Apple Music — First Impressions

It’s here, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been looking for a music streaming service for the past year. Spotify, Tidal, and Pandora are not supported in Ukraine. I hate the Google Play user interface. Yandex Music is Russian. Deezer is great, but their offline music support is awful (songs cut-out before they’re actually over, cached songs keep getting deleted, and the user interface is far from perfect). All of that being said, Apple Music couldn’t have come at a better time.

It’s been 24 hours, and in that time I’ve cleared out my entire iTunes music library (all the tracks are backed up on my 1TB external hard-drive) in favor of adding music and streaming/downloading it via Apple Music. So far, I haven’t come across a band/artist that isn’t available, but if that does happen (as I suspect it will, with all the smaller Ukrainian bands I sometimes listen to), Apple iCloud Library has me covered.

The Beats1 radio station is great, and might be my morning-playlist of choice. Some people have made fun of the radio’s first hour, but no new release by Apple has been perfect since Steve Jobs passed away. There’s always something wrong.

The firs thing that bothered me was how difficult turning the iCloud Library sync was. This feature is required if you want to ‘add music’ to your library and then save it for offline listening. After nearly an hour, I was able to get it to work.

The second problem was the fact that searching for music in iTunes only gave me “radio station” results, rather than pages of the actual artists. Many people have complained about this problem, but restarting iTunes seemed to fix it for me.

Finally, the genre/artist bubbles in the “for you” section were somewhat frustrating. This feature migrated to Apple Music from the Beats music streaming service, and there’s no other way to put it — it’s just hella inconvenient.

All of that being said, after 24 hours of using Apple Music I am very happy that there’s finally a streaming service that is near-perfect and is available in Ukraine.


P.S. Another great surprise was that the pricing varies from country to country. Signing up for Apple Music in Ukraine costs $4.99 for personal use, and $7.99 if you turn on Family Sharing. Compared to the $9.99 and $14.99 pricing in the US, this was a pleasant surprise.

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