How would you change Apple Music?

Apple Music is Apple's attempt to move from the old buy-and-download model of iTunes to the fun-filled future of subscription streaming. It... got off to a rough start. The free three month trial was great, the utter confusion surrounding iTunes Match, versioning, and DRM, and the overloaded app, not so much.

Last year, Apple Music got refocused and redesigned. The service, at least ostensibly, got simpler and the app, bigger, bolder, and more beautiful. It made Apple Music better, inarguably, but did it make it better enough?

If Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine, Trent Reznor, Boz, and the rest of the Apple Music brain trust asked you what you wanted to see from the subscription service in 2017, what would you tell them?

  • Continuity handoff so you can start listening on one device and seamlessly continue on another.
  • Apple Music for iCloud so you can access all your music from any browser.
  • Separate Apple Music app for the Mac. (And thumbs up/down from Touch Bar on the Mac!)
  • Beats 2: Classical, Beats 3: Country, Beats 4: Sports!
  • Increased device limit for family plan (four people times three devices = pain!)
  • Social sharing for playlists — let everyone become an all-star DJ!
  • More original programing like Netflix!
  • Apple Music built into AirPods 2!

In other words, what would it take to get you to subscribe to Apple Music, and nothing else, for all your streaming needs?

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

67 Comments
  • I don't use the paid service, but i just wish they bring back stuff that were there before ios 10.
    Click an artist name on the album and it shows all the albums by this artist you have on your device. Right now nothing happens when you click it.
    show music played history., show album art when no artist photo is available instead of that mic.
    Ability to just click on the corner of album and play all songs, instead of need to touch the 3 dots and play the album.
    This new ios 10 app is just worse than the ios 9 one.
  • Being able to edit your own playlist. I have a playlist that just won't open up for me to edit Sent from the iMore App
  • The biggest improvement would be a true equalizer like what they have in Spotify. Something that could be set for various output devices and automatically cuts in for that device... the car, airpods, internal speakers, etc. would even be better than the competition. Not nearly enough selection in the "Radio" categories. Have a look at what Google Play Music does here, and you'll see how short Apple Music is. Examples of missing categories are "Bluegrass" or "Southern Gospel," both of which I enjoy (don't judge me). They need to seriously consider folding in the Podcast app into the Apple Music app. Help for the Siri commands that work to play music would really be helpful. Hit and miss mostly for getting hands-free commands in the car to work the way I want, especially the selection of Radio Stations if you don't memorize the name of the station, such as "Cocktails and Crooners," which I never can remember. Ask Siri for a radio category and she recites the selections to choose from? How hard would that be? Finally, probably a pipe-dream, but we need to be able to user our Apple Music account on Amazon Echo and/or Google Home. If they managed to put the app on Android, why can't we have the music service available on these devices? I'm guessing Apple isn't the problem here, but we can get Pandora and Spotify on both of these devices.
  • Spotify is readily available on Alexa and Google Home. Really would be nice to have Apple Music on third-party devices. I think Apple music needs to be easier and faster to put songs on your Apple watch. I don't necessarily like a lot of the music that is shown and/or recommended. Sent from the iMore App
  • AFAIK Apple Music is available on Android.
  • He means support to use an Apple Music account on Echo or Google Home as a default music service. Posted from my Nexus 6P
  • You need to like or dislike the music and it will learn just as Beats did.
  • I think this kind of capability will be possible once or if there is ever an Apple Music API created for third-parties to tap into Apple Music.
  • I second the comment about Apple learning from Google Play. It may all be algorithms, but their themed stations, as well as "radio" based on an artist or track, are miles and miles ahead of Apple's. Frankly, AM's human curated playlists are slim and boring. And the radio stations are very limited playlists; seems like a hundred tracks at the most that eventually return to playing the same tunes.
    Oh, and My Favorites Mix... perfect. Works well (although I don't imagine it's hard to keep my listening stats and work from there), but My New Music Mix really misses the mark. Most of what is recommended is very disappointing. I use Spotify to discover new music; it does a way better job based on my profile from the year or so I was subscribed and saved stuff to it.
  • Agreed on all points. Google bought a service called Songza a few years ago. It was my go to music service for music discovery. Google Play has since integrated it into its music service and it still rocks!
  • Fix the basic things first: 1) A way to reorder playlists with last added at the top, as others have posted here: 2) A way to lock playlists - I have cultivated a playlist over many years and am afraid of accidentally pulling the trigger! 3) Separate automate playlists for just bought music owned by the listener 4) An explanation "because you liked" bar below each song on the weekly new music playlist. I want to be convinced that "loving" a song actually makes a difference. I sense it does, but prove it to me Apple! Sent from the iMore App
  • 1) There is a "sort" button on the Playlist view. "Recently Added" is a sort option.
