Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Unkillable “Songs of Innocence”

Russ Frushtick (via Stephen Hackett):

Around 2016 or 2017, a couple years after Apple launched its CarPlay service, allowing your vehicle to sync with iOS, I started noticing something odd. Whenever I got into a car and connected my phone, it would automatically play something I had purchased on iTunes: a list of options so small — just nine albums total — it meant I was incessantly hearing the same tracks over and over again. And as much as I love Huey Lewis, “The Heart of Rock & Roll” has its limits. The albums were constantly syncing to my newer devices because of some iCloud setting somewhere; even deleting them didn’t do the trick, as they’d continue to play over the cloud. After suffering with it for a few years, I found out that you could “hide” albums from iTunes, ensuring that they’re never automatically played. It saved me from the shame of hearing the first track of the Charlie Brown Christmas album for the 700th time. I was free.

But one album remained: Songs of Innocence.

Unlike the other albums, there was no way to hide this, and it never appeared in my purchased albums. Because I hadn’t purchased it. It was a gift from Tim Cook and Bono. And due to some quirk in iTunes, it was unkillable.


A few days after writing everything you just read, I decided to give one more call to Apple support, hoping to better understand what exactly was preventing them from removing the album in the first place. Here’s an edited transcript of the unthinkable conversation that ensued[…]


4 Comments RSS · Twitter

Buried lede: Apple tech support is a self-contradictory crapshoot.

That's a funny article. I think I must've used the utility to delete it, though I don't actually remember that being a thing. (Ah, I just checked the related 'Previously' article and the utility was just a web page, I remember that now. The word utility made me think it was like a dmg or something)

I also get the frustration of hearing the same damn song every time you connect your phone to your car. I ended up recording a really low-key ambient song that was as inoffensive as I could make it and called it "AaAaAaGHHHHH" so it would always be the first thing to always play. It saved my sanity.

I’m pretty sure in the early days it used to be possible without any tools, but the steps were non-obvious. So a lot of people just ended up deleting the download and hiding cloud albums, which obviously didn’t stick.

But the real crime is that damn autoplay. It’s not an iPod. I might plug it in for navigation or audiobooks. And even if, who would ever want alphabetical order, starting with the same song every time!

May 8, 2021. Can confirm that Apple support is still able to kill this damn parasite. But it's unclear if there is any other cure.

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