Anyone who knows me, knows that I am an Apple fanboy. Naturally, when Apple Music launched back in June, I immediately terminated my Spotify premium subscription that I had been using for slightly over 4 months. Apple Music’s promise of tight integration with iOS and with the huge plethora of songs available, I was ready to make the switch. I was excited to finally listen to Taylor Swift, even though I’m not a huge fan, but the fact that I hadn’t heard it on Spotify enticed me.

Apple Music’s onboarding was something that was talked about as being an interesting and new approach to a selection screen. Was it good from a UX point of view? I would say no. It took forever to go through the genres, and the genres were already little as it was. There was no metal, no subgenres of anything, and somehow, K-pop, M-pop and other asian related music kept popping up. I mentioned that I liked K-pop but loved Rock, but Apple insisted on recommend me dozens of K-pop bands. I get that I am in Singapore, but that doesn’t mean I just like Asian music.

Apple Music’s feedback mechanism was also not to my taste. I didn’t like the fact that I had to tell Apple what music I liked with the heart buttons. I have been an iTunes Match subscriber for years and they should have known what music I own, but no, I had to tell Apple exactly what songs I liked. I’m sure that Apple was tracking my plays, and therefore tried to guess the songs I liked even though I had not favourited them. In either case, the heart button was, to me, utterly useless.

Beats 1. I can’t entirely blame this on Apple, as allegedly MDA was blocking them from broadcasting. Someone1 contacted MDA, and apparently Apple was the one who didn’t contact them. We cannot and should not trust this random forum comment, but in either case, the fact is, Beats 1 isn’t in Singapore.

My biggest gripe with Apple Music is their playlist recommendations. They are horrible. Horrible. Maybe this is because I didn’t favourite every single song, but I did favourite a significant amount. The ‘Recommend Less Like This’ button in iTunes did jack shit. Finally after 3 months, I decided that Apple Music just wasn’t ready yet, at least for me. I then decided to go back to Spotify and within 10 minutes, and 2.5 songs later, I knew I made the right choice.

Spotify’s Discover Weekly worked. It just worked. I wasn’t forced to ‘heart’ songs that I liked, or kick songs out that I didn’t like. It just simply worked. Playlists were awesome. There were so context sensitive. Burning the midnight oil? No problem, here’s a mix to keep you going. Lazy sunday afternoon? Here’s a mix to keep you relaxed. I had no idea how much I missed my friends feed as well. If I had wanted to keep my music to myself and not discover new songs, I would just buy albums off iTunes and listen to them offline.

That being said, Spotify isn’t perfect, there are many songs that aren’t on Spotify, and I hope they are working out reasonable deals with artistes. There’s a reason Taylor Swift chose to go with Apple Music and not Spotify. Spotify’s UI also has room for improvement. I don’t like that my playlists are so cluttered. It makes me think twice about adding playlists.

I chose Spotify after going on a break for three months for a variety of reasons, and I’m really sad that Apple Music failed for me, but Apple is going to work very hard to bring us Spotify users over.

written by @MeNikhil

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