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iOS 13's Music App Sucks (samuelstevens.me)
284 points by samstevens on Jan 29, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 256 comments



I have an Apple Music subscription and use Apple Music (the app) daily.

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.


Author here; I agree that I'm not considering other users in my rants. I'm not a designer, and don't have solutions that would help everyone that Apple is targeting with this product.

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 agree with you on most points. For me, the most annoying is that the new version freezes a lot and it silently transcodes your ALAC to some lossy format.


> 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.

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.


You're using an Apple product - Apple is known for their tailored and single-path UX that they don't simply expect their users to love, they also don't care when they don't.

I'm not saying your complaints aren't valid or warranted - they're just not relevant to Apple unless their designers agree with you.


Apple does care about customer feedback, but by and large, they're not looking for it on HN or in random blogs. If you want to reach out to them, you can do so here: https://www.apple.com/feedback/


The feedback actually goes directly to the engineers that work with the product you are leaving feedback for. It works, I swear!


"We cannot respond to you personally [...] we will contact you directly."


Here's what I found:

> 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.


that particular feature the author talks about has been around since the ipod era. then again, stripping previously ubiquitous functionality has been apple's m/o in the later half of this decade.


At the same time, the UX has gotten dramatically worse for people who do manage their own music libraries as well. The entire UI has been restructured around music discovery... which is appropriate for Apple Music, but really gets in the way when trying to find a specific album or track (e.g., I need to click through about three screens just to get to the album list, and there's no way to set the default). It's trying to do too many things at the same time.


> …really gets in the way when trying to find a specific album or track…

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.


When I select Search box I want it to default to Apple's search rather than my collection. For me that has been a pain point. Clearly from your case, various users respond differently to features.


It will default to whichever you used last, and it's a single tap to switch. I'm not sure how it could be better designed. Two different search buttons seems like a bad idea. Ignoring your last-used to always focus on Apple's preferred option seems like a bad idea.

Last-used with a single tap to switch seems ideal to me.


Yeah, Apple Music is optimized for people with large music libraries where search is the only reasonable path especially on a small screen.


If you don't want the Apple Music stuff, you can go to Settings -> Music -> Show Apple Music and turn it off.

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.


Yeah, as an Apple Music user with no iTunes history, I'd say that the mobile app - like most of iOS - is a bit confusing at first but generally pleasant to use once you acclimate.

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.


I may be one of the few people using Apple Music on Android, but unfortunately that app is incredibly buggy too. If you're connected to WiFi but not connected to the internet, it takes 60 seconds after you hit play for a song to actually start. Presumably there's some network call that takes 60 seconds to timeout, but it's really frustrating to make the UI nonresponsive in the meantime.


The Mac Apple Music app is just rebranded iTunes with a lot of the kitchen-sink stuff removed. It even has the weird modal preference window that none of Apple’s other applications have.


I don't understand how putting personal music libraries into a "downloaded music" ghetto ticks any more than the bare minimum requirement of 'bringing them along'.

My personal music collection should be front and center.


The library management (with and without Apple Music), digital locker, and queue system are the three core features I can't move to another music app-slash-service. And I've tried all of them, many, many times. I especially find Spotify infuriating, the library is so completely unusable they might as well remove it and turn the app into a giant search box.


Spotify’s “stack-like” music queue is the most infuriating thing ever; god forbid I want to skip backwards and hear some songs again...


The worst feature about spotify is searching for a song to play, and then getting only songs with similar names until you do something else.


Why did Apple have to sacrifice the old Music app, that was designed around a traditional library of files, to make the Apple Music app?

It used to be that an iPhone was also an iPod. An iPhone now, especially with Apple Music, is nowhere close to that experience.


> Apple's customers have plowed tons of $$$ to "own" their libraries, and Apple is doing the right thing to bring them along.

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.


>all the legacy that a) personal libraries

Since when did a personal library become legacy?


My nieces are mid-teens. They had CDs played to them for lullabies and the like when they were little. By the time they were old enough to want to play their own music, it came in the form of YouTube or streaming.

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.


>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 the three of them, one.

Between their ability to wheedle devices out of their parents, every goddamned device.


Since, oh, 2006? That's when Spotify launched.

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.


What if you don't do streaming? Then your personal library is not legacy, is it?


Think about this in another context: my company still supports a Legacy product, as well as an entirely-new product. We actually call the older product "Legacy" when talking to customers. If those customers have never used the "new" product, is it still 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."


By this definition, my life is legacy.


I just want the old app back.


Yeah I'd literally pay $20 to have the iOS 7 or 6 music app.


You are aware that there are several alternative music app replacements that focus on local libraries? Cs Music Player is probably the most popular one of them: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/cs-music-player/id924491991


Yes, was a Cesium user for years, but 3rd party apps don't let you search the Apple music store unfortunately.


As someone who worked on Google Play Music for many years, I'd like to point out that a lot of the UX criticisms here are really just personal preferences, and those preferences are based in very large part on the way you listen to music. Some people are "lean back" listeners who just want to put on a radio station of music they like and not fiddle with it. Others are expert curators who have tens of thousands of tracks in their personal collections. Some are all about their personal custom playlists, and don't care about music libraries or radio stations at all.

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.


> It is pretty much impossible to build a music UX that optimizes for all three of these user types

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.[0]

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."

