Apple Hates Music Lovers Who Want to Own Their Music

| Devil's Advocate

So Apple upgraded the Music App in iOS 10. It still sucks. And a lot. Apparently Apple feels that changing the font size to be bigger qualifies as UI redesign. Another ‘upgrade’ is that Apple removed the star ratings on your music. You know, the ratings that you’ve spent years and years adding. Just gone. You can still ask Siri to set a rating by saying “Siri rate this song three stars.” But you can no longer see them.

Tapping on the album art to show the star rating now does a sum total of nothing. So they actually had to work to remove that code. And why not add star ratings to the ellipsis “…” option?

iOS 10 Music Rating Mockup

iOS 10 Music Rating Mockup

iCloud Music Turned Off

Why do these things? Because Apple hates you and your carefully curated music collection and wants to end it. What else explains Apple letting iTunes become a serial murdering music library terrorist?

Apple tries to kill your music at every turn to sell its crapfest Apple Music service. The company prefers that you all comply and rent the same music rather than owning and having different music.

And you know it’s only a matter of time. You’ll spend years curating your own music playlists on Apple Music, and at some point Apple will randomly pull music tracks from your playlists. For those who disagree that can happen, give me a holler via Ping. It’s certainly happened on other services getting Zoom’d, and considering Apple’s constant attack on my music collection, I don’t put it above the company.

For example, I do not have Apple Music. I’ve turned off iCloud Music Library (see the first image below). Yet, I still have mysterious download cloud icons in my music collection (see the second image below). It’s constantly downloading crap I don’t want into my library.

iCloud Music Turned Off

iCloud Music Turned Off

iOS 10 Music Cloud Downloads

iOS 10 Music Cloud Downloads

Crimes Against UI

Which gets to the bigger problem of Apple UI design going into the toilet. It’s gone down hill since Jonny Ive took over. Perhaps it’s coincidence and correlation. Perhaps it’s causative. But regardless, it’s gone into the toilet. Here’s a hint, changing font types and sizes is not UI design.

What’s worse, it’s clear Apple gave the job of maintaining to just one dude, probably stuck in a closet clutching a red stapler. And Apple is so busy patting itself on the back for the moribund purchase of Beats and integrating that crap show virus into iTunes that it didn’t bother to notice it’s destroyed iTunes in the process.

Does Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have some blackmail on Tim Cook and Eddy Cue? They’re acting like a couple of geeks wanting to get in with the jock/cool crew in high school. I cannot explain their fawning blindness to the crapshow that Beats has created with iTunes and management’s inability to call a horrid product out to the shed and do what’s needed. You know that’s what Steve Jobs would have done.

What Would Steve Do?

And F’ everyone that has a problem with talking about what Steve Jobs would do. People at Apple need to start seriously thinking about what Steve would have done. Yeah yeah, I know he told Tim Cook not to, but he also told us we wouldn’t have an iPod with video. Not to mention, Apple set up an entire university internally to basically teach what Steve did.

So stop with the cognitive dissidence already. Wise up. Be more like Jobs. Pay attention to details and the big picture. They are often related.

Next: iTunes Track Management, Error Messages, and Local Files

30 Comments Add a comment

  1. No, John has been wtiting here for many, many years, before there was Apple Music or even an iPhone. It’s a shame that we live in an era when having an opinion is viewed as something negative. I weep for society in the 21st century.

    I also happen to agree, though for different reasons. We can’t live in a world where corporations own everything and just grant us occasional and temporary access. If you want to see where that road leads, look no further than Mao, Pol Pot, or Kim Jong Un or Hitler or Communist Russia or China.

    Thinking that these companies are your ‘friend’ or ‘on your side’ is going to be one of the biggest mistakes our younger generation ever makes.

  2. I may not agree with his taste in music, but I agree with his opinion.
    iTunes is the biggest reason I use OTHER streaming services, OTHER music sources, OTHER music players.
    Actually iTunes is also the reason I’ve been renting less movies from Apple too.

  3. Why on earth do you still use iTunes? You have good observations and points but reading that through all the venom you are spiting is insane. For most people apple music is good enough. And apple makes money from people using it. Why are you surprised that they optimise their software for apple music and making money? isn’t that what company’s do?

  4. NotTellingYou

    Ok…please understand my view here…I’m a software product manager and have worked on software you have or do use and at companies you are likely a customer of, so my lens on this is different.