  • Let me see... Remember where a playlist was if you switch to another list? Handover of playlists and their current positions to other devices. I could live with a broader choice of classical music and playlists that are longer than currently so you do not keep hearing the same thing over and over...
    Just a few things.
  • 1. Make it a standalone app.
    2. New Releases should be viewable in one long list (like Apple News), separated by the genres of my choice.
    3. Being able to browse by sub-genres, such as Native American or New Wave.
    4. Stop forcing Hip-Hop on us!
  • #4 is why I pretty much stopped listening to Beats One. I know they do play some other genres, but it seemed every time I was out and about, hip-hop was what they were playing. :(
  • Totally agree! They either need more stations to encompass different style of music, or MIX IT UP about 100% on the one station, all I ever hear is Rap, Hip-Hop and other crap that I have no interest in. What about classic 80's and new wave, dance, electronica, country, jazz??? Come on, Apple. Embracing music means embracing *all* music, not just the music from your target 20-something 'lucrative cash cow' audience. Very un-Apple move, imho! Even at $5 a month on my student Apple Music account, I've considered canceling. And I still might.
  • Couldn't agree more about point 4. Whatever happened to the concept of variety?
  • Personalizing your own musical taste and put in a social feed for musicians that Rick for people that recommend for me this is by their fan and a connection to their favorite artist and fans and making it free for those who can't afford it or if you use an iTunes gift card by the Apple Music Sent from the iMore App
  • It's a minor thing, but why is Love so messed up? Multiple presses to get to it. And why can't you see at a glance if you've already Loved a song? I'm trying to train the Apple Music recommendation engine by Loving tracks. So it's kind of annoying when you jump through the hoops to get to the Love button, only to find you've already loved it in the past. And the problem exists in iTunes, Apple Watch, and IOS devices. They all hide the Love button and status indicators? And why can't I see a list of songs I've loved in iTunes? As far as I can tell the smartlist option for viewing loved tracks only works if you've also added the track to your library? Love Sucks, Man. The other thing I'm missing is my favourite radio stations, (BBC, Triple J, Double J), all have a presence on Spotify. So I can pull up their curated playlists.
  • Amen. Loving a song should be a 1-step action. Frustrating and shouldn't take years to figure it out. Certainly shouldn't be hidden behind ellipses.
  • Totally agree, the 'love' button sucks 'bigly' and same goes for ratings. It was way better in iOS9
  • My number one request would be the ability to stream songs in apps like DJay. Spotify does this. A minor request would be a landscape view for the music app on iPhone.
  • Add the ability to "open in" an mp3 from another app into the iOS Music app so that it gets added to your iCloud Music Library. Currently, the only way to do this is on a Mac/PC with iTunes.
  • Yes. This has been a glaring omission since day one. All this talk about the iPad replacing the MacBooks but you still need iTunes to add music that wasn't purchased from the iTunes Store.
  • Yes. A thousand times yes.
  • The day they will make a tab for my ripped CD together and another tab itself for Apple Music, then I'll switch from Spotify. When Apple Music came out, it messed my entire library because everything was together. I want seperate stuff and do not touch my local library!
  • They need to bring back the "Clear Up Next" function that was in iOS 8 and 9. Sent from the iMore App
  • Agree on additional Beats stations. I would use tempo rather than genre. Beats1 is up tempo. Beats2 would maybe be down tempo - a home for rock, blues, country, roots/americana, soul, etc. Set up in cities like Chicago, Memphis, and Austin. Beats3, maybe expand beyond western-centric music. You could "travel" to Tokyo or Rio or Mumbai and hear local music. Beats4, not sure how but I think it would be cool if that was like community access tv. Folks could create their own programming block. Maybe choose by random lottery or listener vote. Also agree on social playlist building. Music is social. Share sheets are not enough. Maybe tie in to Beats4.
  • They need to find all the missing songs and albums and add them to the catalog there's all sorts of thing I want to hear. But are not on Apple Music. Or Spotify. A perfect service would have every bit of music. William orbit hello waveforms. Missing. Song by p!nk feel good time. Beck also made that song. It's on YouTube. But not Apple Music. Apple has a crummy version of that song on there made by no name artists. And that kind of crap sucks. Get the real song on there. Spotify is missing that stuff. And the first owl city album. I was going to use Spotify. But that missing album ruins the whole service for me. A streaming service should have no missing music. There's also tons of soundtracks missing.
  • The front, layout, darkmode, and easier to use with plus models.
  • • Landscape mode
    • Dark mode
    • single click to Love a song
    • edit songs metadata
    • edit smart playlists
    • multiple Beats stations.
    • fix the lyrics and up next placement. Don't like to have to scroll through lyrics to see my up next list
    •CarPlay mode with larger buttons.
    • curated playlists too short
    • better way to share playlists with each other. Spotify does this well. Maybe like a playlist App Store.
    • radio station variety needs to be increased
    • save playlists/radio stations to favorites instead of recently played Sent from the iMore App
  • * single click /tab to rate a song
    * fix search, why do I have to tell where to search, have the app tell me where they found it instead!
    * hand-off /continuity
  • All of this .. especially dark mode, a real eq, better carplay options and mostly a landscape mode since I put it in a stand and I'd like to be able to interact with Apple Music easier.
