Apple Music

It should be no surprise to my regular readers that I love music.   There's more than 370 posts about music at this moment on my blog and my "Made in Belgium" series on Belgian music has been going on for almost 9 years with 300 posts next month.

At work I love to have music around.  At my previous employer I had a little radio in my office that was always playing. Right now I am sharing an office with multiple people so it's not so approapriat to turn on a radio. On top of that, our office location is in Wallonia with very poor reception for the Flemish radio stations that I'd love to listen too.

So streaming comes into the picture.  I must honestly admit that I am a true streaming laggard. For a long time I opposed music streaming for the fact that I discover more music if I'm not the decision maker on what to listen to.

I started testing Spotify for a while but first of all the publicity in the free app is annoying, but I also never had a click with some playlists that I explored. On top of that, I truly disliked the user interface. Don't ask me why...tastes are subjective.  So while Spotify seems to become the standard for streaming music  : it's been added to the consumption index of relevant base products by which our Belgian government calculates inflations (and mandatory wage increases); it's integrated in the Waze gps user interface, etc... And yet we didn't click.

Jan however had been streaming for a while and he was using a paying account for Apple Music. The GUI seemed much more intuitive and familiar due to our rather faithful choice of Apple products at our home. I saw on vacations the great ease he had to look up any song we came across for Kabouter:  song x or y at the mini disco....a few minutes later we were playing our own disco in the hotel room and the songs were downloaded and were available offline in the kid's playlist in the car the next day.  Wonderful.  Except that I felt too stingy to pay for a 2nd subscription if we already had the music in our family.  Previous summer Apple Music didn't offer any family subscriptions yet.

And so we chose both to go for Spotify anyhow.

3 weeks later Apple Music opened the possibility to pay for a family account...and at a much better rate than Spotify. We both switched right away. There wasn't much playlists etc to recreate yet as I hadn't used it that much yet.  It is a fact that you need to recreate your lists from scratch when you switch service providers.  However since then I've been adding songs to multiple playlists constantly.   It's Sinterklaas period? No issue, we stream for a couple of weeks Sinterklaas music at home and offline in the car and then we switch to Christmas music etc... It doesn't matter how whimsical we are.  And I have filled my iPad in the office with dozens and dozens of offline music to listen endlessly. It's superb!

But I also discover new music. For some reason, I do like the Apple Music suggestions for me. Is it because they have curated lists? I enjoy scrolling each day to see which playlist of the day they offer or which associations they make for me based on my preferences and streaming history.  That's an important click I never had with Spotify.

I heard that Apple Music is growing bigger than Spotify in the USA (thanks to the market share of Apple devices) but that isn't the case yet in the rest of the world.  Spotify is the only one that has a free version which helps them of course and which is a good first service when you start with streaming services. Apple Music has a free ad-free trial period however.  Apple Music's catalogues are slightly bigger than those on Spotify.

Anyway, in only a few weeks time, Apple Music has reduced my radio usage drastically (but didn't kill it!!)  and I'm totally on the streaming bandwagon now.  Something that Spotify has not managed to do in more than a year time.


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