After subscribing to Apple Music since its release in summer of 2015, I've officially moved my library to Spotify for good. I tinkered with this last summer, but thankfully Apple fixed the issues I was having (see this blog post). Over the past few months, I've gradually become frustrated by Apple Music. While my previous frustration was about a technical issue, this issue is much deeper. Apple Music, for me, does a terrible job at discovery. Here's why:
I was really excited about Beats1 in the beginning, but the novelty quickly wore off. It seemed like every time I turned it on, it was playing genres I didn't like. There were times that Zane Lowe would interview artists I like, but I had no way of knowing. Why isn't their a push notification when an artist I have saved is the focal point of a show?
New Music Mix
I probably should have said this at the beginning, but this article is really just describing my experiences. You might certainly have a different one. I was really excited about the New Music Mix that launched with iOS 10. Spotify's Discover Weekly mix is great. I have found at least ten artists who I now follow from it. I usually listen to it multiple times each week. While similar in idea, Apple's version of this is boring to me. I hardly ever listened to it more than once. The suggestions were just okay. To make matters worse, I still had Christmas music in it in late January. I don't know if Apple doesn't have the amount of data Spotify has, or if it's another issue, but something is off.
I am a big fan of the "Singer/songwriter" and Folk/Americana genres. Spotify has tons of options that are frequently updated. Apple simply does not. In fact, one of the options for Singer/songwriter for Apple Music is "Best of 2015". They didn't even make one for 2016. Apple's playlist might be human curated, but the ones I followed were rarely updated.
I've never loved this feature. I particularly don't love the iOS 10 version of it. It has a lot to scroll through. It tends to offer the same suggestions over and over for playlists that are rarely updated. The new release section is buried at the bottom. (Spotify emails me when artists I follow release new music.).
To sum it up, Apple Music was starting to feel like the iTunes Store where I didn't have to pay per track. Spotify has introduced me to tons of new artists, and Apple Music hasn't. Why is this? I'm not sure, but Apple certainly knows just as much about my listening habits. They just weren't doing as much with the data. I'll miss the native Apple TV app, but AirPlay will do just fine.