[0]: https://github.com/MarshallOfSound/Google-Play-Music-Desktop...


There are third-party music players for iOS that hook into Apple Music -- Soor and Marvis, for instance -- and take different approaches to their UX. (Disclaimer: I haven't used them and can't speak to their particular advantages and disadvantages; while I don't love the iOS 13 music player, I can deal with it, and I routinely use features like "Radio" and "For You" that the original poster was complaining about.)

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.


Google Play Music happens to be absolutely perfect for my usage (including the ability to upload my own tracks AND stream them). I'm extremely annoyed they are killing it off as I've tried everything else and it just doesn't work for me. The replacement YouTube Music is... abysmal. Well IMO anyway.

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.


You could have different clients for different kinds of users. But then you would almost certainly have users complaining that they need more than one client to do what they want.


This would still (often) be strictly better than having those same users complain that there are no clients that do what they want.

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.


Apple does have a public API for Apple Music [1], as does Spotify [2]. In fact, I frequently use a 3rd party client [3] that's all about curated music leveraging the Spotify API to stream the tracks.

[1] https://developer.apple.com/documentation/applemusicapi

[2] https://developer.spotify.com/documentation/web-api/

[3] https://noonpacific.com


I can't speak to Apple (I'm on Android), but I did look into 3rd-party clients for Spotify at one point and my impression was that the web API only allowed you to get information about songs, and remote-control the official client. The advice I saw online was LibSpotify was basically dead and that Spotify was probably going the same direction as Twitter: more locked down, more onerous developer TOS, fewer capabilities.

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[0], but as far as I can see it's still pretty limited.

[0]: https://developer.spotify.com/documentation/web-playback-sdk...


And then people would complain that there were 1200 apps in the app store that did the same thing, and most of them badly.


And those people can just be safely ignored. I get that people get annoyed at needing to sift through a lot of options, but the way to solve that is by having more curated lists, rankings, and recommendations.

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.


>he way to solve that is by having more curated lists, rankings, and recommendations.

Yeah, sure, then we only need a few meta-rankings to know which of those we actually need to pay attention to.


Yes? I'm guessing you're being sarcastic with your comment, but lists of lists genuinely scale quite well. You can be as meta as you want, and in fact the more meta you get, the easier it becomes to filter out choices for people who are paralyzed by having too many options.

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 have a rule of thumb I tell my friends when they ask me questions of the form "X is so lame, why can't GPM just do Y?". The answer, almost always, boils down to laws, regulations, and contracts. This is one of those times.


Exactly.

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.


Can we all agree that the "now playing" screen is objectively worse. I had to google how to set repeat and shuffle. (You have to "scroll up" from the bottom. Not swipe, but a scroll like motion.

I studied Human Computer Interaction and interfaces in college . It's hidden and unintuitive for no good reason.


I’m a Google Play customer who is trying out Apple Music right now. There are many things I love. Obviously the seamless interaction with other Apple properties (e.g. CarKit) is great. I prefer the feedback that lets me know about the status of my song downloads, over against Google’s. I like Apple’s library and something about the way the base experience works feels more natural to me.

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.


Yes x100. Or press the 3 dots. Finding the repeat function is unnecessary testing. Each time.


What surprises me most about your post is that someone actually worked on Google Play Music for multiple years. Doing what?

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.


I used to use Google Play Music but switched to Apple Music after they announced they were shutting it down. I tried switching to Youtube Music, but the UI was easily the worst out of any music service I've tried. Last time I used it the first few rows on your home screen were suggested music video's, which is not at all what I come to for a music app for. Maybe most people use music app's differently then me, but I think someone made a mistake by prioritizing Youtube Music over Google Play Music.


I worked on GPM prior to the youtube merge, and for a short time after. We did a lot of things: when I first started there it didn't offer streaming subscriptions at all, or radio, or....


It may be abandonware, but it works well, and has very few bugs. I hope it stays abandoned in its current state for a long time.


I've been using play music since it came out and I pay for youtube red or w,e it's currently branded. I can't deny that the reason I chose it is still valid: I can upload my music and stream it. I have obscure stuff that is not in any licensed streaming service and it's nice to be able to pull it up on any computer.

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.


Sadly it’s my understanding that they plan to shut down google play music completely in favor of YouTube music at some point this year (at least according to a friend-of-a-friend who works on it). It’s already quite buggy and frustrating, but I still use it mainly because I am on the grandfathered $8/month plan and also get ad-free YouTube included.

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.


Maybe it’s better now. But for years basic playlist functionality on google music was buggy for me (randomly reordering songs and some other issues I have forgotten). Also no Linux app. Finally swapped to Spotify and never looked back. But I really miss being able to upload my old music.


It’s been many years since I’ve used Spotify but I remember they had the ability to add your own custom music to your library. Is that no longer the case?


You can still play songs locally on Spotify, but what it lacks compared to GPM is the ability to upload songs and listen to them on another device.


I assume you're using it on Android and not on iOS. The Android client was actually really lovely from a UX perspective, even if I had some complaints about general functionality GPM was missing. When I switched to iOS this past year I immediately ditched GPM for Spotify because the interface was unintuitive and clunky and I haven't looked back.


Well one form of music being added to it is gone now that they nuked the artist portal thing.


