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First Impressions of Apple Music

I’ve spent the morning looking at Apple Music, and, while I like the idea of streaming, I find the whole interface to be confusing. In addition, I’ve found a number of glitches and problems with Apple Music that make me hesitate. For now, I’m using it on my test iTunes library on my MacBook Pro; I’m not ready to commit my full library to Apple Music.

I’ve written a number of short articles so far today about specific issues. Here are links to them:

Apple Music’s For You Selections Are not For Me

How to Tell Apple Music That You Don’t Like Specific Recommendations

Tracks Unavailable to Stream on Apple Music

Where iTunes Stores Apple Music Downloads, What Kind of Files They Are, and How to Delete Them

Apple Music is a Brand, Not a Feature

Apple Music Limits Play to One Device at a Time, Unless You Have a Family Membership

iCloud Music Library Screws Up Album Artwork

Where Has iTunes Match Gone?

How to Hide Apple Music

The Real Difference Between iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library: DRM

I’ll be writing more during the day, and in the coming days, so make sure to come back soon.

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Where Has iTunes Match Gone?

Apple Music uses the iCloud Music Library, which works – sort of – like iTunes Match. But if you have an iTunes Match subscription, you may still want to use that service, either on a single device or computer, or on all of them. There is one reason why you should: when you match music with iCloud Music Library, and then download files, your downloads have DRM. When you match music with iTunes Match, the downloads are DRM-free.

This means that if you match or upload your own rips to iCloud Music Library, you should really keep backups; you may not be able to get DRM-free originals later.

But the big problem is that iTunes Match is now MIA. Having turned off iCloud Music Library on my Mac, I no longer see any mention of iTunes Match, nor do I see the music that is in my iTunes Match library. A number of users of Apple’s support forums concur with this.

Is anyone seeing iTunes Match? I don’t know if this is a temporary glitch, or if this is a “feature.” Apple has said that iTunes Match and Apple Music are complementary and independent…

Update: There is an entry in the Account menu, if you’re not signed into your iTunes Store account. If you are, however, there’s no way to activate iTunes Match.

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iCloud Music Library Screws Up Album Artwork

Okay, Apple, you’ve done it again. You’ve screwed up my album artwork. And it’s really, really annoying.

After turning on Apple Music and iCloud Music Library, I noticed that a lot of my albums had artwork that was wrong. Here are some of my Bob Dylan albums in iTunes:

Apple music album artwork

The Pat Garret and Billy the Kid cover is wrong, the Planet Waves, Shot of Love and Side Tracks albums all show artwork for Biograph, and WTF is that with the Real Live artwork, which shows the Silver Linings Playbook soundtrack artwork?

Lots of my albums are showing no artwork at all; for some reason, this is the case with a lot of my Beatles albums. Most of my David Bowie albums have the incorrect artwork, and the artwork for this Grateful Dead album is totally wrong; it’s a live album, so it simply can’t be in the Complete Studio Rarities Collection. (And, anyway, it’s from my CD rip, and that collection is only available on the iTunes Store.)

Apple music dead artwork

For now, I’ve only turned on iCloud Music Library on my MacBook Pro; this Mac has a test library, and I’m not about to risk my full library.

Apple, please, STOP MESSING WITH MY ALBUM ARTWORK.

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Apple Music Limits Play to One Device at a Time, Unless You Have a Family Membership

You know how you can watch Netflix on your TV, and another person can watch on another TV, or an iPad? Well, you can’t do any such thing with Apple Music. As Apple says in their documentation:

Note: You can play Apple Music and Radio tracks on only one device at a time unless you have an Apple Music Family Membership, which lets you play music on multiple devices.

In a way, this is fair, but you need to be aware that if you leave music playing on one device, and want to play on another, the first one will stop. Here’s an iTunes dialog when this happens:

Apple music one device

I was listening to music on my Mac, and started playback on my iPhone, which paused the music in iTunes.

Not surprising, but something to be aware of.

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Apple Music is a Brand, Not a Feature

Apple Music launched yesterday, and, if you’ve signed up for it, you’re trying out the new streaming features, the radio stations, and the recommendations. But you will have noticed that there is no “Apple Music” feature in either the iOS Music app, or in iTunes.

There’s For You, New, Radio, Connect and My Music. In the iOS Music app, here’s what you see when you first tap For You:

Music ios for you

In iTunes, the navigation bar shows the same words:

Itunes nav bar

It’s a bit disconcerting to sign up for Apple Music, and not see Apple Music anywhere. There is one exception; the Search field in iTunes. When you click that field, you see two tabs: My Library and Apple Music:

Itunes search field

But, aside from that, the Apple Music brand is nowhere to be seen.

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Kirkville

Writings about Macs, music and more by Kirk McElhearn