  • * Better algorithms for Radio and recommended music.
    * Shuffle most popular songs from a specific artist.
    * Optional dark theme.
    * Better curated playlists.
  • Yeah, that beautiful dark theme that Spotify has is sorely lacking in Apple Music.
  • Support for Chromecast
  • More diversity. Apple Music is geared towards popular trends, leaving me unable to find the gentle music I love. My favorite genres were not even listed, New Age, Ambient, Spa, etc.
  • Because Apple Music is obviously geared toward the 20-something "target market", which means the rest of us are left out in the cold. Brrr! Steve Jobs would roll over in his grave! Maybe he is.
  • Bring back radio customization like the "hits, variety, discovery" options. Or ability to play many different genres/artists in radio like pandora has. Sometimes all I want is an endless shuffle playlist.
  • the same thing i'd do with all apple products, cut the price in half.
  • Haha! good one! And agree 110%!
  • So, just to be sure, you want to cut in half the money that artists get paid then because most of the money from your subscription goes to the artist?
  • + Don't play something on Beats 1 that I cannot add directly to my Library. Crazy that I have to use Shazam to add some tracks...
  • I use Apple Music & can't think of anything I'd want to change about the service. One thing though I'd ask is for the music app for iphone have a "lansdcape" mode. I listen to my music, primarily, in my car & my phone integration kit is setup in landscape.
  • Make it exactly like Spotify, no more, no less. Get rid of all the crap that isn't
    Music. Fire Iovine, Dré, Resor, ahrendts and all those phony idiots at Beats 1. Charge $5/month. Take all the crap out of the iTunes app and make it useful again.
  • i am not a big fan of those music services. now we paying 10$ a month to rent music. if apple increase the price by 5$ and i want to leave the music is gone.
  • Clicking the Artist's name in an Album in my library should take me to the artist's page in my library as well. It mostly doesn't work and when it does, it takes me to the artist's Apple Music page instead.
  • I would return to the music management focus. I would make it back to lists that are streamlined for the power user over giant cover art and eyecandy that is a waste of space for the power users. give many options to change the interface look for the user. Not a one size fits none. I'd remove the music streaming service part of the app completely or make it entirely hideable because i don't use it and i'm not going to. I'd return to having user customizable buttons at the bottom. regardless i stopped using the app because it's no longer made for people that have lots of music. I use cesium. Because it's far more streamlined and for the user that just wants a more Jobs era music player
  • One reason I'm using Spotify now is because I can add or remove tracks without worrying about deleting my personal content in my Apple library. I haven't used Apple Music since the free trial when it launched but one thing I didn't like was that it was too seamless. If they just have an indicator, filter, or something that can help you distinguish between your owned library and subscription content from the phone, then I'd give it a shot again.
  • "...move from the old buy-and-download model of iTunes to the fun-filled future of subscription streaming." Yeah, no thanks. I will never stop buying music, nor will I ever pay for a subscription to Apple Music. Did the trial and was not impressed one bit. The one thing they can change is to bring back the toggle of "show downloaded music only" instead of having to go through the menu then go to downloaded music. There are some songs that I just don't keep on my iPhone. Sent from the iMore App
  • Variety of music! Just appealing to the 20-something 'target market' is not the kind of inclusivity that Steve Jobs would have stood for. Let's make Apple Music embrace *all* genres of music, or create an additional 8 other stations that encompass them! The $5 student account is a great idea, but I feel like, as a 40 year old student, they don't play my kinda songs. Thx
  • The ability to save playlists offline without using having to use iCloud music library. Isn't the fact that I'm paying for this monthly enough? Now I have to enable a "magical" feature (broken) that wreaks havoc with my iTunes library files...
  • HIGHER QUALITY BITRATE.
    Ask any one using high end headphones they know the pain.
  • The app is far to busy and convoluted. To many swipes to navigate around; why do I have to swipe down to toggle shuffle? The app needs a complete redesign IMO. Using Spodify now because I dislike the app so much.
  • make it not erase my existing local music, that would be a start!
  • You people say the dumbest ****! Realistically Apple Music needs to incorporate search/subscribe for user playlists, handoff (ex: pick up where you left off on all apple products), Crossfade, a way to display playlists to personal blog sites etc, and a rework of song queuing. Apple implements these particular features and Apple Music will run the world #FACTS
  • Yeah, how about for starters you leave my own music the **** alone. Not trying to be mean but really, why on earth does Apple need to touch my music in order to have the option of offline listening?? Also, why do I need to delete my entire music off my phone if I want to sync a song from my library and then literally have to re download every single song from Apple Music when I'm done. Fix this first, cause all this has made the experience very inconvenient.
  • It would be also nice, if they add last.fm scrobbling support - to have a separate app for this, is not very convinient also it doesn't work as expected.
  • Move the equalizer controls from the settings app to the control panel or to the music app.
  • 4.99 a month and I'd be a custom