The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple Music is now bigger than Spotify with 28 million subscribers. If that’s true, it doesn’t surprise me. Apple has a considerable advantage in that it is baked into iOS, works with Siri, and just more convenient for iPhone owners.
I thought it would be a good time to check in on Apple Music since I haven’t written much about it since it initially launched. We've enjoyed a family subscription ($15/month) since launch. Everyone in my family loves music and, oddly, we all listen to different kinds of music. As a result, we have downloaded a lot more music than we would have if we were paying for tracks and we are getting our money’s worth on Apple Music.
I haven’t used Spotify, but I know its users are big fans of the recommendations. I don’t feel the same rabid love for Apple Music recommendations that my Spotify-wielding friends profess. Still, the suggestions are good. No longer does it throw artists at me from my kids’ playlists. (Sorry Hannah Montana.) The recommended playlists are a good assortment of artists I already love, artists I’d like to hear more, and artists I’ve never heard of before but are nevertheless in my wheelhouse. I like Apple’s recommended playlists and their A-Lists, where I’ve found several new interesting artists. I also like the easy ability to share tracks, as I’ve often done here.
While the user interface has improved over the years, there is still room for improvement. For instance, the buttons across the bottom of the music app are too opinionated. I’ve never listened to Beats 1 and don’t use radio stations. Nonetheless, some of the most valuable real estate in the user interface is taken up with a Radio button. Those buttons should be customizable.
By far, my favorite Apple Music feature is the depth of the catalog. I’ll frequently think of some obscure album and, more often than not, have it playing in minutes. Just a few weeks ago I woke up with an old Chuck Mangione song, Carousel, in my head. The song was recorded in 1975 and the last time I heard it had to be in the 70’s. Nevertheless, Apple Music had Carousel playing throughout my house in minutes.