    First let me say these types of articles are important and there’s for sure valid issues and concerns that can and perhaps should be addressed in future releases. That said what really grinds my drive heads is the arrogance and hubris many authors display especially in the areas of UI/UX. These opinions are like…everyone has one.

    In this case the “larger text”, and some other changes, were added to address user concerns with the small touch points previously when operating the app in the car or during some other activity. Do Iike the result? Meh! I think I could have advocated for something more Car Play like as an optional UI but I don’t have to deal with everything it takes nor do I understand the deeper foundational things that can prevent or slow things.

    Instead of complaining in a rant where I make wild assumptions and false representations and claims I wrote, what I hope, was a thoughtful note to the apps Product Manager at Apple expressing some thoughts and suggestions. I don’t expect him to act on it but I do hope he keeps them in mind. My ideas and my UI/UX desires are mine alone and no more valid than anyone else’s. It’s easy to rant get get others, who are also frustrated in some way, to jump on your bandwagon! Problem is when you get passed all that and start to talk specifics you’ll likely find your agreement is no more and you’re again standing alone. Something more people should keep in mind!

    For me the solution to all this silliness was to LEARN how everything worked and retrain myself. I started this new iTunes Match and Apple Music adventure with 24,000 + carefully ripped and cataloged and curated songs in my library. I use all of Apple’s music services and because my music is important I learned how they worked individually and together. Is it perfect? No! But I know that and when there is some outlier issue, because I understand, I’m able to ALWAYS overcome and move on.

    Now…if you’re still reading…while I do agree that there is a lot of crud and legacy stuff here that can and should be done away with. No argument! I want so many changes I can’t possibly list them all. But it’s not that easy! I wish it was but I know it’s not.

    Given the challenges, and acknowledging that your opinion is just that, I would love to see author’s like this to step back, take the emotional stuff out, and write clearly and thoughtfully so at the end of the article we come away smarter not further apart.

  5. NotTellingYou

    BTW: geoduck…Why, if you’re steaming from Apple Music, would you ever need to use iTunes? Other than local backups, and hardware restore, there is absolutely NO REASON to use or ever open iTunes. It’s a non-issue! I also don’t get your movie comment as it’s even less of a factor there!

  6. C’mon John, tell us what you REALLY think! 😉 I enjoy the venom (I’m from Cuba!), but I’ve learned in therapy that it just turns most people off!

    “mysterious download cloud icons in my music collection”: Those are from like that free U2 album that I deleted (crap), and all of those tracks downloaded by my wife and kids (more crap) under our Family Sharing plan. I don’t want today’s crappy pop on my iPhone.

    Apple Music, as I’ve said here before, is for musicians and kids, who need to be up on the latest music. Those of us grownups (35+, -Rudolf Steiner), already have all the best music in our iTunes Library (40s-80s). Knowing Apple’s track record with cloud services, i avoided Music Match like a virus, but kudos to those brave souls at TMO who try it out for us.

    You’re not going to make friends with Dave Hamilton and other TMO writers by suggesting that they are fools to pay for Apple Music! Dave is a musician WITH kids, so it works double for him!

  7. I’m not sure I understand the problem.

    I have been using iTunes since 2004. I have amassed a rather large music library (60k+ songs) over the years, between ripping my existing CD library and mp3 purchases.

    I am now an Apple Music subscriber, and I still have all of that music. I have everything Apple Music offers, plus my library.

    So they removed star ratings. I’ll admit, that was a surprise and a fairly confusing change, considering that I — like, I imagine, a lot of people — used star ratings to create smart playlists. But ultimately, I was only using those star ratings to put songs into one of three boxes: songs I didn’t like (one or two stars), songs I liked (four or five stars), and songs I was neutral on (three stars). Considering that I had no hard and fast rule for rating something four stars vs. five, and most songs that I disliked got the one-star rating (what is two stars, anyway? I don’t like this, but it also doesn’t make me want to plug my ears?), the current like/dislike system effectively gives me the same thing. Sure, I had to go back into iTunes to bulk-like songs in those playlists, but that took no effort and little time.

    Oh, and now? Now Apple Music looks at what I’ve liked and disliked, and builds me a personalized playlist of music every week that it thinks I might like. It brings music discovery directly to me.

    I still have all of my music. And now I have practically all of the additional music I could ever want. In fact, my whole family has all of that, for the cost of one CD per month. What’s the problem?

  8. What does this mean in a playlist on my iPhone:

    This playlist has been downloaded to this iPhone. Do you want to to delete it from your Library, or remove the downloads from this iPhone?

