Apple’s foray into the world of subscription music streaming got underway earlier this week with the release of Apple Music. An ambitious effort, to say the least, Apple is betting that the allure of on-demand streaming coupled with curated playlists will be enough to attract upwards of 100 million subscribers.
I’ve been using Apple Music heavily since it launched and overall I’ve come away impressed. More than anything, I’ve found that Apple’s curated playlists and music suggestions in general have yielded a goldmine of new and undiscovered artists and songs. Additionally, the app itself, with its ever-changing color schemes, is extremely sleek and polished from an aesthetic point of view.
All that said, I keep running into a frustrating software glitch that, quite frankly, I’m surprised managed to make it into the official release of such a strategic software launch. Apple, after all, did pay $3 billion to acquire Beats.
The problem is this: More often than not, any time I try and add a new track to an existing playlist, there’s about a 30% chance that the song is actually going to be added. Not only have I turned off the “Music Available Offline” toggle, but I’ve tried all sorts of different approaches that only leave me with the impression that it’s all just terribly random.
As a music discovery service, Apple Music is top notch. Not only does it churn out solid suggestions, but it’s also engaging and fun to explore. But that perk is lessened dramatically when there’s no workable way to consistently save songs for later listening. Frustratingly, finding previous tracks I’ve enjoyed often requires me to slog through my listening history since many of the songs I thought I added to various playlists aren’t appearing.
Notably, this is an exasperating experience shared by quite a number of Apple Music users. For instance, there are no shortage of threads on Reddit with titles like, “So why does nothing ever end up in my playlist when I add it :/”
If only we knew.
Now granted, Apple Music is new and there are kinks to work out here, but Apple doesn’t have the luxury to roll with an “almost as good” product here. I’ve been using Spotify for well over a year and have never experienced the type of usability issues I’ve already had to deal with on Apple Music. One can only hope this is just a first-week bug that will soon never rear its ugly head again once these issues are ironed out on the backend.
Remember, Apple isn’t entering a market populated by industry laggards. Spotify is amazing. People love Pandora. YouTube is free. If Apple plans to dominate music streaming, they need an A+ product in every regard. At this stage of the game, it’s hard to say that they’re there when the most basic functionality one expects in a music streaming service isn’t reliable in the slightest.