I know Apple Music has been painful for a lot of people, including some friends of mine. I realize that if you came to Apple Music with a large existing collection of music, ripped or downloaded over many year, and you were used to managing it in a specific way, then you likely experienced a ton of frustration. For me, though, subscribing to Apple Music has been complete and utter bliss — the future of music I've always dreamed about.
No music no cry
I've never had a huge music collection. I've bought maybe a few dozen CDs over the years, and maybe a few hundred songs on iTunes. I enjoy almost every type of music, but I grew up listening to the radio and listening to songs serendipitously.
So, the minute Apple enabled re-downloads and, eventually, iTunes Match, I stopped even worrying about it. I just signed in and streamed whatever I had, and once in a while added something new. If I wanted to hear something else, but not enough to buy it, I launched Slacker or looked for it on YouTube and, if it wasn't available, I moved on to something else.
Then came Apple Music.
I liked Beats 1 immediately and for the same reason I liked radio as a child. For You was cool, but I was never really into playlists — I like wondrous diversity. My Music seemed pretty close to what I already had with iTunes Match.
But Siri changed everything.
All around the listen tower
The moment I saw what Siri could do with Apple Music, I was hooked. Almost any song I wanted to listen to, at almost any time or any place I wanted to listen to it.
I say "almost" because there are still some holdouts: While most popular music is available, a lot of regional content might not be. Other than that, though, any time a song pops into my head and I want to hear it out loud, I can simply call up Siri and ask for it to be played.
AND IT PLAYS.
I can be talking to my mom and call up ABBA. I can be joking around with Leo Laporte on TWiT, and a minute later Roger Whittaker is playing. I can be with a friend and ask for the Alien Ant Farm version of Smooth Criminal. I can leave the theater after seeing Straight Outta Compton, and a minute later Ice Cube's When Will They Shoot or Public Enemy's Rebirth will be blaring. I can come off the highway and, few minutes later, switch to I've Got a Feeling from Buffy: The Musical or to Pavarotti's rendition of Nessun dorma! And Adele can drop by and say Hello any time I want her to.
Everything from ancient instrumentals to modern movie scores to the best or most obscure of the last few decades of music, all almost instantly available. And all I have to do is ask. "Play hits from the 80s!" "What was the song from Rocky III?" The world has opened up.
I've been listening to music from my childhood, my teens, and from Beats 1. Music I haven't heard in years and just discovered for the first time.
The confluence of technologies that had to come together to make Siri and Apple Music possible is stupefying. The only thing more unbelievable is that it has happened. It's actually here and it really, truly works.
Because I was never deeply invested in physical or digital music before, I'm perhaps the ideal customer for Apple Music. But because of all that, I also find Apple Music is ideal for me.
Granted the service needs to get better, Music.app needs to become more opinionated and coherent, and problems involving local content have to be solved or separated. And there's a lot of indications Apple is already working on all of that.
Either way, for me, for now, Apple Music is total bliss. And all it takes to get it is $9 a month and two magic-seeming words.
Millions of songs in your pocket.
Apple's music streaming service boasts over 70 million songs, live radio stations anchored by renowned personalities, and thousands of curated playlists spanning every genre you can imagine.
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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.