music which is also abandoned-ware almost from its release).
I actually still pay for GPM (for Ad-Free YouTube) but also pay for Amazon's Unlimited because Amazon's Music offering actually consistently works well and makes music discovery pleasant. Or to phase another way, I actually pay money to avoid using GPM or YT Music which I could use for "free." They're that terrible.
However, there are many severe issues.
* It crashes every single time the app is closed in iOS.
* The ability to edit metadata is missing in iOS.
* iOS integration is missing features that are present in apple music and spotify, such as appearing as a music player in all contexts relevant to the OS.
* Duplicate tracks show up everywhere.
* Playlists often do not update when changes are made to them.
* Playlists sometimes just go missing for a while.
* The web browser interface gets out of sync often.
* It is not clear when tracks are ones in your library or from google's licensed library.
* Uploaded tracks are often deduplicated without warning or notice, resulting in lightly modified tracks and rare releases to be replaced with licensed versions.
* Sometimes I cannot get things to upload without trying a dozen times across multiple days.
This is par for google and it is bar none the the worst software I choose to use.
That being said I went through my Google Play billing recently and realized I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on Google Play Music over the years. I don’t think I’ve listened to that much money’s worth of music considering the songs are about a dollar each to buy and I don’t add that many new songs every year.
Someone should build a tool that scans your streaming library on Google Play Music/Apple Music/Spotify or whatever and adds all of those tracks to an Amazon MP3 shopping cart to help you transition off the recurring service. I wouldn’t be surprised if something exists that does something similar using torrents.
GPM has been offered as a service for nearly a decade and has numerous dramatic changes and improvements over the years. Google Play Music is not even its original name and it did not even originally offer a subscription. It was created as a service for streaming music you owned from the cloud.
Making them both VERY unsuitable to a device where a child has access.
I'll buy albums and copy them over to a local music share then onto android devices. I still use the "music" app on android, I just blacklist it from access from child - which makes me sad as there's a lot of music there they'd love to listen to.
(Apple has terribly fragile screens. Android doesn't - at least if you go for the cheaper models. That's a whole different debate though)
I've been able to look past a lot of the decline in Apple's software quality, but the data corruption problems springing up (Catalina Mail, iOS 13 Photos incidents also come to mind) are a bridge too far. The primary reason I avoid turning on a new Apple cloud service is that it's likely it'll do something highly undesirable to my data.
As an alternate data point, I've subscribed to that service for years now (no Apple Music streaming) and have not had any major problems. Lots of custom music tracks as well, which Match has always respected and synced properly across my iDevices.
The only problem I had when first signing up years back was that one of my songs was replaced with the wrong song--but that bad match has since been fixed.
First, it deleted ALL my playlists on a random day for no apparent reason, and i couldn't restore them from backups because apparently the playlists are stored in the cloud or whatever and not in a local file.
Also, after converting my personal library to "iCloud", Apple replaced all my specific versions of songs with crappy alternative versions, without notifying me beforehand. Very frustrating.
Spotify's user interface is so much better, i can't understand how anyone would prefer Apple Music. Also i much prefer Spotify's radio/recommendations.
I've been very unimpressed with Spotify's iOS and iPadOS interface lately. I was OK with it for years when all I would do is either (1) tell it to play one of my playlists, or (2) find an album via search and tell it to play that.
Lately, though, I've been using Spotify to listen to music during timed activities. I know I'm going to spend N minutes on the activity, and want to queue up N minutes of music. So before starting the activity I go through my playlists picking songs and queuing them, or thinking of other songs that I'm the mood for, searching for them, and queuing them, trying to queue a little over N minutes.
Should be easy, right? From the song listing in a playlist or search, queue the song and keep a running total in my head of the times. Occasionally pop over to the queue view to check the total time.
Nope. That doesn't work because the stupid thing does not show the song times in playlist listing, search listings, or any other kind of listing I've found. The only way I know to find the length of a song is to start playing it and then look at the playback display which shows time elapses and time remaining.
