As a long-time Apple user, I’ll usually try their products at some point. I’ve been using Apple music for a couple of months now and I have to say, it’s kind of terrible. There are so many things wrong with this service that I find myself going back to my old archive of music sitting on my Synology because the service just doesn’t live up to the hype.
The only time I find myself using Apple Music these days is when someone recommends a particular artist or album to me. If I know exactly what I want then It’s not so bad. Otherwise, it’s a complete crapshoot.
1. It’s Slow
The interface, search, loading is all slower than loading a JPEG on a 28.8k modem. Trying to search for any kind of artist is like searching on a dial-up connection. No matter which country I’ve tried the search from its just always slow.
Search doesn’t seem to be able to do something as simple as searching for an artist after I have just searched for the artist. Half the time when I search for a popular artist, it doesn’t return any results. Then I search again and it’ll return the artist I was looking for.
For an example, today I wanted to listen to Post Malones latest album Hollywoods Bleeding without ads so I decided I’d load it up in the Music app on my laptop. It took 3 searches before it could even find the artist and then I had to click through and wait for it to stream.
iOS is no better
The mobile experience is even worse because you have no idea if it’s actually searching for something or just hung. The one bonus for the iOS app and experience is that it does load much faster than the desktop experience. Even though I’m on a 150mbps fibre connection at my house. My over subscribed 4G network seems to fair better.
2. User Experience is trash
iTunes rebranded to the Music app has never had the best interface and if you have a larger catalogue of music, its ability to search locally was just awful.
I’m not sure who was the design lead on the Apple Music interface but they need to go back to school. The display and layout is just downright trash.
The screen below is the search results for Post Malone. It’s got duplicate results all over the place. If you want to play the album, it has a tiny play icon in the bottom left.
Once you hit play, if you navigate away from the album view, I haven’t figured out how to return to the album to switch songs or anything. So I end up searching for the album again The iOs app navigation is ok once you find something you’re looking for.
3. Music discovery?
I’ve had the same ‘For You’ options for the last 3 months with absolutely nothing has changed. If I search for a new artist and start listening to it, I might see something on that page but it’s not guaranteed and it usually disappears after a little while.
Related artists? What’s that? If I load an artist I should be able to see other users, friends recommendations as well as computational recommendations. Nothing.
I’ve tried the radio section and its like commercial radio and just awful. I got some good recommendations for shows and have them loaded up but all the shows on the radio ‘home page’ is the worst content humankind has ever products. It’s also not related to ANYTHING that I have in my existing library.
Apple has been tracking how many times I listen to all my local library for years but somehow they are completely incapable of scanning my library, my play counts, times of days and produce a half-decent list of recommendations. Hell, even I could write a music discovery system better than Apple Music has produced.
This is possibly the most half-assed music system I have ever had the displeasure of using. If you know exactly what you’re after and want to listen to a specific artist or album than Apple Music could work for you. The quality of the tracks are nice but that’s the only positive things I have to say about Apple Music.
Apple, if you’re reading you need to hire some smart people that are better at music discovery. Maybe you can buy Pandora and integrate its learning systems because yours SUCK.