Apple Music has betrayed its most loyal listeners

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I guess there’s a bit of schadenfreude to this—most Apple fans are strangely forgiving of the company’s missteps—but I point this out because it so clearly echoes Microsoft’s use of advertising in Windows and Office.

From Jason Snell—who is a good guy—at Macworld:

I accept that other people like listening to the prattling DJs, but I hate it and I will keep changing the channel until there’s a song I want to listen to again. I don’t want to hear about who is touring where, or who said something interesting at a show, or even the behind-the-scenes detail about how a song came to be written. Not when I’m just trying to listen to music.

That’s the great thing about 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 voices. It’s all about the music.

Or at least, it was. But recently, Apple Music has made some changes, and they’re disastrous. A new tastemaker has apparently rolled into Apple Music HQ and decided that aggressive marketing to paying customers is the solution to a problem that literally nobody had. The result is a degraded Apple Music experience.

Apple has taken to inserting ads into its “ad-free” on-demand radio stations. Yes, they’re ads for other Apple Music radio shows, but does it matter? 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 ad for Zane Lowe or Strombo or other pre-recorded Apple Music radio episodes. What was once an ad-free music experience is now punctuated by… 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 pay for them, and we expect them to be about the music, and nothing but the music.

Comments (12)

12 responses to “Apple Music has betrayed its most loyal listeners”

  1. jwpear

    I think Apple has Spotify envy. They want more revenue from Apple Music. It's not enough that we bought the hardware and are paying for the service.


    Like Jason, I chose Apple Music because of the emphasis on music and the user control. Can't quite put my finger on it, but I have never felt like I was in control with Spotify (e.g. hate that it defaults to auto playing additional songs at the end of my playlists). And yet Spotifying Apple Music seems to be the direction Apple is moving.

  2. Stabitha.Christie

    Curios if this is a bug or intentional. I personally am not having it happen and I have seen mixed reports about it happening. If it is intentional it is certainly the wrong direction.

  3. jimchamplin

    Haven't seen this... err... heard it.

  4. hrlngrv

    | aggressive marketing to paying customers is the solution to a problem that literally nobody had


    Meaning no customers had.


    How selfish! What about Apple's senior management and shareholders? They need more $$$$! Someone figured out there's money to be made through promotions, and they're almost certainly correct that damn few customers would rebel by dropping their subscriptions.


    Welcome to the realization that for-profit businesses aren't the customer's friend. At least not without A LOT of effective competition ready to devour any other competitors who develop a reputation for screwing customers. In markets with a few, a very few, semi-monopolies, get used to the experience.

  5. navarac

    So ALL the tech companies are just greedy bastards after the last cent/penny they can gouge out of gullible customers.

    • navarac

      ....or we are getting more and more ads, because we, the customers, are savvy, and ads don't work anymore?

    • hrlngrv

      In part to be contrary, but also to let loose my inner financial conservative, is it a bad thing for public, for-profit corporations to try to maximize profits by maximizing revenues?


      If Apple doesn't lose subscribers, then why shouldn't Apple wring as much money out of those subscribers as possible? If the subscribers don't like it, they can cancel their subscriptions. If they don't want to, because even with the ads the service is worth the subscription, loop back to why shouldn't Apple wring as much money out of those subscribers as possible?


      Choice doesn't have to be between various ideals. It can also be just among different evils.

      • jimchamplin

        The issue here is that the ads are appearing at all. Apple Music has no ad-supported version, it's paid-only. They're running ads for features that are included in the subscription, not an upcharge.


        On the other hand, it's not advertising an upcharge, it's letting subscribers know about other features of the service that they're already paying for. I get the slippery-slope issue, but I suppose it depends on where these are actually appearing. If they're in an Apple-curated playlist if there's one or two of these ads - for their other curated content - I can get it, despite how annoying it is.


        If it's appearing in a playlist that I created? Nope.

    • anoldamigauser

      And this would be surprising how?

  6. Daekar

    So... what I'm hearing is that the streaming services all have pretty much the same problem and will have the quality of their experiences degraded over time as they achieve market power.


    Golly gee, who could've seen that coming? Curate your own collection of music files, sync it or stream it via the cloud, and ditch the subscription...

  7. yoshi

    I have been experiencing this and not thrilled about it. Not sure the grass is any greener elsewhere though. I've considered a jump to Spotify, as I always found their suggestions better than anywhere else. But I get annoyed about their auto-playing videos. Yes, I know I can turn them off. But they should never happen to begin with.

  8. nine54

    Apple, like other streaming services, has doubled-down on incorporating "personalities" into the service: curators, DJs, insiders, "storytellers," etc. Apple likely wants to promote these shows to increase their popularity (and justify the talent contracts). And, if I'm one of these hosts, I'd want to know that the company is actively promoting my show.

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