Well, that's not quite true. You could also put the song by itself in a playlist, because it will show you the total length of a playlist.
The partial workaround is to make a new playlist, add the songs to that instead of the queue so that I can at least see the total time, and then queue the whole playlist when I've got my N minutes in it.
People have been asking for them to fix this for at least 5 years .
The killer feature for me is that Apple Music makes it seamless to add local mp3s into my library (accessible from anywhere). Spotify has this functionality, but you have to sync your phone on the same network as your computer and leave the app(s) open and go through a whole song-and-dance.
On AM, I just click "Add to iCloud" in iTunes and suddenly that track is available to stream from any device I own. The seamless integration is really a killer feature.
Yea i agree, that's the only reason i still use Apple Music next to Spotify, since some albums are not available in Spotify.
I've had spotify for 5 years now and it's always felt just as unpolished as when I first got a subscription, which is unfortunate.
Thankfully I've been a spotify subscriber for years so I can just keep kicking that can down the road, but some day I'd like my music back.
I ask this because I have about 900 albums on CD that I ripped and then stored away in the loft/under the stairs and could never envisage actually paying a streaming service to listen to stuff I actually have already bought.
I mean, I have an iPod Classic that has all this music on it, and my MacBook too.
It seems odd the general acceptance of streaming services and rent-everything approach these days. Seems very odd to me (but yes I do have a Netflix account, just don't rent everything else under the sun - the worst is Grammarly - why subscribe to a spell check???? Mind blown).
Without the checkbox, iTunes employs its own local folder organization strategy and will update id3 tags and album art from fingerprint lookups.
I'm on a spotify family plan, so it's $15/mo. I was thinking the other day, 1992 me would have been absolutely blown away that, for $6.30something a month, I can listen to virtually anything I want. Yes, I'm "renting" it, but I'll take that over being able to only buy 3 CDs a year.
I have this dark suspicion that that this is a perfectly acceptable outcome to music steaming concerns.
I'm not saying that Apple or anyone else is intentionally trashing libraries to encourage streaming. Just that they have no good reason to care about your carefully curated library, and in fact have something to gain if it went away.
How not to mention Jaikoz? This small expensive horrible yet useful java software does organize MP3s for you - it even connect to online DBs. I use it since those times...
As you have paid for a license to listen to that music in that specific format, that should be 100% irrevocable.
Add “sometimes songs are replaced by versions from compilation albums” which is also incredibly frustrating if you like to curate a library. However, all of these bugs have been present since iTunes Match launched, long before Apple Music was a thing. I have no faith they’ll ever get fixed.
My theory is that rights for songs temporarily lapse or transfer, causing the album to be removed and re-added on the back end, and the system to match things back up is wonky.
Syncing music to the Apple Watch is also incredibly unreliable. I had to deduce that songs that aren’t downloaded to the phone will never transfer to the Watch (even though the Watch has its own WiFi connection) because the transfer screen just says “syncing...” forever.
Apple Music is horrible, but the lack of a real library in Spotify (as mentioned in the article) is just about keeping me subscribed.
I also enjoy the "play random song when plug into car" feature :)
I am not sure but I think it's related to another longstanding issue where a particular version of a song is replaced with a different version of a song (usually one from a compilation or best-of album instead of the original single or EP, etc.)
1. The original app that was playing (Podcasts, Spotify, etc.) got automatically killed for whatever reason (consuming too much memory, etc.)
2. The default app for audio playback is Apple Music, so if you press play (or if your car resumes audio), that is the app that starts up.
There is no way (at least right now), to change the default app for audio playback on the phone.
I don't know where that option is, or maybe it's gone with iOS 13. It was annoying.
