I pay for Apple Music and have no intention of ceasing to do so. I’m getting a lot out of the service, but this doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. I’ve been kicking it around the last three months and here’s some tweaks I think would make it even better.
We know Apple is improving the service already. Vice president, iTunes International, Oliver Schusser told The Guardian this week:
“There’s a lot of work going into making the product better. Our focus is on editorial and playlists, and obviously we have teams all around the world working on that, but we’re also adding features and cleaning up certain things.”
With this in mind, I also suggest these improvements:
Apple tried a social network for music called Ping. In Apple Music it’s trying an artist-focused approach called Connect. I think Connect needs peer-to-peer social features – real time chat, effective public playlist sharing and voting, more of a sense of community along with integrated gig listings and ticket sales. Music is social glue.
Apple Music’s system for creating and sharing your own playlists confines you to email, Messages, Twitter and Facebook – but wouldn’t it make sense to enable sharing within the application?
Why not make it easy to import playlists from other apps, or, indeed, to export them out? It’s all about the user, right?
An offline mode would let you either see music only hosted on your device, or music in iTunes Match and Apple Music. At present these controls are hidden for no good reason.
Apple, please increase the 25,000 song limit for iTunes Match. Some users complain they cannot save more songs, albums or playlists to My Music once that ceiling is reached.
Splitting search between Apple Music and My Library creates extra friction when you’re attempting to find something. A unified search would speed things up.
I’d like to be able to search for (for example) David Bowie and get a playlist containing all his tracks that can be played in random order, like any playlist.
Speaking of search, how about enabling us to search by record label, or providing label-based discographies of available tracks.
Other than the need to pay publishing royalties I have no idea why Apple hasn’t made lyric sheets available.
Apple Music can eat up a substantial amount of disk space because it stores tracks you play in case you request them again. However, these tracks aren’t usable (though there is this third-party solution) and there is no easy way to flush them from your system (other than this).
Apple Music is an incredibly complex application. Not only does it deal with two collections – yours and Apple’s, but it combines music sales, discover, management, recommendation and many other features, so it seems inevitable that navigation will be dense. Apple should embrace this density, possibly by introducing a new navigation column inside the standard view, so you could more easily explore nested options. With this in mind, Andrew Ambrosino’s UI ideas seem worth exploring. To be frank, I think iTunes now does too much.
With Apple Music, I’m not sure the walled garden matters the same way any more. With this in mind I’d like to see Apple create a series of API’s for some service features (Beats 1, for example) so third party apps on other platforms can create interesting new uses and audiences for the service and the artists it holds.
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