Exploring Apple Music

GGinMP

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,122
I've always wanted to own my music, so I bought vinyl, CD's, and some digital music. I finally caved in and decided to "rent" music through iTunes. I've an Apple iMac, iPhone and iPad, which is why I thought I'd go with Apple vs other streaming services.

I've got to say that it's been fun. Although I've got a half dozen Bowie albums, I decided to listen to each studio release in order, and I've found some deeper cuts that are quite cool. It's also nice to hear the overall sound and feel of each album and period of time.

The Trojan Soulful Reggae box set wasn't available, but otherwise almost everything I've wanted to hear has been there.

Do you stream? With what company? Why?
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,725
I also do the Apple Music subscription, because they don't have a free option.
 

Release

Member
Messages
1,513
I use Spotify Premium. I used it for years before Apple got into the game and I like the user interface MUCH better. Add in the Daily Mix, Release Radar, and Discovery and it pushes the usability (for me) miles above Apple. I tried the free trial with Apple and as much as I wanted to like it (because I've been a Mac user for 20 years), I just don't like the way Apple Music is organized. Can't stand the white interface either, too distracting for me. Maybe the fixed some things but when I tried it it was the week it came out and it was just an absolute cluster**** in terms of navigation. Maybe I'm just used to Spotify, but for how I use it, its definitely the best.
 
Last edited:
Messages
844
I use the free version of Spotify a lot at work. Its great for exploring music I read about and want to hear. Ultimately though, if I really like something I listen to there, I end up buying the CD. I'm old fashioned and like to own a hard copy.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,088
I've got Apple Music and Spotify Premium.
(It's a biz expense, need both)

My 02USD. YMMV, etc....

I run both at max bitrate (wifi & cellular) to get the best audio quality possible.


Interface and usability: Spotify.
Example: Easier to make a playlist on the fly. As often happens I'll be out somewhere and hear a riff in a song and want to save it for later to learn.
In Spotify I can do this with 3 clicks/selections and it's obvious how to do it.
Not so on Apple Music where it's not obvious/intuitive and will take 5-6 clicks to get there.

*Note* - I can use Apple Music via my home media center because it's native to my AppleTV which is nice. The interface is still crap, but as of today there is still no Spotify app for AppleTV. (Yes, I know I can Airplay Spotify from my iPhone/Pad/MBP to the AppleTV as well. I prefer it baked in.)

Curated Playlists: Apple.
The first day I was on Apple Music I found "Produced by Nigel Godrich" and "Produced by Joe Boyd". Apple has created so many interesting playlists.
For a music nerd like me something like that is a revelation.
They also do a great job of creating "Essential", "Next Steps (Deeper Cuts) and "Influenced by" playlists for every artist.

Here's the benefit: say you hear about a band like LCD Soundsystem but don't where to start when wanting to check them out.
If you search for them in Apple Music you'll get an "Essential" playlist of their best know songs, as well as a "Next Steps" playlist if you want to hear deeper cuts. They also offer an "Influeces" and/or "Influenced By" playlist as well so you can hear acts that influenced the band or the bands that were influenced by them.
Spotify has nothing like that.

Catalogs: Draw
Very similar catalogs. Plenty of major label, with a few smaller label stuff arriving via reissue by the majors or boutique labels.

I expected that Spotify, being a Norwegian company, would have gotten the rights clearances to originally European only releases.
Sadly International Copyright law is still stuck in the 20th Century and therefore I can't access certain songs that Spotify has in their catalog,
but are "greyed" out and unplayable.

Apple doesn't even offer it...but if I already have the cd or find a copy for download somewhere I can upload it via iTunes to my Match account and then stream it via the Apple Music app.

The "Difference Maker": Apple Music paired with iTunes Match:


I spent 30 years collecting vinyl and cds. Most are now out of print.
A few years ago I digitized/ripped all 30,000 songs and uploaded it two places:
Google Music and iTunes Match. (yes, local backup as well)

Apple Music app on iPad/iPhone/AppleTV integrates seamlessly with my iTunes "Match" account.
It's $24.99 a year and is seperate from Apple Music and the "iCloud Music Library" you get with a Apple Music Subscription.

I can access all of my personal music I've uploaded to "Match" account in the same interface I use to access Apple Music's streaming jukebox, whether I am an Apple Music subscriber or not.
Spotify can't compete with Apple in this way for obvious reasons and it's not a fair comparison in that regard.

It also helps my workflow as a musician.
I write a demo in GB or Logic and send it to my Apple Music/Match acct. from inside GB/Logic.
Then I can walk/drive/ride around listening to it and developing new ideas on my iPhone/iPad.
It's one click in GB/Logic to export, one click to create a playlist unless i have one already setup, and it's done.

