It’s something we all love; different genres, different artists, different styles. No matter what you prefer, there’s something for you, and this is true for the way you like to enjoy music. You can download it, buy a physical CD, YouTube it, or stream it direct to your ears from the worldwide web. You can play it subtly through earphones, car speakers, or massive surround sound systems that’ll bring the house down.
Whatever your preference, there’s one thing that’s common to us all; Music is evolving.
I’ll admit, I used to buy cd’s at their peak, then i moved onto digital downloads, because they were far more convenient, and yes, I even made the choice to pay for it all; nobody likes a thief, especially Taylor Swift.
But throughout all this I started losing my interest for music in general; I still listened every day, but I was finding myself only loving music once in a blue moon, rather than every time I turned it on like I used to. This went on for months, and didn’t come to an end until just this week.
I think the problem was the way music was being delivered. It used to be simple; you buy a cd, put it in your cd player and you were golden. Now we have Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Tidal, Google Play, Amazon, Sony Music Unlimited (now deceased), and a whirlpool of other apps that offered free and paid music services. You can stream, download, or smart cache (often without even asking you first, because you know, companies know better than the customer apparently), but please, not on multiple devices at the same time, because that would break the laws of physics.
I don’t want any of that overcomplicated bureaucratic nonsense, I want to pick a song (or have it picked for me) then have it play. No middle man, and no irritating application design getting in the way.
This all changed with the launch of Apple Music, the service that evolved from the now barely remembered Beats Music.
See, Apple Music does something right that none of the aforementioned services have managed; it gets out of your way.
I open the app, I choose my artist/select from the recommended “For You” list, and it plays. It doesn’t auto download to my device and leech my storage (smart cache), it doesn’t tell me I need wifi because it thinks I’m too much of an idiot to realise cellular data has usage limits, and it doesn’t make me jump through 50 hoops just to remove an album I thought I might like out of impulse, but the changed my mind after listening.
More importantly than this, Apple Music offers something else the others don’t; a sense of company. The live radio station Beats 1 is an amazing undertaking on Apple’s part; running a live, 24/7 station is very far from a cheap thing to do, but they did it anyway. And before you say “well you’re paying monthly for it”, no, you’re not. Beats 1 is free for EVERYONE, whether you’re paying for a subscription or not.
It might sometimes play songs that I don’t like, or wouldn’t listen to otherwise, and that’s just part of live radio, but the sense of presence it offers with its genuinely interesting hosts, makes for some great background noise when you’re doing other things. Considering I haven’t listened to live radio of my own free will in about half a decade, that’s a major success.
Don’t get me wrong, the services offered by the other companies are very good, and some very refined, but while they do well with their content, they fail miserably in their delivery. Deezer crippled their iPad app and took months to even acknowledge there was a problem, Spotify’s app is the worst designed user experience i’ve ever used, and Amazon Music feels like its forgotten why it existed in the first place.
Apple’s redesigned Music app and the Apple Music service may its share of bugs here and there, but that’s normal for the start of such a huge undertaking. Despite this, Apple Music offers all the content I had with Spotify, with a much more efficient app design, and the “here’s your music, you just do your thing” approach that I used to get before digital ever became the norm.
The simple “easily manage your pile of cd’s” philosophy of the physical era has finally evolved into the “easily manage your world of music” philosophy of the digital era that I’ve been waiting so long for, and because of that, I actually love music again.