Oh Good, I’m Not The Only One Who Hates Apple Music
Much like the retarded mess of douche-chill nonsense that is Tame Impala’s new record, I’ve recently found myself a vocal minority in my precipitous dissatisfaction with Apple Music. Until this week, that is, when Sen. Al Franken asked the U.S. Justice Department look into alleged anti-competitive practices, and a choir of fed-up dissenters force-quit their iTunes… and started speaking up.
Steve Jobs made an enemy of confusion. His relentless quest to create the perfect user experience was legendary, and resulted in a new generation of devices and a tandem culture of tech obsession laced with an air of cosmopolitan, lightly-hedonistic elitism. So it is with great surprise and times-they-are-a-changin’ dismay that I continue to find myself on a “fuck this shit” level of frustration with Apple Music as I navigate the labyrinthian service, equally frustrated with its lack of intuitive functionality and clear rationale as I am intrigued by its promising features.
Duplicate songs, missing tracks, syncing problems and a general sense of rigidity has made the service a massive headache.
Jobs’ meticulous impact on every one of our lives shines clearly in the legacy he leaves behind, whether it be the larger consumer philosophy or the devices in our hands. But Apple’s slipping grace in his wake that speaks with no less color. Duplicate songs, missing tracks, syncing problems and a general sense of rigidity has made the service a massive headache since its launch three weeks ago. Worst of all, my manual library corrections were undone by the service the next time I opened it.
For a while, I thought the total clusterfuck of complication was my own fault. Somehow I’ve missed the glaring simplicity of it, of Apple’s trademark intuitive user efficiency. But then I saw a post from Jim Dalrymple, one of the world’s most noted Apple cheerleaders, who is abandoning Apple Music entirely after it delivered similar frustrations.
“I started to notice that whenever I added an album to my library, not all of the songs would get added. When I looked at the list of songs, there would be some missing—sometimes, most of the album would be missing,” he said on his site The Loop. “I went through about 15 albums one night and manually added all of the missing songs. It was frustrating, to say the least, but I did it. I nearly lost my mind the next morning when I checked my iPhone and Apple Music and taken out all of the songs I added the night before. I was right back where I started.”
He continued: “I had high hopes for Apple Music. I really wanted it to work and become my default music streaming service, but after the problems I’ve experienced over the last couple of weeks, I’m disabling it altogether,” Dalrymple said.
Apparently, Congress agrees. Yesterday, Senator Al Franken penned a letter requesting that the Justice Department look into alleged anti-competitive practices by Apple. In the letter (which you can read here) Franken claims Apple is potentially hurting competitors like Spotify and Rdio by charging them 30% more for subscriptions gained through the App Store.
As a result, Spotify charges customers $13 per month within its iOS app, but only $10 per month if they sign up elsewhere online. Apple bans apps which link to “external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions,” which prevents Spotify from promoting the cheaper subscription price.
Apple, meanwhile, charges a flat rate of $10 per month for Apple Music, which makes its service appear cheaper. Franken writes that this could, “undermine the competitive process, to the detriment of consumers.”
He pointed to a number of non-competitive guidelines that he believes suppress app developers and stifle innovations that benefit the consumer.
“Increased competition in the music-streaming market should mean that consumers will ultimately benefit through more choices of better products and at lower prices,” Franken wrote in today’s letter. “I am concerned, however, that Apple’s position as a dominant platform operator may actually undermine many of the potential consumer benefits of its entry into the market. To protect consumer choice and promote greater transparency of pricing, I ask that you review Apple’s business practices with respect to its competitors in the music streaming market.”
This will spell trouble for Apple in court, but even moreso in the public eye.
Remember when the worst of our problems regarding Apple messing with our music was U2’s hot-mess album release?
Apple built its reputation on the seamless user experience. But confusion abounds, and there are no guidepoints to help us along. Apple seems confused on how it categorizes its features, and its taste algorithms are quite strange. Two songs into a radio station tailored just for me and I’m fumbling frantically around for the mute button.
This is where the cracks in Apple’s veneer begin to truly show, and where the whispers of Steve return. Jobs would never have allowed a confusing creation of such magnitude; he understood the critical value of an inviting framework.
We’ll see at the end of Q3 where Apple Music stands, as the majority who’ve opted for the three-month trial will then decide whether or not to subscribe. I know I sure as hell won’t.