Winner: Apple Music....*BUT* only because of it's integration with iTunes Match as well as GB/Logic.


TL;DR -

If you only want to listen to music either one is fine, but Apple gets an edge if you like curated playlists to discover new music.

 

rwmct

Member
Messages
2,811
I still buy CDs (mostly at shows) or download on itunes where you get the song on your device. Screw that subscription stuff.

Of course, I have a couple of large boxes of LPs in the basement. The turntable is still hooked up, but I have not played anything on vinyl for quite a while now.
 

rollyfoster

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,106
I just started using it. Love it so far. I spend way more than $9.99 a month on downloads, some of which I only listen to a few times, and now I have unlimited access to their library and I can load it on my phone.

I haven't used the streaming much but I already have 10 gigs of new music loaded and ready to go.

My computer has 80,000 songs and isn't done uploading so I can't comment on that aspect of it yet.
 

edsped

Member
Messages
125
I've got Apple Music and Spotify Premium.
(It's a biz expense, need both)

My 02USD. YMMV, etc....

I run both at max bitrate (wifi & cellular) to get the best audio quality possible.


Interface and usability: Spotify.
Example: Easier to make a playlist on the fly. As often happens I'll be out somewhere and hear a riff in a song and want to save it for later to learn.
In Spotify I can do this with 3 clicks/selections and it's obvious how to do it.
Not so on Apple Music where it's not obvious/intuitive and will take 5-6 clicks to get there.

*Note* - I can use Apple Music via my home media center because it's native to my AppleTV which is nice. The interface is still crap, but as of today there is still no Spotify app for AppleTV. (Yes, I know I can Airplay Spotify from my iPhone/Pad/MBP to the AppleTV as well. I prefer it baked in.)

Curated Playlists: Apple.
The first day I was on Apple Music I found "Produced by Nigel Godrich" and "Produced by Joe Boyd". Apple has created so many interesting playlists.
For a music nerd like me something like that is a revelation.
They also do a great job of creating "Essential", "Next Steps (Deeper Cuts) and "Influenced by" playlists for every artist.

Here's the benefit: say you hear about a band like LCD Soundsystem but don't where to start when wanting to check them out.
If you search for them in Apple Music you'll get an "Essential" playlist of their best know songs, as well as a "Next Steps" playlist if you want to hear deeper cuts. They also offer an "Influeces" and/or "Influenced By" playlist as well so you can hear acts that influenced the band or the bands that were influenced by them.
Spotify has nothing like that.

Catalogs: Draw
Very similar catalogs. Plenty of major label, with a few smaller label stuff arriving via reissue by the majors or boutique labels.

I expected that Spotify, being a Norwegian company, would have gotten the rights clearances to originally European only releases.
Sadly International Copyright law is still stuck in the 20th Century and therefore I can't access certain songs that Spotify has in their catalog,
but are "greyed" out and unplayable.

Apple doesn't even offer it...but if I already have the cd or find a copy for download somewhere I can upload it via iTunes to my Match account and then stream it via the Apple Music app.

The "Difference Maker": Apple Music paired with iTunes Match:


I spent 30 years collecting vinyl and cds. Most are now out of print.
A few years ago I digitized/ripped all 30,000 songs and uploaded it two places:
Google Music and iTunes Match. (yes, local backup as well)

Apple Music app on iPad/iPhone/AppleTV integrates seamlessly with my iTunes "Match" account.
It's $24.99 a year and is seperate from Apple Music and the "iCloud Music Library" you get with a Apple Music Subscription.

I can access all of my personal music I've uploaded to "Match" account in the same interface I use to access Apple Music's streaming jukebox, whether I am an Apple Music subscriber or not.
Spotify can't compete with Apple in this way for obvious reasons and it's not a fair comparison in that regard.

It also helps my workflow as a musician.
I write a demo in GB or Logic and send it to my Apple Music/Match acct. from inside GB/Logic.
Then I can walk/drive/ride around listening to it and developing new ideas on my iPhone/iPad.
It's one click in GB/Logic to export, one click to create a playlist unless i have one already setup, and it's done.

Winner: Apple Music....*BUT* only because of it's integration with iTunes Match as well as GB/Logic.