• Apple Music (the subscription service)
• iTunes (the library with syncing and an optional digital music locker subscription-service)
Each of the two has its own obvious top-level navigation. Each of the two has its own independent backend services (e.g. the recommendations in Apple Music; the iTunes Store and the cloud music locker in the iTunes app.) They would also share some backend services (e.g. the object storage of songs that are streamed in Apple Music vs. “matched“ in iTunes) but other iOS apps share these services too (e.g. Apple Podcasts, Apple TV.)
Why are they the same app?
I can see a world where they exist together in one universal library, but if they can't figure that out through good UI and UX, they 100% should be two.
Unfortunately they want to pressure everyone into buying a music subscription, so that won't happen.
I consolidate the biggest players yearly in a review, which might be helpful for the author’s search: https://barrowclift.me/post/second-annual-ios-music-player-c...
Edit: also, you have an incredibly pretty website.
So why even bother with Apple Music - it's really simple and it's why I see Apple services being huge... you get an Apple card and its cash back will pay your Apple Music and Apple TV+ and Apple News+ bill every month. Why pay for another music service when Apple Music is "good enough" and is "free" at that point?
The Apple Card’s credit card rewards aren’t even that good compared to what other large banks offer (e.g. the Citi Double Cash card).
Stop ranting and do it. Vote with your wallet. Your $10 tells Apple that everything is fine.
I don’t subscribe to any music, personally. I use the Music app with Apple Music disabled (Settings > Music > Show Apple Music (Off)).
And $10 for unlimited music ($5 because I'm a student) is unbeatable. I just wish the app was better.
There are annoying things I can find with every platform/company and their associated fans, but this is a sickness that seems unique to Apple users: they gripe and complain, but-- sometimes in the first sentence of their post!-- vow that they will never switch to something else. Which makes all their complaining pointless, if Apple knows it has their money regardless. It's like announcing ahead of time that you have a crap hand and expecting to be able to bluff anyway.
That is an interesting caricature. It's particularly interesting to me because while I've heard many people profess that they'll never use an Apple product -- a weird hill to climb and define ones id by -- I've seldom heard an Apple user say they would never use a competitor.
In real life every product has faults. I don't subscribe to Apple Music but instead use Spotify -- I could name a dozen very irritating behaviors of the product (some absolutely bizarre elements, like trying to clear a queue of songs). That doesn't mean I should cancel and wipe my hands of it. In this case the complaint is that this guy -- who never fulfilled the caricature, though by your post I imagine most assume he must have -- doesn't immediately cancel because of some UI grievances, when every competitor offers its own problems.
Look at the screenshots in the previous versions compared to now. Design is down to personal preference (personally I think the earlier versions had more "rich" design and a personality, bits of which were lost with each upgrade) but you can't argue that we are losing functionality, despite screen sizes going up and having more than enough space to accommodate all the features.
Also the occasional attempts to upsell me to their streaming service that bring up a blank window that sits there waiting for something to load off the net and can only be dismissed by force quitting Music and hoping it doesn’t decide to do that again when I relaunch it can die in a fire.
I don’t curate playlists much and when I do it’s on the computer.
I don't share the same frustrations with the author, so the correct title maybe should be "iOS 13's Music App Sucks (according to me)".
My music listening process is like "I hear a song, ask Siri about the name of the song, tap on the song listen to the song and start a radio with that song and if another song comes to my mind search for it add it as play next. If I like s song I add it to my library".
I almost always listen to music like that, only the beginning would be different(Instead of asking Siri, a song would come to my mind and start from there).
I briefly got frustrated when Apple hide the Love button but quickly forgot about it.
Anyway, I don't believe in playlists, I believe in moods. Apple Music works great for me while Spotify was the worst among many. With Spotify, I am supposed to do labour in order to listen to music. That's not me, I don't chase playlists. Youtube is also great, they also manage to suggest very relevant music videos when I start from something.
* Discovery is back to being passive - recommendations come from the company that you are subscribed to.
* Quality is paid for separately - the subscription has a fee, your data has a separate fee.
* Quality is not guaranteed - it depends on your current internet connection.
* There are dead zones.
* Most apps I've used do a terrible job showing you only the downloaded music you have.
