The gateway drug of having music and playlists as simple files on a device like how they were before Apple ever invented the iPod and iTunes* has him in its vice-like grip.
The first music app I can recall using was was Cassady & Greene’s SoundJam MP, which Apple bought in late 2000 and turned into iTunes in January 2001 – after realising they were missing the boat on music. The first iPod was released in Octber 2001. By that time WinAmp et al were well established and there were other portable players on the market.
The iTunes Music Store launched in April 2003 and we tend to forget what a lifesaver that was. The big music companies were obsessed with DRM and some of the ways other companies were doing it were insane. I recall once buying a much-ballyhooed Kylie Minogue track made available in Windows Media format. I had to plod along and download the track – and then go to a completely different page to obtain a licence to use said track!
The iTunes Store made it easy and seamless to buy music downloads, not least because Apple’s FairPlay DRM was painless compared to everything else (except eMusic, which didn’t have any major label music). Eventually, everyone stopped caring about DRM on music downloads. It’s only come back to enable offline play from streaming services.
So that’s the challenge of online – being able to make accurate recommendations of new music that will appeal to people. Whether it’s done by clever algorithms (the red circles) or clever people (Zane Lowe), this is what Apple needs to get right.
And so far, that’s the part it is getting right. It’s just the technical usability that’s borked.
I have read that the discovery elements of Apple Music are very similar to those of Beats Music, which is interesting. Maybe it was worth some of that $3bn.
However, even though they are functional equivalents, they have very different features: you can see what you've listened to on the radio - and add tracks to your library - but can't add tracks from playlists or the playlists themselves to your library. Why?
Odd. I can do both via the "..." menu.
But Apple, why on earth can I not add a playlist to a playlist folder? Why would I have to add a playlist to a playlist?
Pogue has a review of Apple Music and finds fault with the lack of simplicity, but declares: "The good news is that all of this works flawlessly on day one."
Er, no, it doesn't. It does seem that most of the reviews so far have been very superficial.
I've updated the post to note that, on inspection, I've realised that my desktop iTunes is now full of randomly duplicated (even triplicated!) playlists.
I've seen suggestions that having been an iTunes Match customer is part of the problem. Fortunately, I don't seem to have had my matched tracks replaced with DRM-hobbled Apple Music ones, like one poor guy on the internet.
On the Mac, I've established that I can:
1. Click "Add to My Music" on an album in Apple Music.
2. Once back in My Music, select all the tracks and choose the old-fangled "Create playlist from selection".
3. Locate the playlist and drag it up the column into the folder where I actually want it to be.
That's two steps too many.
On my phone, the requirement for iCloud Music Library to be switched on remains an absolute showstopper when it comes to adding to My Music anything I might want to listen to repeatedly. Just can't do it.
And it’s not all streaming either — the native mobile apps for Rdio (and I believe Spotify) let you sync actual song files for offline play, which is a nice halfway house.
Allegedly, Apple Music does that too. Just in a really difficult way.
Buying lossless files from Bleep.com seems quite good right now, if much more expensive.
Hmmm. Bad bug ...
Just playing an album and several times the track progress has caught up with the stream. At which point, the track stops and the player flips to the next track on the list.
Thanks for that clarification. I think your point risks getting lost if you’re trying to compare forced relocation of children and other racist policies to prohibition. There’s a real difference between policies designed to change people’s behaviour and policies designed to wipe out a cultural identity or preserve a social hierarchy.
You'd be surprised. New Zealand's first real drug laws were consciously targeted at immigrant Chinese workers, whose opium use had become a matter of public alarm.
In the US, the story is even starker. Drug laws there were essentially born out of racism – against immigrant Chinese, blacks and Mexicans – and their impact still falls sharply along racial lines.
That’s an interesting point. So it basically means that a Republican candidate needs to express an anti-marriage equality position to win the primaries, but a pro-marriage equality position to win the election?
I suspect that if you sat down and did some reading you could find a dozen issues where the same applies.