TL;DR -

If you only want to listen to music either one is fine, but Apple gets an edge if you like curated playlists to discover new music.
Just wanted to point out that iTunes Match is included with Apple Music. I had both Spotify Premium and iTunes Match but got tired of having basically two separate libraries and having to use two separate services and apps on my phone. I tried out Apple Music and decided it was good enough to cancel my Spotify subscription, plus I'm saving a couple bucks a month after cancelling my iTunes Match subscription too.
 

stratotastic

Member
Messages
7,241
I use Spotify Premium. I used it for years before Apple got into the game and I like the user interface MUCH better. Add in the Daily Mix, Release Radar, and Discovery and it pushes the usability (for me) miles above Apple. I tried the free trial with Apple and as much as I wanted to like it (because I've been a Mac user for 20 years), I just don't like the way Apple Music is organized. Can't stand the white interface either, too distracting for me. Maybe the fixed some things but when I tried it it was the week it came out and it was just an absolute cluster**** in terms of navigation. Maybe I'm just used to Spotify, but for how I use it, its definitely the best.
I agree with all this. I could see how if I had a Mac or an iPhone then Apple might be better, but I have no complaints with Spotify. Not sure what iTunes Match is, but it sounds like it's a way to incorporate your local library into the streaming service, which Spotify also does.
 

noley

Frequently Mistaken for Fabio
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,117
We use the Apple Music Family Plan. Pretty much for the same simplicity we had with MOG before it became Beats and eventually Apple Music.

I like it fine but the catalog is missing a lot of what I used to find on MOG. Still it's been a solid option, especially for me and all the work travel I do.
 

rollyfoster

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,106
I agree with all this. I could see how if I had a Mac or an iPhone then Apple might be better, but I have no complaints with Spotify. Not sure what iTunes Match is, but it sounds like it's a way to incorporate your local library into the streaming service, which Spotify also does.
The premise of match is it searches your local library and if you have something available in apple's catalog then they "match" it with their copy so it doesn't upload but you have immediate access to a 256 iTunes file to stream/download to phone etc. If it isn't in their library then they upload it for cloud storage in the original format.

The original files are left on your computer so if you have FLAC or something that gets matched in the cloud it won't replace the original file unless you delete it and download the iTunes version.

I had a hankering to listen to a Neil Young bootleg yesterday and downloaded it in my truck. Nice.
 
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jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,088
Just wanted to point out that iTunes Match is included with Apple Music. I had both Spotify Premium and iTunes Match but got tired of having basically two separate libraries and having to use two separate services and apps on my phone. I tried out Apple Music and decided it was good enough to cancel my Spotify subscription, plus I'm saving a couple bucks a month after cancelling my iTunes Match subscription too.
I left that out because while it is "included" in Apple Music, if you decide to end using Apple Music the "included" Match service ENDS unless you continue to pay $24.99 a year.
 

edsped

Member
Messages
125
Right, but you could just resub to the standalone Match service before your Apple Music subscription ends, right?
 

Cream

Member
Messages
3,101
I use Apple Music but I hate that it takes over your CD imported music and essentially puts double of everything on the iTunes library. That's garbage. Also, iTunes has become so bloated and confusing since the old days. But I use Apple because it works with Siri.

I'm not wild about the concept of not owing my music but I've done the whole buying CDs thing and it costs more than $9.99/mo and then I either have to hang on to them or throw them out.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,725
I use Apple Music but I hate that it takes over your CD imported music and essentially puts double of everything on the iTunes library. That's garbage. Also, iTunes has become so bloated and confusing since the old days. But I use Apple because it works with Siri.

I'm not wild about the concept of not owing my music but I've done the whole buying CDs thing and it costs more than $9.99/mo and then I either have to hang on to them or throw them out.
I had a lot of CD's I'd imported into my iTunes library before I started using Apple Music, and a handful ended up being doubled, but overwhelmingly, they didn't.
So I suspect this is a user configuration issue, and not the default Apple Music behavior.
 

GGinMP

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,122
I found a "Best of Northern Soul" playlist on Apple Music and I've been digging it. For those unfamiliar with the genre, it's typically 60's or early 70's American soul music, but songs by lesser known singers or B-sides and lesser-known cuts from better known artists. I've got a pretty good soul collection, yet this playlist has a lot of tunes that I don't have.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,088
Apple should get it together on the iTunes and Apple Music interfaces...
iTunes is really becoming a mess
@jammybastard , very nice review
Thanks.

I agree about iTunes on the Mac/PC....but I never use it anymore unless I have to upload something to my Match account.

For example, I bought an OOP live cd from the UK band DOVES.
Had to upload it to my Match acct. via iTunes on my Mac so I could stream/download it.
As I was ripping the CD I realise dit was the first time in at least a month since I had last opened iTunes on my Mac.

My point:
There's no need to use the app on a computer when you have a Apple Music acct. because you can manage everything on your iPad/iPhone/AppleTV.
 

Spider-Man

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,112
I like Apple Music because you can download over wifi and listen offline. I don't pay for a large cellular data plan so this works out great for me. No streaming necessary. I don't know if any of the other streaming services allow downloading.

If I like something well enough, I end up buying the cd. I like to own the music I love rather than rent it.
 




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