> What surprises me most about your post is that someone actually worked on Google Play Music for multiple years. Doing what?

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.


Something in common between both the modern "music" app from apple and google music app (android) is both try to push streaming services and there's no way to disable or block that.

Making them both VERY unsuitable to a device where a child has access.


Go to iOS Settings -> Music. The first toggle is literally "Show Apple Music", which instantly disables all "streaming services" features, while keeping the sync-your-own-library-and-playlists-over-iCloud if you're a iTunes Match subscriber.


I've never had it stick. Not interested in any of their subscription services... not in anyone's.

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)


Try foobar2000 on iOS. It should do what you’re after.


Besides upselling incentivizing clutter, what's annoying is Apple feels the need to completely redesign the iTunes UI every year.


Good points. It may be worth allowing power users to choose which one of those archetypes they are via some advanced option somewhere, and that option controls which flavour of UI you get.


Apple Music, and particularly iTunes Match, are the opposite of "just works". I wanted to switch back from Spotify, but I found that Match had made a complete mess of my library. Half of my album art gone. Albums were striped with some tracks that were replaced with the iTunes store versions, and some left as my uploaded MP3 V0 versions (most obvious because, even with Sound Check on, the volume levels between each track differ greatly post-iTunes Match).

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.


Are you referring to the standalone $25/year iTunes Match subscription?

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.


I still remember when Bono showed up on my iPhone and refused to leave.


Odd trick: if you have HQ MP3s, and you want them to get “matched” instead of “uploaded”, transcode them to iTunes Plus (256kpbs constrained-VBR max quality AAC) format. iTunes will then be far more likely to get a fingerprint match, for some reason.


Yeah. I cleaned up my library recently. I think I had about four copies in various directories and wanted to get back to a single carnival copy. Whether for Match or other reasons a decent chunk of ripped music was missing. Not enough to just chuck the whole thing and restart from scratch. But enough to waste a day or so of my time.


I have both Apple Music and Spotify, and i also dislike Apple's Music app;

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.


> Spotify's user interface is so much better, i can't understand how anyone would prefer Apple Music.

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 [1].

[1] https://community.spotify.com/t5/Closed-Ideas/Queue-length-i...


You could also set an alarm in iOS, using the sleep timer function, to stop whatever is currently playing [1].

1. https://www.idownloadblog.com/2014/08/07/how-to-set-timer-st...


Spotify has better discovery and recommendations, that's for sure.

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.


> The killer feature for me is that Apple Music makes it seamless to add local mp3s into my library

Yea i agree, that's the only reason i still use Apple Music next to Spotify, since some albums are not available in Spotify.


Spotify kinda sucks too imo. I tap on "Your Library" then "Artists," I see Lil Uzi Vert, "Choose artists," and a list of 'recommended artists based on the songs you like' of whom I have local files listed in no particular order at all. Moving over to albums, I have Kanye West's "Graduation" and "ye" listed twice, both saved, both the exact same explicit versions. Search is polluted by user playlists full of junk with the exact same name of whatever search terms you've tried. "listen on other devices" just doesn't hook to my blutooth speaker for me, even though it's listed and turned on. The UI is lazy in areas. Pull up the full playback window and you will see three dots in the top right, hiding 4 functions, three of which are already in front of you in the full playback window. It could just replaced with an 'add to playlist' button since that's the only utility in this menu, but then we wouldn't have to tap twice...

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.


Don't forget the mundane detail of "I have no idea what Apple did with my 60GB music library or how to get it on my phone again".

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 had one of those really nice 100GB music libraries that I had been ripping from CDs since 1998. (and Napster/WinMX/Kazaa/Limewire-ing because... I was young, stupid and poor) I had meticulously been fixing ID3 tags, and putting them into the folder structure that made me happy. Then one day, I did a new Mac setup, and forgot to tick the box that said, "let me manage my library layout" and BAM. iTunes moved everything around. 10 years of collating, and sorting, etc, GONE. It's my fault for not backing it up... but wow. I basically just stopped listening to that library. I now do Spotify.


Surely that music library is important and cost you money? Why would you give your money to another service to listen to the same music again, that you already own?

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).


Unless I'm mistaken, they're not talking about some cloud/streaming service, just exposing their music folder to iTunes.app so that iTunes can give them a GUI over it (like search/sorting).

Without the checkbox, iTunes employs its own local folder organization strategy and will update id3 tags and album art from fingerprint lookups.


This is correct. For quite awhile after I ticked that box, and "lost" everything. (I still had all the files, they were just put together in an awkward way. I could use iTunes to create playlists that mimicked my preferences... but that took a lot of time) Once I started using Spotify, it just made sense. Yes there's a ton of overlap in music that I own (some I don't "own" as I had snagged it from the napsters of the day) and what I listen to on Spotify. But, there's also quite a bit more that I never owned... or is brand new to me.


Because it's a lot less work to spend $10 a month than to manually re-categorize tens of thousands of mp3s?

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.


The more frustrating problem, is that when I moved across country, I threw out my CD collection. A huge box full. I will always regret not just packing it with everything else. My thinking at the time was, "when am I ever going to put a disc in a CD-player ever again. I have all the 192~ish VBR rips!"


> I now do Spotify.

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.