* Your available music is subject to the deals between record labels and subscription services.
* Subscription services aren't incentivized to house more obscure / old / rare / hard to find music.
* Music is siloed in to different subscription services. ( We are moving to a Showtime vs Starz vs HBO vs Netflix model )
What really gets me is that at the end of the day - going the legal route of a subscription service is truly only marginally better for artists.
You lost me on the opening sentence. I didn't even bother to read the rest of the article. I was expecting this to be based some some valid objective reasons why the app sucks, not personal preferences.
I use Spotify, and have found the "Radio" feature really handy to find new music that is similar to music I already like - especially when creating a new radio station from a custom playlist I made or artist I like.
The curated playlists are much better mainly because their radio algorithms are absolutely terrible.
Apple music has a station (radio) feature, which you can start from a song or album. It functions similarly to spotify's radio feature and is not what the author was talking about.
Apple's "radio" tab, not feature, shows you an advertisement for Beats 1 taking up half of the screen, then "recently played" taking up 30% of the screen, then things like "upcoming shows" and "broadcast radio". After a lot of scrolling, there is an alphabetical list of genres. I find almost all of this fairly irrelevant (I already have a podcasts app, as does apple), and the one thing I would expect to see ("Recommended for you") is absent. Is it so hard to give me some recommended stations before all of that other stuff?
Compare this to spotify's homepage which shows me music categories I actually listen to, and six daily playlists made for me which all reference different categories I listen to and make playlists of.
Compare these screenshots of apple music's radio tab  and spotify's homepage . Spotify at least attempts to show me relevant content, unlike apple. So in ~6 months of usage I haven't used either of those tabs.
The author also makes actual points in the next sentence and the rest of the article.
edit: apple music does have "For you" tab, I had a brainfart when writing this. I originally compared it to the middle tab, which is "Browse" I think? (둘러보기 in Korean).
tl;dr: the Apple Music Radio tab is radio all the way down, either stations or shows. It's exactly what it says on the tin.
The For You tab, by contrast, seems to be very similar to the way you describe Spotify's home page, doesn't it? Mixes which are based on your preferences along with your recently played songs and albums.
The article's author doesn't want to ever use For You or Radio, evidently, which is fine, although I think it misses out on one of the primary reasons to use a streaming music service (discovery).
You have to scroll far down to get past random podcasts and artist shows, and the genres list is just an alphabetical list of genres... Is it so hard to show me stations that I might enjoy, at the top of the tab? I listen to classical, classic rock, prog rock, and jazz. I would expect to see a "You might enjoy" section with a) those music categories, or b) artists from those music categories ("Bill Evans Trio" radio, etc).
Compared to spotify, these two tabs are basically useless. I may as well search for a song/album and make my own stations, which I already do. At least when I pay for spotify I don't have random advertisements like beats1 taking up space before recommendations / what I actually would like to see.
Sometimes they make something good, but usually they make "just ok".
Because they never had to be good. Their hardware was compelling enough that people just suffered through their software because they had to.
But now they're trying to make money from their software services. They're probably fooled into thinking they are doing a good job because their revenue is so high and their customer base is so large, especially compared to their competitors.
But I think that's a red herring for them. They are still benefiting from their installed hardware base. I doubt they would have even half the customer base they do if they were just selling software (like say on Windows).
If they really want to make software services a key pillar of their business, they need to step up their game. They need to interview customers and listen to their needs. They need to collect analytics on usage and then actually analyze them to improve their products.
I think if they would spend a bit more resources on their software, and give their engineers a bit more leeway to experiment and actually talk to customers, they would be far more successful than they already are.
I think their culture of secrecy is hurting them in the software space, and always has.
