After explaining the reasons why I have no intention to jump on the Apple Music bandwagon and instead stick with Spotify, the little feedback I received was kind of ludicrous. A few people wrote me that I was “crazy” for not dropping Spotify and instantly switch to Apple Music like they did; none of them said exactly why I should do so, the only vague criticism towards Spotify being “It’s just a mess” (huh?). I’m happy that for these people Apple Music is working just fine. Perhaps they don’t have a sizeable, meticulously curated iTunes library like I do, and/or they don’t mind iCloud messing it up for them. Music is important to me, and so is my music library: I don’t want the fabled ‘integration’ of Apple Music to screw up all the work I’ve done over the years to keep songs, artists, artwork and all album information tidy and in order.
After reading about the various issues encountered by Kirk McElhearn and others, the other day, after finally catching up with my RSS feeds a bit, I read about the troubles encountered by Jim Dalrymple (Apple Music is a nightmare and I’m done with it and I got my music back. At least most of it) and then I also read Dave Mark’s response, Why I’m not done with Apple Music.
Dave Mark’s attitude towards Apple Music remains positive:
So all this said, why am I still pushing on? Why don’t I make the move to Spotify?
It’s all about potential.
Even with all its blemishes, Apple Music has been a hell of a lot of fun. […]
All of the things I’ve complained about, and all the stuff Jim complained about in his post, are all eminently fixable. More importantly, the building blocks are in place for the next generation of Apple Music to do some incredible things.
Mark is not the only one willing to cut Apple some slack. I’ve heard other people — satisfied enough with Apple Music — sharing this kind of forgiving attitude.
Well, I don’t agree with it. I think people should expect better from Apple. A better service. Better quality, and yes, from day one. Apple has the resources to make it happen. Apple is a bigger company than any other in the music streaming industry. Apple has the advantage of its ecosystem, not to mention the data already accumulated through the Genius algorithm within iTunes. Yet Apple Music feels more rushed, more confusing, feels like a patchwork of different ideas and directions, and it ultimately feels more ‘beta’ than other competing apps and services when these first launched.
If Apple Music were a free service, maybe I’d be more willing to talk about potential, and maybe I’d share Dave Mark’s “Next round, it’s going to get better” attitude. But Apple Music isn’t free. I’m thinking these three months of free trial for the users are also Apple’s way of running the service as a sort of massive ‘public beta’, seeing what kind of issues come up and fixing them before people start paying $10/month for it. However, I simply can’t believe that at least some of these issues weren’t foreseeable and fixable before Apple Music’s launch. The problems with iTunes 12.2, iCloud Music Library, etc., give me the impression that Apple Music’s features have been hurriedly bolted on the already pachydermic, bloated, jack-of-all-trades iTunes app, and shipped without extensive, thorough testing.
Would people be equally forgiving if third-party paid music streaming apps and services caused the same mess Apple Music did for a lot of users? Would they talk of ‘potential’, or things getting better with the next version/iteration? I’m not so sure.
Bugs exist, of course, and I’m not saying Apple should have waited to launch Apple Music until every little bug was eliminated. But again, the kind of problems we’ve seen with iTunes would have been almost excusable had they come from a third-party company. Not from Apple itself — it’s all Apple’s software and services, after all. Not from Apple itself, especially after the unfortunate launch of MobileMe a few years back, or more recently, Ping.
I don’t feel I’m demanding impossible standards from Apple, just pointing out that integration should work better than this; and that testing should be a bit more thorough before launching a paid service, instead of having this sort of public beta testing where users risk having their music libraries compromised in the process. That’s why I’m not so keen on cutting Apple some slack on this. A truly working integration between services and software all coming from the same company isn’t exactly asking for the moon, given that other companies manage to do a better job at it.
- 1. And I really hope, for Apple’s sake, that all major issues will be fixed before people start paying for the service. ↩