I’ve recently moved away from Spotify and back to my own music library. I’m using beets[1] to manage my messy metadata and it does a pretty good job. You can probably tell it to leave your metadata alone and just sort things into folders for you.

[1] https://beets.readthedocs.io/en/stable/


Even Apple's sorting did weird things though. I have an artist folder and then 3 folders underneath that one with the same album. Sometimes I have multiple artist folders. It's just a big mess. I do have an old 300GB drive with an earlier iteration of my music library on it. Sometimes I consider plugging that in and augmenting it. At least the folder structure was more palatable.


Same here!

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...

http://www.jthink.net/jaikoz/


Spotify kept removing what I listen to so it got canned pretty quick.


That is really annoying, but I bet it's not spotify per-se, but the music's copyright owners wishes.


It's a good thing those wishes can't delete MP3s.


In many ways I agree with you.

As you have paid for a license to listen to that music in that specific format, that should be 100% irrevocable.


That’s not relevant.


Dunno if it'll work perfectly, but if you have the music on your PC you may be able to use the VLC app for iOS [1]. I use it for streaming movies / tv / music on my NAS but I think it can do some sort of PC sync.

[1]: https://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-ios.html


My wife has been fighting with iTunes screwing up her music library for years. It's a constant pain point for her.


My problem with Spotify: some bands aren't there.


While I can cope with the UI, what really drives me nuts are actual bugs. Sometimes, albums are split into two parts. Sometimes, songs are randomly missing. When downloading music, sometimes it takes forever or just doesn’t download at all. My most favorite one: when I plug the phone into my car, in 1/2 cases it stops playback (even from another app) and starts playing a random song. It’s always the same. And it’s a good song. But it is something different. Imagine you get into your car at 6am listening to a podcast and suddenly Metallica starts screaming at you.


> Sometimes, albums are split into two parts. Sometimes, songs are randomly missing.

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.


Honestly you can say this about just about all Apple software now. Their quality has absolutely tanked.

I also enjoy the "play random song when plug into car" feature :)


That album splitting bug has been around for years and I don't know if they'll ever fix it. It's particularly infuriating because when you look at one half the album in your library there's a button to see the whole album in Apple Music's library, and when you click on it it shows that the entire album is downloaded anyways. So the system has the information it needs to group them as one but refuses to do so.

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.)


Been there. Some remixed version from a compilation replaced the original. Constant source of great pleasure.


This happens because:

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.


And that happens in the very moment when I plug in my phone? And even if, why that song? It’s not the first one. It’s neither the last one. And it’s always that one. I haven’t even downloaded it and streaming over mobile data is disabled.


There used to be an option to let Siri "help" you play the right music at the right time, which I foolishly enabled because I thought it might make things better. It would do things like suddenly revert to something I'd been playing days before, because Friday night I was in the car and playing it, so Monday morning when I got into the car again, I must want to play that again, right? Once I figured out that was why my phone kept jumping around to seemingly-arbitrary things, I turned it off, and now my phone plays whatever I was last playing 99.9% of the time.

I don't know where that option is, or maybe it's gone with iOS 13. It was annoying.


I feel like Music.app is a pair of similar apps squished together, when they share no common frontend functionality and work far better apart:

• 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?


Well, for one possible answer: I personally don't want "music that I have added to my library by ripping or buying digital files of" and "music that I have added to my library by clicking 'favorite' in a streaming music service" to be separate libraries. "Okay, I want to listen to a song or two from the most recent album by The Black Keys, so I'll go to this app, but now I'd like to listen to ELO's Greatest Hits, so I'll go to that app." I just want to say "I would like to listen to my music."


That's nice if you actually subscribe to Apple Music. As it stands, searching your library in Music.app returns results from Apple Music, with ~3 extra taps required to see the results from your own library, and often the inability to even navigate to a result in your own library if it matches the name of a title that's been delicensed from Apple Music.


Did you try turning off Apple Music in Settings? I just did that, and all mention of Apple Music goes away from the Music app, including in the search results.


Was looking for this comment.

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.


While I agree iOS 13’s Music.app is pretty shoddy in many respects, there’s plenty of alternatives other than Spotify that might better fit their requirements. (Marvis Pro, Soor, etc.)

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...


Good page, I agree that Marvis is really excellent and is probably the single best reason to subscribe to Apple Music. It has a level of customisability kind of reminiscent of foobar2000, which is unusual for iOS apps, and at the same time it's the most visually smooth and polished of the lot (I also tried them all :)


While you're here, every time I try to load that page my browser (Firefox on Android) hangs with most of the page rendered, and then Android crashes. It's not my adblocker (uBO in default deny mode, still happens with it disabled), but I haven't yet nailed down what it is. Maybe some default flag I've switched, e.g. to disable notifications or block autoplay video?


Whoa, that's bad. I don't currently have an Android device to test with, but I will get an emulator set up this weekend to see if I can reproduce and fix whatever's causing this. Thanks so much for letting me know about this, I really appreciate it!


This looks incredible! I've bookmarked this to check out later, but as an immediate question: do any of these support Apple Music/Spotify as a backend for downloading music? I'd prefer to stick with a monthly subscription for access to all music if at all possible.

Edit: also, you have an incredibly pretty website.


