Apple Music – Stuff We Love, and Stuff We Hate

Tushar Kanwar tries to put things in perspective, if you are looking to subscribe to Apple Music. 

Tech News
3 min read
Apple Music (Photo: Apple)

Apple’s pretty good at disrupting digital media – it’s not like the first MP3 player was made in Cupertino, or the first digital song was sold by Apple.

With the iPod and the iTunes Music Store though, Apple has proved that doing it right is better than doing it first.

So you’d think Apple’s got this business down pat, right?

Yet, with Apple Music, its much-hyped music streaming service, we’re not so sure if Apple’s bang on the money.

Sure, there’s stuff we’ve grown to love about Apple Music since its launch, but it’s not without its fair share of hair-pulling frustration!

Stuff We Love

Apple Music (Photo: Apple)
Apple Music (Photo: Apple)

Killer Pricing

Apple’s traditionally premium priced their offerings in India, but as with the iTunes Music album pricing, Apple Music sees a drastic cut for India, with incredibly reasonably priced plans (Rs 120/month for individuals, and Rs 190/month for a 6-member-family membership, not to mention the first 3 months free).

Compared to the US $9.99/14.99 pricing, Apple Music in India is practically a steal.

Sure, pricing is similar to what the competition (Rdio, Gaana) offers, but since when has that guided Apple pricing? With its vast international catalogue, Apple has as good a shot as ever of attacking the music piracy problem.

Human Playlists

Start listening to Apple Music, and within a few days, you start wondering if the recommendation service is borderline psychic – the automatic suggestions are really very good.

Add to that, the playlists curated by Apple employees and content partners like Rolling Stone, the results are so good that they often feel like been created by people who have the same tastes in music as you do, even if you lean towards relatively Indie music.

Beats 1

Apple Music’s secret sauce is Beats 1 – a worldwide 24x7 radio station delivered simultaneously to mobile devices in 100 countries.

Hosted by Zane Lowe in LA, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London, these RJs conduct interviews and play music across diverse genres that straddle between both mainstream and Indie bands.

Perfect for radio-loving folks who just want someone else to do the hard work of picking the music they listen to. Yes, exactly like FM radio, but via the Internet.

Stuff We Hate

Apple Music (Photo: Apple)
Apple Music (Photo: Apple)


Let’s face it – iTunes is the Windows Vista of media management (no wait, Windows ME is more appropriate, but younger readers may miss the reference).

If you want to use Apple Music on the Mac/PC, there’s no web view like Saavn or Rdio.

You have to use the horribly bloated iTunes app, and there’s no reason why you should have to put up with iTunes for a streaming music service. Still bad enough, some of us have to use it with our iPhones.

Buggy Beginnings

When veteran Apple users like Jim Dalrymple have issues that they have to take to Apple to resolve, you know there’s a problem.

Granted, Apple Music is a hugely ambitious effort, but Apple Maps-level horror stories just shouldn’t happen in final-version software or they should just slap a Beta label on it.

Songs not appearing in playlists, hiccups with turning on the iCloud Music Library (which allows you to sync content across devices), not to mention unintuitive interfaces and enough rough edges in the software – if Apple Music was to serve as proof that Apple has learned from its experience with iCloud, it doesn’t do much to inspire confidence.

Limited Indian Music

Here’s the lowdown – if you listen to a lot of regional music, you’re often going to come up empty-handed with Apple Music, even if you can find the track on the iTunes Music Store.

For live radio too, you’re limited to a few Bollywood and Tamil stations, but that’s about it.

We’re guessing Apple’s still inking streaming deals with local music labels, but if the situation doesn’t improve beyond the initial 3-month free trial, it’s going to be hard for most listeners to justify paying for a subscription.

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