I couldn’t disagree more. Apple, from my understanding, is famously successful because they make both great hardware and great software. It’s the combination of both that made their hardware products sell like hot cakes. It’s the reason that year after year people keep complaining about the “Apple tax” on comparably-specced hardware. Customers don’t care because they want Apple software on their machines. Their operating systems are well optimized and user friendly. Their core apps range from decent to really great (presumably because the teams working on them are highly independent). Many of their core apps don’t even need third party replacements because they do everything you’ll ever need them to do. I just don’t see the argument for their software being consistently bad. Are there also bad examples? Yup. But I would pick Apple over Microsoft for consumer software any day of the week despite the former being “a hardware company” and the latter being “a software company”.
Even their “good” software is only good if you use exactly how Apple wants.
In any case, calling any of their services a disaster is disingenuous to begin with.
I wouldn't. Interacting with people who don't use iMessage is awful. It gets very confused when you try to send group messages when some people have iMessage and some don't, for example.
Google's offerings handle this much better, especially if you're on Android, but even if you aren't.
How does Google’s offering handle this situation better?
Hangouts for example understands how different carriers handle different types of data differently, and accounts for that when sending messages. So when you send to a group with different capabilities, it adjusts accordingly and automatically in the background.
The problem is our family group text. Some of the family is on Android. For the family group text, I use Hangouts because not all the messages go through if I use iMessage.
iCloud vs. Dropbox. iTunes vs. Spotify. Apple Music vs. Spotify. Calendar vs. GCal or Outlook365. Mail vs. Gmail/365.
Apple Maps vs. Google Maps.
Pretty much any service that both Apple and Google make, Google does it better.
Up until last year, if I wanted maps via CarPlay, I had to use Apple maps. Up until last year, if I wanted to sync passwords across devices, I had to use iCloud. Even today, if I click on an address, it goes to Apple maps. I have to jump through hoops to use Google Maps.
If you want to install apps, you must use the App store.
If you want to play music on your watch, you have to use Apple Music.
There are still plenty of places where Apple forces you to (or at least makes it very inconvenient not to) use their services. Most users aren't sophisticated enough to use anything but Apple Maps, Apple Music, iCloud, etc.
> You may have a great point about their software service selection but I disagree with your muddying the waters bringing their core software into the mix.
When did I bring their core software into the mix? I'm only talking about their services.
First: swipe-from-right doesn't reveal a red delete button, like you'd expect. So I hit the search engine, discover you have to long-press to delete. Annoying, but okay, progress.
Now, there are some albums on my Playlist page. Which is weird, and I don't remember putting them there. But when I long-press those albums, it gives me "Add to a Playlist..", which is... weird, can you add a playlist to a playlist? Anyway, there's a "Remove.." as well, let's try that.
The option screen lets me Remove Downloads or Delete from Library. I try Remove Downloads, since this is an album I put in iTunes myself and I don't want to lose it.
This... removes the album from my phone. And keeps the Playlist. There seems to be no way to remove the playlist, and keep the album.
That is, of course, what I want to do. It's an album! It doesn't need to be a playlist!! When I want it, I go to Artists or Albums!!!
This is madness. Does anyone at Apple actually use their own software?
If you are playing an album and choose to save to a playlist, it gives that playlist the same name (and art) as the album. What else would it do? Deleting the playlist does not delete the album, why would it?
I can definitely see your confusion, and I'm sure it could be better-designed. That said, I never have any issues, and playlists are my primary use case for Apple Music.
Why wouldn't they call it "Delete Playlist"? And why does Remove the Downloads remove the underlying album, instead of the correct behavior, which is to remove the playlist from my phone but keep it in the cloud and my other devices?
This is bad no matter how you gloss it.
When would that ever be the behavior that someone wants? Actions on a playlist should be limited to that playlist, this is UX 101 stuff.
I believe the default is not to add songs to your library when adding a playlist, so deleting the playlist removes your view.
I miss Rdio everyday still. I'm nostalgic for it the same way I was for Palm's WebOS. Looked great but felt it never got enough eyes.