Some support acting as a client for Apple Music, including Marvis. The API is quite comprehensive, they can do most stuff the official app can do, including libary curation and discovery stuff. One exception is downloading songs in advance (you can add new music to your library, but not download it to your device; however if you go back to the Apple app to kick off the downloads, the downloaded songs are played through the 3rd party app after that). If you just add to your library and stream, you wouldn't need to do that.


Thanks for the kind words, Sam :) Unfortunately, I don't believe there's any third-party offering on iOS that supports downloading music within the app from Apple Music or Spotify, I'm fairly certain you'd need to kick off downloads from the first-party player itself. If any folks here are aware of a third-party player that does support this, I'd be interested to know as well.


Your page is amazing! I love that you made small videos for all players, it really helps to see how the app works


He's completely right about Apple Music and it's been bad since long before iOS 13. The navigation is incredibly difficult to understand. I get very frustrated about why I have to both tell Apple I love something and put it in my library before their algorithms are smart enough to figure out that maybe I like that band / song and they should find related music. The Spotify discovery algorithms are better in every way.

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?


That doesn’t make sense, the cash back could just be cash. It doesn’t make those services magically free.


Except there's a cycle - you get 3% back on Apple purchases. Notice I said "free" with air quotes - sure, you are spending money, but you are also being rewarded for staying in the Apple walled garden. So back to my point - why pay $9-$15/mo for Spotify when if you play the game, Apple has a "good enough" product and is incentivizing you monetarily to the point that their services become "included" rather than a separate line item in your monthly budget. Maybe it doesn't matter to you, but to a wide swath in middle America it does.


That still doesn’t make sense. You could use the cash back on a Spotify subscription just the same.

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).


Exactly. You can use CASH back for any further credit card purchase, including a Spotify subscription for that matter. Wouldn't call Spotify "free" though.


> Except that I already pay for Apple Music, I don’t use these tabs, and I’m considering leaving Apple Music for Spotify

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)).


If you disable Apple Music, what happens to the tabs? Do you only have Library and Search?

And $10 for unlimited music ($5 because I'm a student) is unbeatable. I just wish the app was better.


Library, Radio, Search


I wouldn't say unbeatable by any stretch, considering that's pretty much the standard price for that.


Not the perfect solution, but it helps... Thanks!


> Stop ranting and do it. Vote with your wallet. Your $10 tells Apple that everything is fine.

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.


"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"

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.


This is nothing but confirmation bias, because the random bloggers who write about it can in no way accurately represent Apple's userbase. Android bloggers bash Apple and retreat to their OS the same as you claim Apple ones do.


I was considering making a blog post comparing the design of the "golden age" of iOS versus now. I see someone already beat me to that and am grateful for it.

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.


My main beef with Music as it currently stands is that the Now Playing tab is just a tiny phone-sized thing that refuses to fill the screen of my tablet. I wanna plug that thing into the stereo, play music, and SEE THE ALBUM ART like it’s 1986 and I’ve got the LP jacket sitting in front of the turntable.

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.


Is it possible that some un-learning needs to be done here? I know some people who cannot get over Winamp, hate everything that is not like Winamp.

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.


We just have different music listening processes. My process used to be supported (browsing my Library by Artist, Album, Genre, etc.) and got pushed to the side to support a process more like yours (Radio, Apple's curated mood playlists, etc.). I wish Apple's designers didn't limit my process in order to make room for other peoples'.


I still browse my library by artist, album, and genre. All I have to do is press the library tab, and the app seems to remember its position so I don’t even have to do that. This doesn’t outrage me and I don’t understand the complaint.


So did 12, 11, ... 7, when they stopped allowing to sort songs and albums, which worked in 6. Things got much worse once they added Apple Music, it's been a ridiculously painful minesweeper game not to sign up. I buy most of my music on bandcamp, and upload the mp3s through iTunes. As long as that works, I will never subscribe, so stop forcing me...


This article really struck a nerve with me. I've been going around trying to explain to people that the experience of listening to music has got progressively worse over the last 20 years.

* 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.


> First things first, why do I get a tab bar with 5 icons, and I only ever use 2 of them? I don’t care about “For You”, “Browse” and I certainly don’t give a rat’s ass about ”Radio”.

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.


Actually the radio is the biggest gripe I have with Spotify. They globally aggregate everything you've ever liked, so if you have tastes in multiple genres it's basically impossible to get your indie rock stations to stop playing EG trance or house music without also telling Spotify that no you actually don't like the dance music you also play sometimes.

The curated playlists are much better mainly because their radio algorithms are absolutely terrible.


How do you start the radio? If you start it from a song of the genre you want to listen to now, or a playlist containing mostly that genre, it won't mix in random stuff you've liked before. I get very nice mood/genre radios just by starting them from some song I liked currently.


Usually from a song or playlist, and no matter where I've started it it will start mixing stuff in that isn't remotely similar. Unless it's trance or house.


You expected a page entitled "iOS 13's Music App Sucks" to be objective, of all things?


Not completely objective, but to have at least well-reasoned arguments, yes.


A subsequent sentence mentioned no longer being able to customize the tab bar, which was his real complaint.


Except he can disable Apple Music in settings, eliminating the tabs he hates.


It would be prudent to not be judgemental off of one sentence, particularly because the author was discussing something else.

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 [0] and spotify's homepage [1]. 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).

