Apple Music is falling behind Spotify in the music streaming wars. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been using Apple Music since the day it was released in 2015, but after almost six years of its launch, I don’t think I can defend Apple for not correcting some flaws or adding features users really want.
Before 2015, I used to rip my CDs to my iPhone or buy them on the iTunes Store. When Apple Music launched, I deleted all the albums I previously owned just to get a fresh start with the streaming service. Before Apple’s service launched, I didn’t even consider using Spotify or paying a monthly subscription to have all the songs I’d like to hear, but there I was subscribing to Apple Music and listening to all my favorite songs on-demand.
It wasn’t an easy start. Without reason Apple Music just deleted all my songs sometimes. Then, with every major iOS update, the streaming service almost completely change. Apple was still figuring things out. Remember Connect? I don’t know why that existed, but I was there liking and commenting on the posts of my favorite artists.
With time, Apple Music improved and added some of the most requested features from users: a Replay mix of the year, the ability to listen to Apple on a web page, share a song on Instagram Stories, but there’s so much left to be done.
What Spotify has that Apple Music doesn’t, and I wish it did
Music is what brings people together and I don’t know how Apple couldn’t create a way to make Apple Music feel more personalized and at the same time shareable. I know we can set up a profile, add friends, and also see what they’re listening to, but it’s not enough.
First, Apple needs to make these features more powerful. On the “Listen Now” page, you can see what your friends listen to, but you don’t know when they did it. An hour ago? Last week? Now? This is one of Spotify’s feature that attracts me the most.
I’d like to know what my friends are listening to at that moment and what they’re discovering. It helps to engage in a conversation, find similar tastes, or just get to know a new artist.
Another thing that I would love to have is the ability to edit a playlist with someone else. Prepare a party playlist with my friends, share a playlist with my girlfriend with songs that remind us of each other, and so on.
Finally, Apple Music should also add a private mode. I know I just said that I would love to share what I listen to and see what my friends are discovering, but it would be awesome if sometimes I could just listen to the sounds of rain or other content, and not have it count on my reproductions.
Bugs that bother me and HiFi
I don’t know what’s happening to Apple Music, but it has trouble finding certain covers of popular artists. I’ll give two examples: Taylor Swift is launching a remade version of her album Fearless. It has a new cover, but for whatever reason, Apple Music gives me the cover from the original Fearless album. And it’s been weeks. The same happens with the Deluxe version of Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia.
I deleted the song, the album, downloaded it all over again, and nothing happens. Sometimes, the cover is right on the Discover tab, but not while I’m playing it.
Have you also noticed this? Every time a famous artist or band is releasing a new album, it always takes a while for me to be able to find it on Apple Music because the app says it’s not available. I don’t know if it’s a Brazilian thing where the servers need a moment, but all my friends on Spotify can listen to an album as soon as it launches.
Now, HiFi. We need to talk about a better audio quality experience. Spotify is launching a new subscription tier just for people who desire the best possible quality. With mobile devices reaching 512GB of storage and 5G networks rolling out, I don’t think anyone will complain if a song uses more data than the average.
On the streaming quality, Apple Music is superior to Spotify but with a new HiFi tier launching in 2021, this could change. Apple Music has its own Digital Master, which should mean you can listen to a much better sound quality without paying more for it. But if it’s really what happens, why doesn’t Apple promote this feature on AM? If you want to know if a song has a Digital Master version, you have to search for it on the iTunes Store. Weird, right?
Now with the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, Apple sells some really nice headphones, but it seems like you can’t take full advantage of them. Is the company planning for a HiFi version of its service?
I am not here to tell you I’m switching to Spotify or that I don’t think Apple Music is worth the price. I do think it is, as I thought it was six years ago, but Apple needs to address these features and bug fixes to keep pace with Spotify.
Apple could lose even on the podcast area. An analyst said that the competitor streaming service is about to surpass Apple podcast listeners in the U.S., which means Spotify must been doing something right.
Apple needs to better communicate with its audience. A revamped “Listen Now” and “Browse” tab, promoting personal profiles, and shareable playlists, could help Apple Music feel fresh.
In the end, it’s all about shareable experiences and Spotify knows best. Its wrapped playlist for the year is 100% shareable with great insights. Apple, on the other hand, shows me what I have listened to, how many hours, and how many artists, but it was not designed to be shared online or with friends.
What do you think about Apple Music? Does it need new features? Tell us in the comment section down below.
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