Nowaways I'm on Apple Music. Little clunky, but at least the apps are native and not webviews. I expect Apple to improve it over the next 2-3 years though, they've made Photos apps pretty compelling over the years. I don't want to pay for any service that releases a "Mac App" that's just a website with MacOS chrome.
Integration with Echo devices was a nice plus, but we had been gifted a Google Home which does not play Apple Music.
People rave about Spotify, so we took the plunge. It did link with my Google Home and Echo devices.
Everything else was disappointing. The interface was fine, but seemed to not work as well, there were no lyrics and we found many artists just missing.
But the worst was Alexa integration, we would ask for some mainstream song and get some random Muzak cover, no matter how carefully we specified the artist and song.
And CarPlay integration did not allow access to library or song selection.
My discovery playlists started replacing mainstream songs with muzak and there was no way at the time to block an artist or specific songs.
I can only listen to terrible chiptunes of In the hall of the Mountain King so many times.
They maintain a monopoly on that functionality, and therefore when they make decisions that don't align with your desires or expectations, you have no recourse. You can't just use a different app - on your own device - that suits you better.
If they opened this up to third-party apps, we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
So at least Apple provides some kind of API to allow third parties to access your music library. I'm not just sure how extensive that API is.
For example, Marvis Pro exists. Heck, multiple web interfaces to Apple Music exist!
While I am not into Opera, my dad is, and he has an iPhone.. can you share the name of your app, I bet he would be very interested.
Obviously nobody will do this because their whole game is locking people in - but nothing is stopping Apple/Spotify from exposing a dev interface to Apple Music's UI components that would allow essentially the same thing but only with Apple Music as backend provider
Is it music discovery? If so, why is the For You tab 2/3 recently played and favorites?? — I’ve obviously already discovered and liked that music! All the other stuff is below the fold or multiple swipes away.
The fact that all the other tabs are lazy-loaded drives me nuts. Just a completely blank page with a spinner, so I cant even scroll down to where I know I want to navigate until it loads (Super fun on the train with cellular dead zones).
More fun bugs:
- Add next: https://imgur.com/mIOn4I7
- Literally failing at music playback: https://imgur.com/4jCszaz
- Broken layout on smaller phones: https://imgur.com/MVTN1nS
1) It often forgets where I am in a song, or in a playlist. Or which playlist
2) After "upgrading" to iOS 13, all my songs now have "jump forward/backward 30 seconds" buttons instead of "Next/Prev". Wat
3) Sometimes it jumps into the middle of the next song. It's done this for like 5 years, although 13 is the first time to actually realize it's the middle of the song, so I can at least rewind.
4) I sync it to a single iTunes library, and every time I back up my phone, it duplicates any playlist I've used since last time... (probably more an iTunes complaint, which is a dumpster fire and has been since version 1.0)
It's generally gotten worse over the years. The Radio feature used to be awesome (way better than Spotify's), but now it's a paid feature?
I love that you can "Play Next" vs "Play After" in iOS 13, though.
Sure, you can use airplay, but that's more involved than "hey siri". Being able to just use your voice is great when you're cooking or washing the dishes.
Cesium is a great app.
All it took was the ability to manipulate and administer a filesystem - a skill that, it seems, all the major players are hell bent on devolving for all their users.
I taught my kids to use the filesystem. They find stuff faster than any of their peers.
I use this same technique for bookmarks too - if I like a page, I print it to .PDF and put it in the filesystem. 15 years of .PDF-based bookmarks later, I don't need the Internet to find stuff that I've read years ago. Its still right there.
Seriously, kids. The filesystem is your friend. Please stop teaching the users that its hard. Its really not.
I think this is what is meant by a “music library”
In my (arguably limited) experience with Spotify Premium, I can't browse all my songs in my "Library". If I'm missing something in the UI, please let me know; I would love to hear otherwise.
What I really, really miss is hierarchical filtering/navigating. Genre - Artist - Album. Maybe Release Year. Whatever criteria floats my boat. But so far I have not seen one of the big streaming apps do that, and at the moment I am using Spotify, because it most closely aligns to my UX preferences... but of course YMMV.
