July 24, 2015

Should I Get Apple Music? Yes. A Review of Apple’s Latest Music Update

Apple Music review Bigfish

I’m not usually one to lean on music streaming services. I’m sort of an old fashioned type who still likes to buy CDs, records, and DVDs. I like owning things and being able to hold them in my hands. When I digitally download music, I do so in iTunes. To me it just didn’t seem real or official enough to use a streaming service – I wanted to own my favorite songs. But then I downloaded Apple Music onto my phone with the new iOS 8.4 update, and the way I discover and devour music forever changed.

Apple Music is going to blow Spotify, Soundcloud, Pandora and Tidal out of the modern music scene. That’s a bold statement, but with Apple Music, there is no reason for any of the other services to stick around on your iPhone. Unlike other services, Apple Music comes pre-loaded on all Apple products automatically. Apps come and go like style trends. People don’t use them forever (remember Angry Birds?), but Apple products definitely aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. You couldn’t delete Apple Music off of an iPhone if you wanted to, and that’s as permanent as it gets these days. Apple Music is readily available on iOS 8.4, OS X El Capitan, PC on the latest version of iTunes, watchOS, and will even be available for download on Android devices this fall. When the new icon appears on your screen, I hope you at least give it a shot.
Here’s what I like about Apple Music:
“All the music you already have. And all the music you could ever want.” Right now, I am using the free three-month trial of Apple Music, which allows you to save up to 10,000 songs offline as if you were paying the $9.99/month fee. The moment you press “+” on a song or album, it is added into your library along with all of your previously purchased songs. It is so neat and pristine, with no divide between tracks from CDs and the iTunes Store or saved from Apple Music. I was always annoyed to have some music on Spotify, and some on iTunes – all over the place. Now there is no way to tell the difference.
Siri Integration: Remember the scene in the movie Her when Joaquin Phoenix’s character says to his OS, “Play melancholy song”, and it does? It seemed funny and possible in a not-so-distant future sort of way, and now it is here. You can ask Siri to play anything you can think of, and you don’t have to own it for her to find the track and play it for you. Say “Play the top songs from 2002”, or, “Play more songs like this”. It will.
For You: Setting up your Apple Music also feels uncannily similar to the operating system setup in Her, as if you’re setting yourself up to meet your soulmate. You are presented with many circles, each containing different music genres, and are asked to press and hold on ones you want to delete, and tap genres you love and want to keep. Then comes another round of deleting and saving circles, but this time with suggested musicians. This part was exciting for me as I enlarged Coldplay and Lana Del Rey and felt myself building up my musical personality.
The Playlists and Radio: As a part of the For You section, Apple will present to you custom playlists put together by music experts from Pitchfork and Rolling Stone. These playlists aren’t as long as the ones on Spotify, which is the only thing I dislike here, but they’re specific to my likes so they’re often more accurate, and I don’t have to scroll through several pages looking for a good mix. Similar to Soundcloud and Spotify, you can make your own playlists public as well. There is also a global 24 hour radio station for the ultimate randomization of music discovery. And whenever you’re listening to a song you like, you can start a new radio station off of it, similar to Pandora and Spotify’s platforms.
Connect: Connect also comes with a social media aspect in which users can follow artists and access exclusive content like pictures, lyrics and news updates. The setup works a little like Instagram, and while it’s not the most important part of the platform, it is certainly interesting and easy to keep up to date with your favorite musicians.
The store is still there. The iTunes store is still there for anyone who wants to put a ring on it and officially purchase an album or song. This is necessary if you’re looking to burn a CD or export a track, because that cannot be done with tracks saved on Apple Music, even if saved offline.
The only thing I dislike about this update with Apple Music is that mysteriously my Top 25 Most Played playlist has been wiped out and restarted. I know this is a petty complaint, but that was a playlist that was years in the making and I’m pretty sad to see it gone!
Though Apple Music is a compilation of borrowed ideas and features from other music streaming services, it’s convenient to have all your music in one place, and to have it all programmed right into your operating system makes the most sense. The layout is sleek, bright, and feels very official, and I’m one convert of many who suggests you check out the new white music icon on your device. Plus, Taylor Swift is on it, so take that, Spotify.
Have you tried Apple Music yet? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter!

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