A month ago today, Apple music was launched to the masses. It has completely revolutionised how people listen and play their music. If you have been following me on any of my social platforms, you will know that I am absolutely obsessed with this new service, but it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Here, I will discuss what has gone right and what has gone wrong with this new streaming service.
So, let’s get right to it. Apple Music launched on June 30th 2015 worldwide. At the time, I praised it for how amazingly easy it was to add music online to your collection and how it interacts well with your current music library. Whereas this is true, it wasn’t all that great all of the time. Within Apple Music, you also get the iCloud Music library which will be replacing the old iTunes Match service. What this did was to match or upload your whole collection of music with songs already on Apple’s servers. It was great because it meant you would never lose your songs again if they ever got deleted, as you could just re-download them from Apple. It did have it’s fair share of bugs though, especially for large libraries. I like to edit all of my metadata on my mp3s, so that all of the artwork, album data, ratings etc are all up to date. When iTunes Match was enabled, it used to overwrite this meta data to what it was on their servers, which properly sucked big time. I decided to ditch iTunes Match a couple of years ago and went with the old fashioned way of having my mp3s on a Cloud drive, in this case it was Google Drive, which has all of my library stored up there in the cloud.
When Apple music launched, and thus, the new iCloud Music Library was launched, it did the old trick of replacing everything in my library with their sucky (sorry it was!) metadata. Needless to say, I was annoyed. Thousands of ratings and album data just wiped away without a trace. For many days, I spent my time trying to re-adjust this to the way it was, but it was a long drawn out process. I was happy though when Apple released an iTunes update to fix this on the 12th July. It put everything back to the way it was and so this whole library mess drama was over, phew. It still does this with libraries on your iOS devices though, we’ll come on to that later.
So I was happy, everything was running perfectly again, and I could add music from online in to my own collection and then be able to edit all of the metadata again to the way I wanted it to look. You see, I like my library to look very clean and simple, and I hate tags such as (Radio Edit) or (Deluxe Version) all over my library. Spotify (Apple Music’s biggest competitor) used to be well known for having these stupid tags all over the place and it made it look an absolute mess in my eyes. This comes on to my next point on how amazing Apple Music is, it lets you edit all of the metadata of the songs that are online but are in your collection. How amazing is that? I have talked about this many times, I scrobble what I listen to up to a site called Last.FM. My biggest bug bare with Spotify was all of those annoying tags, which made my charts and listening history look all over the place. Now, you have the ability to make it all look streamlined by editing the metadata to how you want it. No more of those annoying Deluxe Versions!
I sound ever so slightly OCD, I know. I have my tendencies, but it’s just the way I like things. It gives the power back to the user which I think anybody would ask for really.
So yeah, iOS devices. Apple still haven’t fixed how this works to be honest. If you sync a big library to your iPhone for example, and have iCloud Music library turned on, be prepared for all of your album and song data to be over-written. It is very annoying, and I am still hoping that Apple will release a patch to fix this very soon. Years and Years (who are also a band) has gone in to me setting up my library and how it all works, with smart playlists ticking along nicely so that every sync prepares a new batch of songs to listen to. I am happy with the way it works, but it seems Apple wants to ruin this or make it harder for you. There should be the ability to have iCloud Music library turned on but not even touching anything in your own library, just the music online and ready to stream.
In all fairness though, this is a brand new service. It is going to take time for it to be absolutely right, and I know this. The reason I am writing this blog is mainly to praise it as it is a great service, and I love how it has completely changed how people get hold of new music. A conversation I was having with a friend the other day, where there was a particular album that she liked and streamed online, but didn’t know that you could just simply now add that to your library to forever play on demand. They thought that they would still need to buy the said album to listen to it time and time again, but I put them right. It is going to completely change how people get hold of music from now on, and whether it’s good or bad, it’s happening. It has changed how I get hold of new music too, like now, I will listen to whole albums before I decide on whether I want to hear more of it and will add my favourite songs to my collection. Of course, all of the streams are also contributing to the modern pop charts too, which is even better.
What are your views on Apple Music? Have you had similar problems setting it up? Is there anything you think could be done differently? Get in touch as I would love to hear your views.
Until next time, happy listening!