I’ve been an avid Apple Music supporter since the launch of the service. I liked the idea of combining my personal music library with the on-demand firehose of a streaming service.
Apple acquired Beats Music in 2014, just a few short months after Beats Music launched. I was a strong Beats Music supporter and follower not just because the whole Topspin Media crew was involved (oh, and Trent Reznor) but because its recommendation engine was great. There was this really cool feature called The Sentence that was like musical madlibs, if you will. Fill in the variables of your situation (time/place/mood/suggested genre) and it made a soundtrack. This actually worked quite well. Unfortunately, that feature didn’t make it into Apple Music.
The cool thing about Apple Music was iCloud Music Library. Essentially a rebranding of iTunes Match, iCloud music library combined your local library with your selections from the Apple Music catalogue. My problem with this feature was often a lot of mismatching . I never had any studio versions replaced with live tracks, mind you, but some albums should have a 100% “Matched” state or vice versa. A commonly released album, would have some tracks Matched from iTunes and some tracks Uploaded, despite the track being available on the service. Conversely, some albums could be special editions from the artists' Bandcamps, such as newly remastered editions, would be partially matched with the older, often inferior master instead of completely Uploaded.
Now, in my Spotify journey I don’t use the local syncing of Spotify at all. I sync lossless files to my phone the “old school” way using iTunes. This gives me the best of both worlds as well as the chance to enjoy my rarities in full fidelity. If Spotify offered a lossless tier, I’d pay for it.
Apple Music’s “For You” feed, a tailored mix of playlists and albums is a direct descendant of Beats Music. I preferred the Beat Music iteration of this than its evolved version in Apple Music. Essentially, it would be six thematic playlists based on an artist or genre, and then four full albums, at least one you were guaranteed to have in your library already. Shooting fish in a barrel. Apple Music's version follows the same format but it only generated once a day. And after a while, it would just serve you the same playlists over and over.
Beats 1 Radio was a promising start, but it plays 95% mumble rap, Drake, Ed fucking Sheeran, and Urban Outfitters chillcore.
I don’t know. I could go on but Spotify is just a better experience as much as I didn’t want to admit it for my loyalty to both Apple, Topspin, and Trent Reznor.
My Discover Weekly playlist has been very helpful in discovering new music (imagine that) and I’ve been fine tuning it using the built in ❤️/🚫 feature which also works on my Apple Watch and via Apple CarPlay, two interfaces that I interact with music as much as my vinyl collection so that’s a plus.
As of this writing I have 6 “daily mix” playlists loosely based around genres and moods I’m in: Prog Rock, Industrial, IDM, Metal, New Wave/Post Punk, and Techno. These mixes have already evolved since the draft of this article.
My only complaint about Spotify is that the 10,000 song limit is far too low. I get around this by curating my collections and maybe *not* choosing the Super Deluxe version of the album with 30 demos and live tracks.