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Google Play Music offers decent quality. It’s not as stable as Spotify, but it’s more reliable than Apple Music. I do get the occasional audio dropout. Usually, this is Apple’s fault, because it tends to happen with AirPlay. Apple overhauled AirPlay a few years ago, and the technology on the new Apple TV is simply defective. It appears that there is no buffer, so any movement which interrupts the WiFi signal will cause a dropout. If I walk in between my WiFi router and Apple TV, I will often get a dropout. I’m almost tempted to setup my old Apple TV 2, which had flawless AirPlay functionality. Some interruptions in Google Play Music are result of data center issues, and that’s not Apple’s fault. Overall, the majority of audio dropouts are due to AirPlay. I can only hope AirPlay 2 fixes this, but I am worried that they will break it even more. The Apple TV team has a long history of introducing regressive defects and not fixing them.
Beyond audio dropouts, Apple Music is notorious for deleting songs from iTunes libraries. I never integrated Apple TV with my iTunes library. After much silence, Apple finally admitted to the defect. Apple Music also had some rather serious UI defects. Adding a song to a playlist would add it three times. Songs would disappear from playlists. It seems as though the summer interns created Apple Music. It’s really that bad.
Searching for Music: Google Play Music Wins
It should come as no surprise that Google Play Music offers much better search capabilities than Apple’s music subscription service. Searching Google Play Music is fast and accurate. It remembers past searches, for convenient access. I usually type in one or two characters and find exactly what I am looking for. It just works.
With Apple Music, searching doesn’t always work. During my trial, I searched for the seminal German band “Can” and found everything but them — “can’t” and related terms. I knew they had their music, because I saw it recommended on the For You screen. So I went to that screen and scrolled endlessly until I found it. Searching for an artist and album also didn’t work. I searched for Ornette Coleman’s “Shape of Jazz to Come” and it couldn’t find it. I had to search for the artist and drill down into the albums. Apple Music’s search capabilities are so defective, it’s hard to imagine this could get past Quality Assurance. This isn’t rocket science. There’s simply no excuse for such egregious defects in an app developed by the largest company on the planet. If you’re into pop music, the search functionality may be adequate.
Discovering Music: Tie
Music discovery allows listeners to broaden their horizons. Based on listening patterns, a music app can offer recommendations. Both Apple Music and Google Play Music offer decent music discovery capabilities. They both have home screens with recommendations and artist-based radio stations. Both services allow users to browse related artists. next page →