Just about all of the gripes in TFA were non-issues or avoided with thoughtful design, way back in 2012.
Saying that, lots of people complained about iTunes, especially that it tried do do too much.
Now it does less, and should be more focused on music but I find myself being constantly frustrated with it too.
Spotify UI and UX is so significantly light years better than any other music app on the market. Not perfect, but it should be a model for everyone else. Back when I used it, I even liked how they integrated my personal library.
It's definitely better than non-premium spotify, though. Bandcamp is also a good place to find FLAC-quality files and keep them forever without DRM.
OTOH the lack of a streaming Apple Watch Spotify client is keeping me from getting an Apple Watch :-|
Suggest Less Like This
"Suggest fewer tracks like this" would also be a valid request, the point is that it's an ellipsis either way, so I don't see a problem.
That's before we get into the fact that the 'invalid' "Ten items or less" formulation has been frequent in English for hundreds of years...
I'm currently using Marvis which I really like, but there's also Cs (formerly Cesium), Miximum and Soor which differ quite a bit but are all much nicer than the default Music.app
I also really dislike iTunes on Mac, it's like they stripped out all of the usability.
Now it’s the same flat and empty garbage as every other one of their apps.
Btw if you’re looking for a non-shit podcasts app I highly recommend Overcast.
* I can't easily see the songs that I liked while listening to a station or in general. Spotify saves these under "liked songs" and "liked from radio". going through these later at my leisure and adding them to relevant playlists is much nicer than making me add each song to a playlist as I listen to it.
* there's no good web ui like spotify. beta.music.apple.com has existed for a while but is buggy and randomly stops playing, forcing a refresh. I can't edit playlists other than adding songs to them. I use linux so I would have to use wine, which is not preferable.
* spotify has 5 daily new mixes based on the genres/artists I listened to. apple music has 3 weekly playlists, updated on friday, and one is just a rehash of what I listened to: "Favorites Mix", "Chill Mix", "New Mix". If I can't have daily updates, I'd rather have it update on mondays...
compare those to my spotify mixes: #1: japanese/foreign music. #2: bill evans, cannonball adderly-esque jazz. #3: david bowie and rush. etc.. these are actually compelling based on my mood that day.
* on the music app homepage, the recently added music section takes up way too much space with only 2 album pictures per row.
* when I play a song, album, or playlist, it repeats forever instead of stopping or suggesting similar music like spotify.
* the radio tab is garbage, showing me genres and artists I never listen to. I don't care about "Top 100 songs", as should be evident from the songs I listen to and save. spotify's homepage recommendations always felt they were kinda close or at least attempting to take my preferences into account. apple's recommendations are just whatever is new in the (mainstream) music world, which is almost always irrelevant to me.
* the music app's UX in general is bad, it's quite clunky compared to spotify's app.
* spotify's app detects when you're driving and shows a simplistic interface with huge buttons. all music apps should do this.
* translation of foreign song titles is very annoying when I can speak the language. I understand why apple and youtube do this, but please give us the option to disable it for specific languages or in general. My phone is in Korean anyway.
Positives of the apple music app:
* the lyrics viewer is much better in my opinion. I hardly used this in spotify's app, but I often enable it in apple's app.
* apple's music selection is very good. I only had one instance of not being able to find a song that I had on spotify, and that was a relatively new japanese album.
I keep apple music because my family uses the homepod daily in the kitchen, and my mom is used to the app now on our shared plan. Plus it would be a pain to re-make my playlists again. But if I can find a way to have siri integration with spotify on the homepod, I would switch back in a heartbeat.
I'm disappointed because apple has the money and talent to pull off a really good music app, and they push out something mediocre, as if they don't really care that much. I hate apple's new UX choices in general as they seem to be made for older people with bad vision. (this wouldn't be bad if it were an accessibility option like font size. as it is, having few things take up so much space is annoying.)