    Remove Downloads

    Delete from Library


    And how do get rid of Mr. Obvious’ alert that I downloaded a playlist from my Mac? A playlist that I deliberately put there because I personally curated it.

  9. I’ve never used star ratings because tastes change over time. I get sick of anything I hear too often, even the greatest songs of all time. Over longer time frames tastes change even more. I’m shocked at some of the stuff I spent good money on and equally shocked at stuff I used to hate that now appears in great quantity in my library.

    All music database applications like iTunes suck. They don’t have nearly enough fields and only have a single view. Real databases permit an infinite number of views that can be easily cloned so you don’t have to start from scratch every time.

    Being able to set up a rock/pop view and a classical view would be a good start because I don’t want those two types of music sorted the same way nor do I want them played back the same way. With most (not all) rock I enjoy a random shuffle, but I certainly don’t need Gould playing a Chopin piano solo (or worse) the third movement of a Brahms symphony being thrown into the mix. iTunes manages to keep music, apps, movies and TV shows in the same database without confusing them so it should be easy to create multiple music categories.

    Of course all the tracks need more metadata because having a single date associated with a piece of music is too limiting and sorting an album based on the date associated with the first track is just plain wrong.

    I have a 1992 album of a 1986 concert during which music from the mid 1960’s through 1984 was played. So each track needs a 1986 performance date and an original composition date. The album itself needs its own metadata so the 1992 publication date can be applied along with the 1986 performance date. When sorted by date the album and all the tracks should appear in 1986.

    I have some re-issued recordings that are essentially the same as the originals. iTunes places them in the year of release instead of the year of original release where I want them. I also have some re-mastered recordings that are quite different from the originals. Those should be sorted by the newer date because the sound has been noticeably modified. It should be my choice to use either date without having to delete the other date.

    I have two albums from 1974 that always appear in the wrong order when sorted by date because the one recorded in October is alphabetically ahead of the one recorded in February. I can store the CDs on a shelf in the correct order, but iTunes won’t display them that way.

  10. RonMacGuy

    Wow, lots of emotion. I will add my 2 cents. I love Apple music. Sure, I have a ton of CDs already in iTunes, but I have three daughters that love the latest and greatest stuff they hear on the radio, a wife who likes a variety of music, a mother who loves 50s and 60s music, and I like a wider variety than my wife. For the cost of two albums a month, all 6 of us can listen to whatever we want, wherever we want. Cost of 3 caramel machiatos. Cost of two McDonald’s Big Mac meals. This is a no brainer for me.

    The other day I hopped into my car for a 1.5 hour drive. I asked Siri to play me some Queen. I heard all the popular songs that I and everyone else owns, but I also heard some songs that I hadn’t heard for a very long time, and even a couple of songs that I’d never heard from Queen. Really enjoyable experience, and so simple to kick off. Love it. I really only use iTunes anymore for local iPhone/iPad backups and occasional movement of home videos of daughters’ sports/instrument/singing performances.

  11. RonMacGuy

    I also kind of have to agree with dlstarr7. I don’t care how many years someone has written here or anywhere, when an article is titled like click-bait and reads like click-bait, it’s kind click-bait, or at least click-bait-ish.

    Apple doesn’t hate music lovers who want to own their music. Total click-bait title. Apple is indifferent to music lovers who want their own music. If they hated those who want their own music, they would not offer import capability of CDs into iTunes and they certainly wouldn’t offer iTunes Match. Apple is very tolerant of music lovers who want their own music, and simply offers for those music lovers to import their vast libraries and also to stop buying future stuff if they so choose, and for a monthly fee offers tens of millions of past/current/future songs with a simple request to Siri. Or, to continue to buy their own music through iTunes for pricing comparable to other ways of purchasing their own music. The idea of Apple hating music lovers who want to own their own music is completely ludicrous. So yes, the click-bait comment on this article is completely sound.

  12. Lancashire-Witch

    I manage all the household’s music (about 12,000 tracks) on a G5 with iTunes 10 – works well. Home sharing and Airplay ensure that all the family can access and play the music they want. Quality ripping (and re-ripping!) and iTunes purchases mean I don’t need iCloud music library (iTunes Match) or Apple Music.

    From a UI perspective iTunes 12 on newer macs is not as easy or intuitive as iTunes 10.

