Your essential Siri and Apple Music guide

Using Apple Music on a compatible iPad or iPhone? Siri can help

I’ve pulled together a short collection of Apple Music tricks for Siri.

Pop quiz

Siri will help build your musical knowledge. Ask it to “Play the top song from 1973,” and it will play the top song (or songs) for that year -- or any year you specify. Sadly Siri can’t yet play the top song from any specific genre…


Siri is able to “Play the first album by…” or “Play the latest album by…” a named artist. (It will also do the same for single releases).

Mood music

“Play more like this” is the Siri command to get some help when you like the sound of a track. The assistant will add up to 50 similar songs for playback. To take a look at the next track on iOS 8, tap the track information button at the bottom of the screen, then tap the Up Next button (the three lines) to see upcoming tracks.

After this…

Even though you can’t review the tracks, you can define the one you want to hear next using the “After this…” command. So you may be listening to Turn To Dust by Wolf Alice and want Siri to follow this up with All About Eve’s Martha’s Harbor. All you've got to say is “After this, play Martha’s Harbor…”

Play this..

Siri/Apple Music will play whatever you want it to play, so if you want to hear something else, all you need do is say “Play [name of track]” and Siri will do so, after warning you that doing so will mess up its automatically created Up Next queue.

Shuffle The Cars

So you’re a Cars fan? Who wouldn’t enjoy listening to the entire back catalog of the act that bought us highway tearjerker’s like Drive or My Best Friend’s Girl and influenced the music of Nirvana and Alkaline Trio? Ask Siri to play (or shuffle) music by/from any specific artist, album or playlist. (You can even request that Siri play Apple Music playlists).

Cover version

You haven’t lived until you’ve heard the William Shatner cover version of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (for the sake of brevity I’ll shorten the song title to "Lucy" for this report). Siri will play it for you. So if you ask it to “Play Lucy” it will fail to play anything as music from The Beatles not licensed for streaming yet, but ask it to “Play Lucy by William Shatner” and you too can enjoy this 1968 Star Trek spin-off classic. You can use this formula to get to any track you like.


Say “Skip” or “Skip the track” when you want to (erm) skip the track. Or say: “Don’t play this song again,” if it is by Cliff Richard and you don’t like him, his music or anything he stands for, or something.


“I was listening to Apple Music and suddenly – boom!”

“What happened?”

“This Punjabi MC track came on. It was great.”

“What did you do?”

“I asked Siri to “Add this track to my library," of course – wanna hear it?”


To get the very best from Apple Music use the Like button, a lot. Apple makes this easy – just tell Siri to “Like this song." You might even tell Siri to “Buy this Song” if you like it that much.


Apple Radio is full of musical surprises (it’s almost like it aims to introduce you to music you’ve not heard of before). Next time it plays you something new, ask it, “Who sings this,” and it will tell you. It might be Marianne Dissard!

Education matters

That’s not to say everything is perfect inside the garden – in the UK, I used the “Hey Siri” feature to ask the personal assistant to play Beats 1 Radio. “Sorry, Beats 1 isn’t available in this country,” Siri’s stern but delicate UK English female voice said. Perhaps she should be told?

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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