[0]: https://i.imgur.com/Pa6PKdM.jpg

[1]: https://i.imgur.com/DRCSOw5.jpg


I'm looking at the radio tab in Apple Music right now, and it is not exactly what you're describing. The first row is shows from Beats 1, which might be what you mean, but the next row is "Recently Played" radio stations, which will include both stations you start from songs/albums (a la Spotify) as well as any of the dozens of Apple Music's genre-based radio stations: mine currently has "Chill" (ambient electronica, "Classical Holiday" (Christmas), "1990s Rock" (self-explanatory), and "The Rippingtons" (based on that jazz group). The next sections include other shows, broadcast radio like NPR and CBS News, snd radio by genre.

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).


Ah I was on the wrong tab, not sure what the middle one is called in English. Not that it makes a huge difference, as the radio tab is also pretty useless. It does show recent stations that I listened to, but also a whole bunch of irrelevant stuff that, again, doesn't appear to take any of my preferences into account.

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.


I've seen a couple of rants about Apple software here on HN the last few days. It's important to remember that Apple has never been very good at software services.

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.


> Their hardware was compelling enough that people just suffered through their software because they had to.

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”.


Apple makes bad internet software. It’s ok at software that runs without any services but anything that requires internet access is a disaster.

Even their “good” software is only good if you use exactly how Apple wants.


I would argue that iMessage is excellent. At no point have I wanted to use any of the alternatives in the many years of using it.

In any case, calling any of their services a disaster is disingenuous to begin with.


> I would argue that iMessage is excellent.

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.


What you’re describing is no longer iMessage and I would still say it works pretty well given the archaic technology involved. I don’t think contacting people on Signal via WhatsApp works too well either.

How does Google’s offering handle this situation better?


iMessage suffers from the same interoperability problems that most Apple software does -- they don't really consider use cases that don't involve Apple.

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.


What exactly is your issue with iMessage? Messages on iOS also automatically adjust to the participants' capabilities. Have you used iMessage recently? It degrades quite well. You can't backfill functionality that doesn't exist on SMS.


I use iMessage every day. Most of my friends are on iMessage. Most of my family too.

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.


I said software services, not software. Every example you cited was their software, not their services.

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.


I noticed that, which is why I quoted what I did. You only have to “suffer” the software that is required to be run on the hardware because you don’t have a choice. For software services, you are free to choose from the market offerings whether you are on Apple hardware or not. 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.


> For software services, you are free to choose from the market offerings whether you are on Apple hardware or not

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.


This article prompted me to clean up my playlists, which have been 'append only' for quite a few years, and wow. What a disaster.

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?


Yes, you can add a playlist to a playlist. I do it frequently.

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.


Remove the Downloads removes the corresponding album, so I'm not inclined to find out if Delete from Library does the same thing.

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.


If I click Remove the Downloads on a playlist that isn't based on an album, is it going to remove those individual tracks from my phone?

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.


That depends on what you've chosen for the setting related to that. If you 'Add songs to library when adding playlist,' then no, the songs/albums remain. Otherwise, the playlist is your only view to that music, and so removing it removes your only view.

I believe the default is not to add songs to your library when adding a playlist, so deleting the playlist removes your view.


Anyone remember Rdio? It was such a beautifully designed app. It's wild that Spotify and Apple failed to learn anything from them. Granted, Rdio did go bankrupt, but I think that had more to do with record label negotiations, and less with their app design. But who knows.


Pandora bought them (I think?) and never really took advantage of their design focus.

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.


Ironically, I used Rdio while working in engineering at Apple, and miss it too.


We have used Apple Music for over a year, and it works great for our use case “I want to listen to song by such and such” — with kids you do a lot of repeat plays.

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.


The Muzak issue is what actually caused me to switch from Spotify to Apple Music.

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.


The elephant in the room here is that Apple forces you to use the Music app to manage/navigate/enjoy the music you have locally on your phone (I'm 90% sure I'm right about this).

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.


That doesn't sound correct to me. But when I go to privacy settings on my iPhone I see plenty of apps having been authorized by me to access my local music library. For example Google Maps has this permission, so that I can begin playback or change playlists right within a Maps navigation.

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.


Thanks for clarifying, I didn't know this.


Any app can save documents to local storage. As an example, I've 90GB of Spotify music on my phone, as I told it to download the entire "Liked songs" playlist. Google Play Music and YouTube Music also download to the phone. So no, you aren't forced to use Apple Music. You can even change Siri to use Spotify as a default in limited circumstances. It's not an iOS restriction the way independent browser implementations are restricted or how you can't set a default Mail app or Web Browser. There isn't even an iTunes app for syncing any more, so it's hard to argue that Apple has a giant advantage over third-parties ... except in how Apple gets a 30% cut of in-app subscriptions from third-parties, of course. And how asking Siri "What song is this?" always takes you to iTunes to buy it.


I'm 100% sure you're wrong about this.

For example, Marvis Pro exists. Heck, multiple web interfaces to Apple Music exist!


Yes it was demonstrated that I was wrong, I tried to edit my comment but it was too late, so I added a reply to indicate it, and thanked the 4-5 people who came before you to indicate this as well. :-)

my bad.


I missed that. Sorry for piling on.