    Apple’s penchant for removing features (and applications!) often causes disappointment and frustration. Do they think we don’t mind seeing hours of work just vanish, sometimes without warning? I’ve completely given up with Podcasts. Losing star ratings would be a disaster (her word) for SWMBO who often creates smart playlists using ratings.

  13. I’ve completely given up with Podcasts.

    I recently renewed my interest in them, I listen to them during my Apple Watch inspired fitness program. One of the things I like about iOS 10 is that when listening to podcasts raising the iPhone shows a the Podcast player and I can quickly hit the 15 second rewind to hear something that bears repeating or pause when I need it to.

  14. Paul Goodwin

    I personally think taking star ratings out of iOS shows a ridiculous lack of vision of what their own products are capable of. Maybe an iPhone is too small of a device too be a creation tool. But an iPad isn’t. Why can I have similar smart playlist creation capability (using star ratings) on the iPad that I have on the Mac. It’s like they’re thinking of the iPad as a consumption only device. I want to sit on my deck with the iPad to do that work instead of having to go back inside on the iMac.

    And a heart to love and a strikethrough heart for dislike is just a horrid useless waste for managing and organizing.

    And the comment above about not using star ratings because tastes (and hence star ratings) change with time doesn’t get it for me. That’s the beauty of star ratings while a song is playing; you can up-rate or down-rate as your taste changes. It’s just silly to me to not have that capability. It’s not because Apple doesn’t want music owners. It’s because they don’t view music players/organizers as important as they used to, and Apple just isn’t putting the great effort into it that they used to. I fail to see though how the deletion of the star rating capability of the music app got through any reasonable design review process. The iTunes and Music app team at Apple ain’t what it used to be.

    I don’t know if there’s anything better out there now. When iTunes 11 came out, I looked long and hard at other music management/player apps and nothing was anywhere close to iTunes (even itunes 11).

  15. In large part I agree with the article author.

    iOS 10’s Music app UI is a step backwards.
    I too don’t want my music purchases that I’ve decided not to “download” to my iPhone showing up in the Music App. Is it impossible for Apple to get with the plan and let ME choose what’s shown/playable ?

    And while I didn’t “manically” star rate my music, it was a handy way to build a playlist of lesser played songs that I could either “prune” or play as a seperate group to “refresh” my appreciation of an artist/group.

  16. I’m pretty disappointed with iTunes 12, and haven’t upgraded to iOS 10 or Sierra. I’ve stopped buying iTunes music because it’s hard to find the songs or artists I want.

    Is there a way to go back to iTunes 10?

  17. Would people pay a monthly fee (or Any fee for that matter) to listen to the music they already own by using Apple Music?
    Did I miss something?
    Are people so involved with their daily lives that they don’t care they are being financially raped?!
    Yes, I said ‘raped’.
    First, (not just Apple) you MUST upgrade because the reliable equipment you had suddenly becomes obsolete. I am all for technology marching on, in fact I embrace it; I am a big sci-fi fan who enjoys when imagined invention becomes reality and continues to improve. BUUUT, when you are FOrCed to upgrade ($$$$$) then you gotta pay for something that you already own/had/love/paid for or created, like your music???!!
    I gotta pay for listening to my own music?!
    and what happens to your music AFTER the free 3-month trial ends?
    I like a lot of World music. I have a lot of foreign music, Pow-Wow music, artist created indigenous music that is NOT on iTunes. The current music is fine and I can get it from Apple Music but what about the other stuff. The voice recordings? The improv jam-sessions that were so fun, but will never be produced?
    Where will they go?
    Its still on your iTunes on Mac/Windows right? Well thanks to the new OS, my computer is now incompatible. So I am ForCed to spend more $$$$$ to get a current OS; so I can use iTunes,
    so I can have my music;
    so I can fully enjoy the new iPhone 7
    (it could have been the 6/6s/6+/6s+) I was ForCed to upgrade to from the 4S (its ok to laugh…its funny)
    I had it so long and it worked so well #sturdy (and no, I didn’t have to get the 7 but what was I going to do get the 5? and be in the same boat next year and maybe have to pay more?!)

    For now, I will be carrying around 2 phones….the new 7 and the 4S for my music listening…good thing I was gifted some great blue tooth headphones for my birthday.

    and I don’t plan to give Apple one DIME to hear The Silvercloud Singers (a Native American Drum Group), my jam sessions, gifted CDs from performers that were given to me BEFORE being sold anywhere (many times the copy you can buy is slightly different)…I NEED my music, chants, drums, etc…
    Apple needs to understand, iTunes is not just for listening to The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat, Daddy Yankee, Enrique Iglesias, or Wisin with or without Yandel…
    it is a music storage library, its personal, and you may not get what you need from the cloud
    Keep iTunes as it was #free…and let those who want to pay, pay…Apple won’t lose a cent.

