Whatever you’ve heard, read or thought, if you haven’t taken the time to sign up for Apple Music and tell iTunes/Apple Music/iOS Music app your musical tastes/preferences, you are missing out on some great music discovery. I started subscribing to Rdio in the fall of 2011. Sometime in 2012, I added Spotify because Leta was (and still is) using my Rdio. I chose Rdio for its interface and the ability to discover new music. Most of my Twitter and LastFM online friends were there. But Spotify was used by more of my real world friends, despite an interface that seemed dead set against helping me discover new music. I reluctantly stayed with Spotify. When beatsmusic launched, I played around with it, eventually subscribing it as well for a few months through my mobile phone bill. In 2014 when Apple announced the purchase, I cancelled beatsmusic because two subscription services were more than plenty and three was insane. I wanted to wait and see what Apple would do with the streaming service, if anything. The rumors and rumblings mentioned that Apple would be folding beatsmusic into iTunes. So I waited and hoped they’d keep the best and ditch the worst.
Last week, Apple officially launched Apple Music, which integrates most of beatsmusic into iTunes on desktops/laptops and the Music app on iOS. Biggest omission: The Sentence, which allowed you to select a location, what you feel like as an activity, who to do it with (including yourself) and a genre like Rap, Electronic, Pop, etc.
From your sentence, a playlist would be generated on the fly. They’ve kind of kept the spirit of The Sentence. It’s under the “New” tab, scroll down and select “All Activities”:
As far as the rest of beatsmusic, Apple also kept the brilliant blend of human curation and automation that beatsmusic had. You can find this under the “For You” tab on Apple Music:
I like a lot of different music and the choices I’m seeing (and hearing) reinforce that whatever they are doing is working. Somebody or some robot is sending me things I like, plus music recommendations that will allow me to hear new music that I might like. It’s not all brand new, which is great for somebody who wants to deep dive into the work of artists they aren’t as familiar with or songs that haven’t received a lot of attention, but are still worth a listen. This is the magic I was hoping Apple would keep. Here are a few examples of things I’ve seen in the “For You” section since the launch last week:
One of my favorite bands, The Who, had a playlist not of their music, but music “Inspired by The Who”:
and the songs were damn near perfect:
A great list of dramatic songs by bands that the average person might not have thought to include as being influenced by The Who. Sure, there are some obvious choices like The Jam, but the other choices send the listener down a refreshingly new road, even given the age of the source music.
Does everybody’s For You tab look like this:
I’m still evaluating Apple Music, but this launch has been a strong start for me and my music needs. What I want is discovery. Discovery of good new music and good old music I missed. Spotify has never given me the joy of discovery like Rdio and like beatsmusic did. Apple Music sure is doing it for me now.