No, this is not correct. I sell an App that lets you play music that is stored locally on your phone. Before you rush to get it though: it is restricted to Operas. It also lets you play cloud music in your library if you subscribe to iTunes Match.


Thank you for clarifying that. I didn't realize this was possible.

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.


I should add, thou, that there is no way for a 3rd party app to support downloading your own iTunes library tracks from the cloud. You have to use Apple's music app to do that.


I can't update my post anymore but I'll say that I am wrong in the above post. I appreciate everyone's constructive comments that educated me.


Apple, Spotify, etc. (or a third-party) need to agree on a standard format for a users music library so that we can switch between UIs more easily - separate the UI from the actual music provider, allow more niche UIs

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


Rdio was amazing. I use Apple Music now (family plan) but I would pay probably $25/month to have Rdio back. Rdio had the best features for following other people who had similar interests to me and seeing what they were currently listening to. It was amazing. And it was an experience using Rdio. I would be in the app during my work day quite a lot seeing what music there was to discover. Music discovery was never better. I want Rdio back!


It makes me sad that Pandora never expanded the social features within their platform. It has never been easy, or even always possible, to just share a song with another Pandora user.


That app has gotten worse and worse every year. I get that they need to cater to Apple Music subscribers: fine. Why can't there be a setting to turn off all the Apple Music stuff for nonsubscribers? And for people like myself that really really hate the app, why lock down the APIs to make third party music apps shit as well? It's just so frustrating, the music app really has been terrible since somewhere around iOS 8.


I have both Spotify and Apple Music but somehow the Spotify interface to me seems just simple enough that I can play what I want and the interface gets out of the way. With Apple it’s almost like they want you to listen to what they want you to listen and not what you want to listen to. This is what basically companies trying to push their content do over what content you prefer and it almost always ends up in bad interfaces.


The Music.app has been one of my biggest pain points in all of iOS. Apple has always been opinionated about their software designs, but I can’t seem to make sense of the stance taken when they made the music player.

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


My complaints, with a library primarily MP3's:

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.


Apple Music and Google Play, both applications made by managers hungry and desperate to generate profits but very unconcerned about the usability of the apps themselves. The sad thing is that you can't make apps that compete with Apple Music or Google Play. I would have already paid 100 dollars for a well made Winamp for me.


Cesium is a competitor/replacement for on-device library playback on iOS. Spotify competes for streaming. Not clear what you mean by "can't make apps that compete".


Spotify can't compete on the apple homepod, which is a huge (primary?) selling point for apple music.

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.


I've been using the Neutron media player app for years now. It allows you to play most file formats (including opus), supports navigation by files, and allows you to upload files via FTP to bypass iTunes. It's also one of those rare applications these days where nearly everything is configurable.


This looks quite nice, thanks for the recommendation.


After years of misery trying to just have a plain old music collection, fighting Apple all the way, I've built myself .. a plain old music collection. Just a filesystem with all my music, collected over the decades, carefully organised by hand.

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 don't use Apple Music, but Spotify, so I am a little confused about the idea that Spotify does not have a library, or "the concept of a library". I mainly use Sptify via their library, and only rarely use curated playlists or anything like that. Am I missing something here?


Can I rip my own CDs and import them into Spotify or am I limited to the music provided by the Spotify streaming service?

I think this is what is meant by a “music library”


Yes, this feature has been available for a while. You must have a Premium subscription to do it on mobile, though.

https://support.spotify.com/us/using_spotify/features/listen...


Cool! This feature was not available when I last used Spotify, which was admittedly years ago.


I don't know the current state and never used it much, but you can specify local folders with music that it will play, but it doesn't upload tracks to the cloud, and I'm not sure how well it works with search.


Yes, if you do this on the desktop app they'll transfer to your phone's local storage over wifi. It's so much easier than trying to figure out how to get music onto an iPhone the Apple way.


Apple Music (especially when coming from iTunes) has a very tight concept of a "Library". If you add an album to your library, all the songs are also in your library. If you add a playlist, you have the option to add all the songs to your 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.


I kind of miss the feature that I can upload local files to Spotify (I can, but it is not as seamlessly integrated as I want), but when I "like" an album on Spotify, it is added to my library. I think that the individual songs are not added in the Songs tab. This is a bit different maybe, but in a way, it also keeps that list uncluttered. That might be the problem? So you have the song in your library, you just have to navigate to it via the album.

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.


I guess after clicking on "Your Library" he isn't switching to the "Artists" or "Albums" tabs. Then again, I don't know what it looks like when you're not a subscriber. The Spotify app doesn't "see" your music in your iTunes library, perhaps that is the complaint?


Yeah, I came here to say this. If you want to access all the songs you've ever liked or added to a playlist or saved then you literally press the "Your Library" button at the bottom of the screen and you can sort by playlist, artist, or album. The author is totally ignorant of this fact.


I still lament the demise of Rdio - it truly did have the best UX of all the streaming players. How unfortunate that they couldn't make the business work!

Just about all of the gripes in TFA were non-issues or avoided with thoughtful design, way back in 2012.