  18. archimedes

    It’s such an un-Apple-like user experience. There is no sane reason for breaking iTunes syncing, but it seems nearly impossible to get it to peacefully coexist with Apple Music and with iCloud Music Library. Damaged playlists, deleted music, damaged metadata… it’s a complete and total nightmare, and it feels so awful to have a piece of software ride roughshod over your carefully selected music.

    When long-term Apple fans like John Kheit say “Apple hates you” – well, that might be a sign that something is rotten in the state of iTunes/Apple Music.

  19. Thank you John Kheit! Totally with your opinion. And I´m also with you furbies, Lancashire-Witch, Paul Goodwin, archimedes..
    Finally someone from the writing folks writes about it. I was wondering a long time, if I´m the only one (or the last user remaining) to be deeply worried and upset about, what has been done to iTunes over the last years. Especially on macOS (“Music” or former “iPod” on iOS has never been that capable as its parent app on macOS, but has been pretty good – but, by the way, where the heck has this “recently played” list gone in iOS 10??).
    Since version 11 things went worse with iTunes on the Mac. And when I hear Tim Cook saying all over again, that music ist “deep in Apples DNA”, I want to yell at him: “Did you look at iTunes in the near past. Did you ever used it?”. The UI degraded in usability by becoming much less intuitive and more ugly in look and feel. There was a time, when there has been a team which put much love into the iTunes App. As they have built it for themselves – one could see it and feel it on using. For me, the Mac meant iTunes in a big part.
    Today I doubt, that the the people who are responsible are even using it. It seems, that every once in a version some other morons are messing around with the design and functionality – just for the sake of change, not for making it better. Who let´s that happen- Is that you Eddy Cue? Maybe you should spend some more time at Apple and less at Ferrari.
    I fell in love with iTunes instantly on one of the first iMacs – the time we had brushed metal in the windows finish ;-)) .. I loved it. That was the tool,., I dreamed of.
    I like to earn my music. I have ripped all my CDs and bought a lot music on iTunes. And I curated some nice playlists. Some by hand, a lot with automated/intelligent playlist, which fill themselves by relating to f.e. the rating (which may change on time – so do related lists), interprets, genre, and a bunch of keywords I´m putting into the comments field. I´ve put months of work into it and still do. And of course I love to sync them to my iPhone and iPad. Thats why I am forced to upgrade iTunes with new iPhone gadgets.
    In former times I was happily curious about new versions of iTunes. Nowadays, on every new version, that is announced to come out, I fall on my knees praying for not being destroyed so much, that it will render unusable (same with the design of macOS btw).
    I´m just trying iTunes Music. I like it somehow, but its not to substitute owning music. I still want to buy what I´have discovered and like and I want to integrate it to my personal playlists and I want it to be there, when I maybe quit iTunes Music subscription someday. So.. why is there no “buy” button behind a playing title? It´s ridiculous.
    Where ist the historylist of titles, I previewed in the store? Where is the genius-playlist function? That function created very good playlists within my mediathek – vanished.
    Beside my iMac, I have a MacBook Pro from 2009 which I kept on Snowleopard and iTunes 11 (which is much better and more beautiful, than this mess of disgusting grey in El Capitan).
    To say one good thing: my most used shortcut in iTunes “command-L” to jump to the actually playing track now finds also the right track, when it is embedded in a playlist nested within a folder. That didn´t work a long time after implementing the Folders for playlist functionality.
    So.. maybe someone still cares over there at Apple, deep down in the iTunes labs.
    iTunes with the iPod was once an important element fur the success of Apple on it´s way to become al hot, hip mainstream company. And it may be still important for more people, Apple thinks.
    I keep hoping, it will gain back some love.
    (this was a short and incomplete version of all my thoughts an worries I made myself over the recent years on iTunes)

  20. “Apple letting iTunes become a serial murdering music library terrorist”. Beautifully described. I am still hurting from boldly buying my first Mac in 2012, starting up iTunes, pointing it to my extensive music collection on a server, and watching a chaotic disaster unfold that I had no say in (as it happened) and no warning it would happen, and if you want to say that I should have reasonably expected it to happen, you are kidding.

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