After using Apple Music for almost a month now, I feel comfortable giving my full review on the streaming service. While far from perfect, Apple's intro to the streaming music world does have some bright spots but also feels far behind some of the competition. I've used other streaming like Spotify and Rdio so lets see how Apple Music stacks up against these services.
After selecting some of my favorite artist when signing up and using the Apple Music, the "For You" section has been a pleasant surprise. It's given me some great recommendations to artists and playlists while also reminding me of some classic albums that I have not listened to in a while. Recommendations are logical and it seems they have really dug deep to find what artists are related to each other. The "For You" section feels very natural and not like an algorithm serving you nonsense.
Playlists are by far the best part of Apple Music. They really nailed it with the curation and recommendation system. Again, Apple Curated playlists seems very natural and less machine made. The team behind the playlists seemed to really understand the music culture behind many genres. You can sense that in many of the themed based playlists. The "intro to" and "deep cuts" playlists are fantastic for getting into artists you've never heard.
Searching With Siri
This is another fantastic feature especially when driving. Not too much to say here but the convenience of using Siri to play albums is a huge benefit of the service since you cannot do it with any other service on iOS at the moment.
The Bad...Well REALLY Bad
While the look seems to fit right in with Apple's latest OS refreshes, navigating the app has quite the learning curve. Apple music is integrated into the Music app where all your downloaded files live. I feel the streaming service would have benefited from having an app of its own to avoid any confusion of what is yours and what is streaming. For people like myself that left the world of syncing music with iTunes years ago, I never have the need to search my own music since I no longer have it anymore. They really tried to stuff too much into the Music app on iOS and don't even get me started on iTunes. That could be an entirely separate post (which I may do one day) of what a wasteland iTunes has become.
Now for some people Beats1 may be a fantastic alternative to traditional radio. For the few times I gave it try, nothing interested me. Listening to radio is something I've avoided for over a decade now, Beats1 is not something that will bring it back. Listening to a good curated playlist is much more intriguing. There's also been many complaints of Beats1 not having a schedule to refer to. Seems like if they're going to do live shows, there should be a schedule so people can tune into their favorite shows.
There's also been many complaints of Beats1 not having a schedule to refer to. Seems like if they're going to do live shows, there should be a schedule so people can tune into their favorite shows.
A reader on Reddit pointed out there actually is a schedule that I was not aware of.
Is it too early to call? Do we have our new Ping? This does not seem like a viable social integration for Apple Music. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr all do a much better job and have a more vibrant community. I follow a few artists to see what it was like. Updates are few and far between. Much less than the competing social networks. Artists just don't want another thing to post to, especially when that other thing does not bring anything new to the table.
If you're new to the streaming world and have a nice iTunes library you'd like to integrate with a streaming service, Apple Music is probably your only choice. While the service works, it feels like a beta. If they actually called it that, I think I would be less harsh on the new features and look/feel but they said this is there 1.0. For now, I'm planning to stick to Spotify for all my streaming needs.
On a related note, I don't feel that Jimmy Iovine is the savior to music many people were touting him to be. This entry seems less like moving forward in the way people consume music and more like trying to hang onto the old iTunes model as long as possible. They could have really shook up the music world with a great offering but could not let go of old world music habits.