It's busted so thoroughly I switched to Google Music instead, in spite of its cringeworthy and inconsistent UI. One thing that's particularly bad is search. It's not even difficult to do it well in this space, but for as long as lemmings keep paying, there's no incentive for Apple to give a shit. They unconditionally give a shit about hardware as a company. Software is like "meh, it looks pretty but other than that we don't have to care". Hairforce One needs to do his job. At the kooky prices you're charging you should be sweating every single detail throughout the entire stack, silicon to pixels.


Because the UX suffers from UI design that is driven by marketing. UI design should be driven by a passion to create the best UX, but that's almost impossible in this $$$ world..


What drives me crazy is that at some point music app stopped recognizing my artworks in interpret view. They all have generic icons despite I have them all filled out in iTunes :(


I have (discounted) subscriptions to both Apple Music and Spotify. Apple Music wins for integration with personal libraries; Spotify's approach to local file handling is a kludge and I listen to a lot of music that's not available on either platform. Spotify wins for their recommendation system and continuity; I haven't found AM's recommendations to be as good and it's still boggling how hard Apple pushes Continuity in everything but music.


Personally I have moved away from Apple for music. I found the apps on both Mac and mobile get worse and worse. Things that were easy such as using AirTunes got much harder to use. I uploaded my music collection to google and use a combination of that and Amazon music. I find myself wanting to create a playlist for my Apple watch for jogging and putting it off as I dont want to deal with iTunes.


An alternative that I found pretty pleasant — but once I got an Apple Music subscription, a bit unnecessary — is an app called Cs Music by Mike Clay. He has a new app in pre-order status called SongOwl that might prove to be better than Cs Music, but I haven’t seen much of it. I bought Cs Music to get a landscape view music player again, but I’ve since just accepted that most people use portrait mode these days.


I find that it works quite well. This is definitely more of a "rant" than anything else of a user that doesn't like where things are going.


I'm struggling to see how to add songs to a playlist for my iPod - ok its old (2007 ipod nano), but I love it, so I guess I'll struggle on.

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.


I no longer use Spotify, instead going for Amazon HD because the sound is so much better, that being said...

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.


Spotify premium has 320kbp/s as an option. You are not going to hear any difference from that versus FLAC/ALAC/PCM audio. This has been debunked to death many, many times over.

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.


My problems with IOS music app are 1) full-text search is bad - often can't find what exists 2) it is slow - For You tabs take forever to load even on fast WIFI/LTE connections 3) navigation is not convenient - I like playlists and it takes a few taps to reach them.


Another reason I've stayed with Spotify: scrobbling. AFAIK Apple Music clients don't have native support for last.fm scrobbling and the third-party solutions I've read have big flaws.

OTOH the lack of a streaming Apple Watch Spotify client is keeping me from getting an Apple Watch :-|


One of the context menus mentioned in the article says:

  Suggest Less Like This
I presume Apple mean "Suggest Fewer Like This"? "Suggest Less Like This" means you have some dissatisfaction in the manner Apple used to suggest these songs.


Frequency isn't countable, so I'd parse that sentence as "Suggest tracks like this less often".

"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...


Suggest Less Music Like This works just fine.


The one thing I wish they improved was being able to scroll through my playlists using an index on the right (like in the Contacts app). Right now, there are limited sorting options but all of them require considerable scrolling. Also, the cells are huge for some reason.


Try the dumpster fire that is CarPlay Music - for example, get to a complete album from a song in your library, if the entire album isn't in your library. Virtually impossible without going on a verbal text adventure with 50% Siri misfires.


I recommend trying some alternative apps.

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 hate that when I select a song from an album, all of the songs are queued up. Even though I just want to listen to a single track.

I also really dislike iTunes on Mac, it's like they stripped out all of the usability.


The podcast app is trash too


Lest we forget, the OG Apple podcast app had a tape reel prior to the iOS 7 redesign: https://9to5mac.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2013/04/podco...


At least the app used to have a personality and an unique design language.

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.


Agreed. I find the Overcast app to be quite nice. I've been using that for 2+ years with few complaints.


I really don't like overcast : ( I've tried to switch several times, especially since the podcast redesign and I just can't.


Give Pocket Casts a try: https://www.pocketcasts.com/


Thanks for the recommendation, this is actually quite nice.


Yeah, Overcast is extremely weirdly designed in some places - the "Unplayed" tab contains played content for example.


Yeah basically the same stuff i dislike about the 'Listen now' and other weird modes.


This made me look for an alternative, and I found Castro, which I love! The UI is miles better!

https://castro.fm/


I worry about the file sync more than the music part. New one I can sync or Copy file fine. Now you can copy but never when it finished.


The music app is also really slow to boot up. Ten years ago it was automatic. Just a huge performance regression.


I have suspicions the new app is a web app just like parts of iTunes are web apps.


I had suspected it was Swift but your idea makes more sense.


Some annoying things about apple music:

* 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[0] 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.)

[0]: https://beta.music.apple.com


The severe lack of options for customizing interfaces in any computer system really infuriates me. I understand that too many options can lead to a basic user configuring an application in a way that would cause them to call tech support because it makes the program unusable, but I find most software for day-to-day purposes (playing music being a perfect example) infuriating. Here are some examples:

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,


Spotify rules. It's great seeing a company not a part of the big 5 just dominate them all in this space. At least until they get purchased...


apple music has a horrific UI that makes zero sense.


> which makes me irrationally unhappy

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.


I'm just glad the author did try spotify because they're trash too.


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