Sunday, July 12, 2015

Apple Music: For You

Jim Dalrymple:

Many of the problems I had before with iTunes Radio are completely gone. Selecting genres of music or even something like “70s Rock Hits” or “80s Metal” gives you exactly what you want—great music.

With the integration of Beats, you also get curated playlists and the ability to stream artists’ music, if you become a member of Apple Music. The selection went from not having much to choose from with iTunes Radio, to having so much great content from playlists and radio stations that I had to start saving them all so I could listen to them later.

Dr. Drang:

This is not what I want from For You. I already have my musical brain sitting between my ears, and I have a 10,000-song representation of it in my iTunes library. But there are 30 million songs in Apple Music, and even if a huge swath of them can be eliminated because I hate Christian rock or speed metal or whatever, there will still be millions of songs left. For You should be my guide into the unexplored areas of those millions of songs. Right now, it’s not.

Christina Warren:

It’s hard for me to over-stress how much I like For You. From the very beginning, the recommendations in playlists and albums that the app showed me were dead-on accurate, reflecting my various musical interests.

Kirk McElhearn:

What’s also odd is that three of those albums are already on my iPhone; that’s not trying very hard.

Apple knows a lot about my musical tastes. It knows what I’ve bought from the iTunes Store, and it knows what’s in my iTunes library through its Genius feature. So it should get a lot better than that.

Khoi Vinh:

The playlists include a whole bunch of stuff I can’t stand, along with a smattering of albums from acts that I’m okay with but not particularly passionate about, and one so-so album from a band I quite like but rarely listen to. Nothing from my current heavy rotation of artists appears here, and nothing new or surprising that I’d never encountered before does, either. Overall, the selection lacks any real surprise or inspiration.


Apple does, in fact, have all the data that they need to make great recommendations to me. I’ve been using their iTunes Match service for two years, which stores all of my iTunes library’s metadata in the cloud. Moreover, I’ve been using iTunes for almost a decade and a half now, migrating the same music library from computer to computer and device to device. Few other services have as much data on my media consumption habits as Apple does—not Netflix, not Amazon, not Google. Plus, Apple is the most successful technology company in human history. When you combine those factors, shouldn’t it be realistic to expect more from Apple than what is basically the same out-of-the-box experience that the original Beats app offered?

Ben Lovejoy (via Nick Heer):

I gave my first impressions of Apple Music on day two, and my main disappointment remains: despite putting both owned and streamed music into a single app, there is absolutely no real integration between the two. All the evidence suggests that Apple Music has no awareness of my owned music.

I’ll get past that in a moment, but bear with me first for a couple of paragraphs. Because this is, in my view, more than just a missed opportunity: it’s almost criminally negligent. iTunes knows more about my musical tastes than my girlfriend. More than my neighbours, who have sometimes been more familiar with my musical tastes than they might wish. More than any of my friends – even the one who kindly ripped all my CDs for me on his high-end PC with multiple DVD drives.

Jim Dalrymple:

I use the “Like” system in my music services all the time because I want it to learn from my listening habits and be more personalized for my tastes. However, it seems that every service uses this system in different ways, so I talked to Apple about how you should use likes with Apple Music.


When you play a radio song, you will notice a heart—this is the like button. If you tap the heart, indicating you like that song, it does absolutely nothing to “tune” that station. Since the stations are human curated, there is no need for a tuning algorithm.

Tapping the heart does affect “For You,” the section of Apple Music that’s custom built with playlists, albums and songs tailored to your individual tastes. For You also takes into account music you add to your library and full plays you listen to. Skips aren’t really taken into account, because there are so many reasons you may skip a song—maybe you’re just not in the mood for it right now.

You can further tune the For You section. If you go to For You and there is a recommendation for an album that you just don’t like, tap and hold on the album. A menu will popup where you can choose “I Don’t Like This Suggestion,” allowing Apple Music to further learn about your musical taste.

Brian Webster:

One thing that I always wished Beats Music had (or if it did, I could never manage to find it) was the ability to see a complete list of songs that I had already “loved”.

This is now possible under Apple Music, by creating a smart playlist with a rule reading “Loved is true”. That will list all the songs that you’ve marked as loved in a single convenient playlist. Note that there doesn’t appear to be any way to create smart playlists on iOS, so you’ll need to create the playlist using iTunes on your Mac or PC, but that playlist will then automatically sync over to your iOS device (assuming you have iCloud Music Library enabled, of course).


On a related note, Beats also had a “don’t love” button (heart with an X through it) that you could press if you didn’t like a particular song very much. There doesn’t appear to be an equivalent button in Apple Music though.

Update (2015-07-20): Dieter Bohn:

I have started calling the menus spawned by 3-dot buttons in Apple Music “BlackBerry Menus” and I’m never stopping.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Bryan Pietrzak

I'm loving for you! I've been hearting dozens. Maybe hundreds of songs and for you is showing me some great playlists. A nice mix of stuff I'm familiar with and love as well as tons of new stuff.

Before Apple Music I had about 6500 songs and it was just... More effort than I wanted to spend building playlists other than a few. But For You has been just so fantastic for me

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