My wife is a saint. Whenever we hear satellite radio in our car and a DJ comes in he has to complain to me. “You don’t just want to hear people,” he said, and he’s absolutely right. I admit that other people like to listen to flashy DJs, but I hate it and I will keep changing channels until there is a song I want to hear again. I don’t want to hear behind-the-scenes details about who’s going where, or who said something interesting on a show, or how a song was written. Not when I’m just trying to listen to music.
This is a great thing for streaming music services like Apple Music: whether you’re listening to a curated playlist or even a “radio station”, you can skip songs you don’t like and there’s no intrusion from voice. It’s all about playing.
Or at least, it was. But recently, Apple Music has made some changes and they are catastrophic. A new taste maker has apparently entered Apple Music’s headquarters and decided that aggressive marketing to pay customers is the solution to a problem that literally no one else had. The result is a degraded Apple Music experience.
Ad-free … without our own ads
As To mark By my former McWorld colleague Jim Dalrymple, Apple has begun inserting ads into its “ad-free” on-demand radio stations. Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either. The fact remains that if you listen to an Apple music streaming radio station like Classic Rock or alternative, you will eventually hear a 40-second commercial for Jane Lowe or Strombo or other pre-recorded Apple Music radio episode. What was once an ad-free music experience is now punctuated by that promo copy.
There are plenty of ad-supported music services out there. What’s different about Apple Music’s curated playlists and radio stations is that we Salary For them, and we hope for their music, and nothing but music.
Now, can’t Jim solve this problem by placing his finger next to the skip button (or the equivalent keyboard shortcut) so that he can avoid it if a promo appears on his radio show? Of course, though, I’ll mention that you’re not always in a context where you can immediately force one to skip – if you’re not remote or somewhere near your keyboard, or if you don’t want to be forced to shout at the next track to go to Siri.
But it totally misses the point. Whether we listen to music to focus on writing, take a break at the end of a long day, or something like that, it is disruptive to take it out of music and force it to listen to an ad. The ad is not considered for another Apple music program, or the Curse for Kids song, or even the offer of a free gold bar – an ad is a barrier regardless of its content.
Jim’s allegations were true to me because I recently complained about the discovery of another new Apple music marketing strategy: inserting promotional interviews into Apple’s curated playlists. I spent a lot of time listening to Apple’s ALT CTRL playlist while working, which is the latest highlight of Alternative Rock. It was once a great playlist filled with new alternative tracks from Maneskin and Maggie Rogers.
Not long ago, Apple Music redesigned its playlist pages that week to highlight blurb about artists, including featured artist pictures in the playlist. It seemed a little strange to me এবং and the oily musical-the artist turned off the faded whiff of marketing কিন্তু but I could choose not to read it, so I didn’t let it bug me too much.
Then came the second step in the process: Apple began inserting a “spoken-word” track into the playlist, featuring a brief mini-interview with that week’s featured artist. This is the very basic idea of a playlist There are songs. Now Apple’s playlist has promotional fluff for any artist this week.
There is no interface for this
None of this would be offensive … if Apple had a way of opting out of people like me. Apple likes to be proud of its connection to music and, of course, what it does is provided through software. This means that Apple Music lives at the crossroads of music and technology. And yet, does the Music app offer me any features to help me avoid Apple ads and promotions? It’s not.
Let’s start with the dumb one: Although Apple carefully puts its artist’s interview track on top of a song by that artist, I Swap ALT CTRL Playlist. The music app does not attach the spoken track to the music track or skip the spoken track during the shuffle. It does the stupidest thing possible: the spoken track becomes random so it appears randomly during a session and thus makes no sense.
Longtime iTunes users will remember that there was an idea for an unchecked song, a song that you kept in your library but never played. Music doesn’t have that idea. You cannot delete a song from a curated playlist, or tell the music not to play it.
On the Mac, at least, it has the ability to “dislike” a track, but when it feeds Apple’s algorithms (it’s inconsistent in iOS but aptly called “play less like”), it doesn’t stop playing the dislike track. This may seem like a pretty obvious feature, since Apple’s playlists often contain songs I never like to listen to again (I’m looking at you, “Chase Longu”), but I’m unable to communicate that desire with sophisticated computer software that Controlling my music listening experience.
So here we are: Apple’s decision to include things in its music collection that are not songs, has made Apple Music’s curated playlists and algorithmic radio stations bad enough. And at the same time, the music app has proven to be completely incapable of helping people who do not want to mix their music with promotions and happy discussions.
The easy way forward for Apple Music: Turn off ads and promotions until your app is able to opt out of listening to us. But until then, if you force us to stop this non-music, I curse you forever for not listening to anything but the Curse for Kids jingle. You heard me.