Apple Music and Why it Rocks My World

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #133

On June 30, 2015 Apple introduced Apple Music to the world and, in my humble opinion, the music industry will never be the same.

Apple Music has many features, but first and foremost, it’s a streaming music service with over 30 million songs available for your listening pleasure at any time on any Apple device. But it also includes a new Internet radio station called Beats 1, dedicated to music and music culture 24/7; human-curated playlists; new music recommendations tailored to your musical preferences; and my favorite feature of all: Siri is woven deeply into the fabric of Apple Music.

You remember how upset I was when Siri couldn’t find my Beatles songs… (and if you don’t, read all about it). Now that it’s working, I’ve discovered you can ask her to do things like, “play the number one song in April 1966,” and, “play the best songs from 1977,” and she gladly complies. (If you’re curious, the former was, The Ballad of the Green Berets by SSgt Barry Sadler, and the latter included Tonight’s the Night by Rod Stewart, Telephone Line by Electric Light Orchestra, Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet, and dozens more.)

You can have a lot of fun demonstrating Siri’s song-finding chops for your friends, but to really impress them, ask for a really obscure track. For example, I asked for, It’s a Gas by Alfred E. Neuman — a song released as a vinyl-coated cardboard tear-out in Mad Magazine back in the '60s. In a few seconds I heard the dulcet tones of Alfred E. belching in my ears.

Aah, nostalga!

The other thing I love is the new “For You” section in iTunes on your Mac and the Music app on your iDevices. That’s where you’ll find those human-curated playlists as well as albums and artists Apple Music thinks you’ll like. With the possible exception of Pandora, I had yet to find a music service that could consistently recommend music I was likely to enjoy; Apple Music is the first to get it right. So far I’ve found that most (if not all)) of the playlists, artists, and albums that appear in the For You section are playlists, artists, and albums I like.

I cut my musical teeth in the 1960s, so these suggestions from my For You (shown here on my Mac) are spot-on.  

And while I have over 15,000 songs in my personal iTunes music library and more than 100 custom playlists I’ve made over the years (like this one of my favorite rock tunes or this one of songs I like to sing in the shower), these days I listen to music suggested by For You more than the music I own. That is saying something (and saying it quite well, I might add).  

There’s a 3-month free trial; after that it’s US$9.99 a month for a single user or $14.99 a month for a family of up to six. So give it a try and see if you like it as much as I do. How much is that? After years of gladly paying $9.99 a month for Spotify, I cancelled it today. That’s how much.

Apple Music. Apple, Inc. $9.99–$14.99 per month.

And that’s all he wrote…