1. The Pandora app (at least on Android) will pop up the bright white "today" screen about a minute after I get in my car - with no way to disable it.
2. The Youtube music app doesn't play landscape, and if you full screen it it removes all relevant information and just shows a photo.
3. This is a big one: the Android share functionality is terrible. It tries to give you recent suggestions, but they're always not working. I would prefer to choose a list of share targets and have it just show me them. It's almost never relevant. Most of the time the first result is to text a person I've never talked to in years. I feel like this is a case of "If all you have is a hammer" since it's Google and they're using search to show the result instead of just letting you set the list.
4. Every new OS forgets that people may have more than one monitor - it drives me nuts how we can't get Windows to work on Windows in general. Why can't I save the position I want an app to open at? Why can't I see where it's going to open in a properties window and manually set the position? Why can't I choose what will load on the focused monitor vs. the default, vs. a specific place?
5. Dark mode, dark mode, dark mode (this has been way better lately)
6. Music programs (and in-car systems) seem to handle "random" in different ways - and there's no indication of what type it is. In my current car (a Chevy Sonic) I cannot play all albums random - I can play all songs random, but if I turn off random it will just play the songs in random order. I want to have my music on random, and when I turn it off - I want it to play by Artist, Album Year, Track. Songs in alphabetical order is never what's wanted.
7. Android took away the ability to search for apps directly, you have to go to the search page and scroll down and hope "apps" is there.
8. A lot of mobile apps do not allow you to modify the search you've done. You have to start over. And sometimes you start typing the first word and none of the suggestions are that word alone, you can only select a phrase, but if you do, there's no changing it to what you want. You have to manually type.
I can think of much more. But this was already a rant that was slightly off topic and not asked for,
I'm somewhat comforted to hear that others have similar reactions to music applications. I rarely ever feel myself getting angry over things, but the one thing that gets me feeling uncomfortably heated is thinking about how much worse music apps and streaming services have gotten over the years.
I think I, like many people, have a very emotional connection to music and things that get in the way of that feel like a very personal attack, even though that's not reasonable in any way.
At one point, I think I was signed up to every music stream service and had some issue or another with all of them:
* Google Play Music - nearly ideal, but incredibly buggy once I switched away from Android to iOS, and the fact that it's in perpetual "dying but not dead" frustrates me. I've also moved almost completely away from Google at this point.
* YouTube Music - Takes the worst parts of Spotify and YouTube and puts them together, with no benefit over the app it's replacing.
* Spotify - I find the UI infuriating after a year of trying to switch to Spotify. Every time I try to let go of control and listen to my music the Spotify way, I can feel myself getting more and more frustrated. Additionally, I don't think they understand what a queue is, their implementation of a queue never ceases to surprise and frustrate me. Playing everything by a single artist is difficult to do well, without dragging in a lot of crap, and the "This is $ARTIST" playlists are mostly awful, IMO.
* Tidal - Lacking many basic features, has the same queuing issues as Spotify.
* Deezer - Almost gets queuing correct, but the fact that they always try to add music to your queue when it's empty and the fact that clearing a queue still isn't possible is a non-starter. I know there's a feature to disable auto-play, auto-add music, but on three separate occasions I've tried to turn it off, with support attempting to manually turn it off for me, without it working.
* Rdio - Was almost perfect, but is now dead
* Amazon Music - In terms of conceptual design, works better than most, but I've mostly gotten off of Amazon's services and their app's performance was abysmal last I tried.
* Apple Music - I have many of the same complaints as the author, I just can mostly overlook them as they have a weird queue that I can almost adapt to. It frustrates me once in a while, but it lets me listen to music.
Apple Music is currently my daily driver, but I still have several premium streaming accounts as I _want_ to listen to music and will happily pay for them, just unhappy with the offerings atm.
I'm not contributing a ton to the conversation this late into discussion, just sympathizing with the author that, at least with streaming services, I can very much empathize with someone who can't find a good solution to just play music.