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Apple Music ended up being par for the course with Apple’s stock apps. While I do think Maps was maligned on the Internet, it isn’t as good as Google Maps. Every stock Apple app isn’t as good as apps developed by third-party companies. Reminders, Maps, Notes, Safari, iTunes, Garage Band, iMovie, etc. are simple and watered-down at best. Some of these apps are just downright buggy. This was the case with Apple Music.
I really wanted to love Apple Music. I tried, but it continually let me down. It was unusable on my iPad 2 for over a month. It would simply freeze. After an update, it was usable again, but very slow. I also have an iPhone 6 and found many of the same problems. It has nothing to do with hardware or processor speed. You shouldn’t need the latest A-series 64-bit processor to play music. Spotify worked just fine on my aging iPad 2. In fact, it even works on my old iPhone 4 running iOS 7. The two deal breakers for me were the inability to find music and audio dropouts.
Finding music with Apple Music ended up being a frustrating experience. I would search for a band that I knew was offered by the service, but just get garbage results. For example, I searched for “Can” (the seminal German “krautrock” band) and got every permutation of “can” except what I was looking for. I knew they were on Apple Music, as I saw them offered on the For You screen. I tapped on the For You screen and spent a few minutes scrolling down until I found them. After several taps, I was actually listening to one of their albums. It took over five minutes to do this. That’s unacceptable. It has happened too many times.
Beyond the lame search functionality, the music is poorly organized. I would drill down into an artist and tap on their albums to discover that many albums were missing. But when I searched for the album, I sometimes found it. This happened with D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles). Their album “Crossover” was not even associated with albums on their artist page. It’s their most popular album.
I’ve experienced this poor organization of music with a few artists. With jazz or fusion, the frustration is even worse. Bruford, Bill Bruford — they’re different people according to Apple Music. Jazz musicians have their own bands and also play in other people’s bands. Apple Music made a mess of this. If you’re not into Taylor Swift, Apple Music gives you a swift kick in the pants. All of their curators seem to have missed the basic organization of music.
I find Spotify’s search functionality to be a bit cluttered, but it just works! I can find anything I want on Spotify in a few seconds. Filtering search results is easy. They seem to have invested in human beings cleaning up the data. This has to be done sometimes. You can’t just load data into a service using automation without reviewing it and cleaning it up. Spotify isn’t perfect, but I have much more success finding albums on an artist’s screen. (continue…)