Hiltmon

On walkabout in life and technology

Why I Subscribed to Apple Music

Just over 3 months ago, Apple released Apple Music and I signed up for the free trial as we all did. My expectation was that I would play with it for a few days, get over it and never use it again. I expected the same experience I got from Spotify and Pandora before and I never subscribed to them. I expected the same old same old and no reason to use it.

I did not expect to actually pay for it or even want to pay for it.

Five days ago, I happily paid and will do so from now on.

Here are the main reasons why.

The Human Curated Playlists

These are magnificent. They contain the best mixes created by people who know, live and understand music, and have led, time and time again, to me discovering artists and music I had never heard of before.

In fact, 90% of the time, I find myself listening to one of these mixes. I launch the Music app, scroll to one that looks interesting (and there are lots of these) and start playing. When it ends, I find another, and another, and another. Three months later, and I am still finding more. I am often surprised by what comes up next in a mix.

With Pandora and Spotify, I found the mixes to be boring, generic and pedestrian, when they were not purely amateur. Having been a reasonable mixtape maker myself in the good old days of cassette tapes and big hair, a mix needs to tell a story, have a mood, comfort and surprise the listener at the same time. Apple Music mixes have this heart, Pandora and Spotify’s don’t.

Apple Music has a plethora of human created playlists containing magnificent music melding old favorites and new artists in thoughtful, expert, moving ways.

Access to high-quality Everything

I have not been a music buyer for quite a while (excluding the few albums I picked up on iTunes). I do have a massive 500+ CD collection taking up space in boxes below my bed. I ripped them - quite badly - years ago and have listened to these rips for years.

I think I stopped buying music in general because

  • I stopped listening to the radio and therefore stopped discovering new music.
  • The music I do hear seems so generic, the same songs by the same few artists over and over again. We used to call it the Stock Aitken Waterman effect back in my day, where everything seemed to be bubblegum pop.
  • I’m getting older and according to the research, we stop keeping up.
  • I now live in a small apartment in New York, there’s no space for a music collection or a large sound system.
  • And lets be fair, there’s no need to own music anymore when you can stream it anytime anywhere.

My collection of terrible rips has been replaced by instant, anywhere access to Apple’s high quality versions of the same songs I know and love. And when I do discover a new talent, I can listen immediately to their high-quality albums. No need to remember their name, go to the record store and hope to buy their good album.

Apple Music provides full access to the entire record store anytime anywhere.

No Ads or Interruptions, Easy to Use

My wife listens to Pandora all day. When the music is on, things are pleasant. Then an extra-loud ad comes up next. It destroys the mood. I have always found that to be a problem with radio too. Which is why I used to listen to student radio stations.

Apple Music is music and nothing else. No ads, no interruptions, no mood breakers. Yes, I know about Beats 1, and it contains talk and ads and all the usual radio interruptions. I do not care for nor listen to Beats 1.

The user interface also works for me. It’s not perfect, but Spotify and Pandora’s are so horrible. We both find it difficult to work through the mountains of data, the long scrolling lists and the awful search on the alternate platforms. I find it easy to scan Apple Music to find what I want to listen to.

Apple Music is all about the music, not the show or fighting the user experience.

Subscribed

That’s why I subscribed. Great mixes, full access to quality recordings, no interruptions and easy access, anywhere, anytime.

And with that, my current mix just ended. Oooh, that one looks interesting. Gotta go, pressing play…

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