I have been using Apple Music for Android for a while now. Annoyingly, we don’t have that many good options for music streaming apps in Sri Lanka. There’s no Spotify, no Rdio, no Songza and no Google Music. I was a huge fan of 8tracks, both on the web and on their smartphone app. But recently, due to licensing issues or requirements or whatever else record companies do to stifle music, the 8tracks app no longer works outside of the US and Canada. Luckily, the distribution power that Apple has means that it pretty much does whatever it wants when it comes to music. So Apple Music is my sole option for music now.
We took a look at Apple Music as soon as it came out. It has had some time to mature now, and its most recent update has brought with it a widget which will let you pause, play and skip tracks right from your home screen. There is also a heart icon that will allow you to quickly like any track that comes up.
Here are the list of changes with the new update:
- Now you can add songs from the Apple Music catalog to playlists without having to add it to your library. You can also:
- Control playback with a widget you can add to your home screen
- Redeem gift cards in Settings to renew your membership using iTunes credit
- See what’s playing on Beats 1 directly from the Radio tab — without having to tune in
- Tap the name of the currently playing song in Now Playing to go to the album
- See which songs are most popular on albums in the Apple Music catalog
So far I am mostly happy with Apple Music, excepting the fact that I need to download iTunes for it to work on a PC. There is a three month free trial which is incredibly cool. After the trial there is a subscription fee of $2.99 a month which is a much better than the usual $9.99 which is standard for western markets. There is also that huge iTunes library that makes practically any piece of global music ever recorded available to you. That makes me a happy camper.
But because the library is so large and caters to such a huge audience, most of its recommendations are very mainstream. The recommendations section of the app, the playlists and the Radio sections all have a very mainstream focus. Going by what type of music I indicated that I liked, the recommendations were mostly Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Maroon 5 and Script. Discovering new music, especially Indie music, is very hard. Part of what I loved about 8tracks were its impeccably curated playlists. I would discover new music I loved almost every day through their playlists. It hasn’t worked the same way with Apple Music. I have to discover music elsewhere and then add them in Apple Music.
Besides my trouble with music discovery, Apple Music is a great app and service, even for use on an Android. It’s huge library, availability and great support make it a must have for an audiophile in Sri Lanka.