10 Features Apple Music Needs to Catch Up to Its Streaming Rivals

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-05-13
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Features Apple Music Needs to Catch Up to Its Streaming Rivals
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    10 Features Apple Music Needs to Catch Up to Its Streaming Rivals

    Apple is planning a much-needed revamp to Apple Music, and it's coming none too soon. Here's how Apple can update its music-streaming service to make it more appealing to music lovers.
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    Offer More Radio Stations, Please
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    Offer More Radio Stations, Please

    While it's nice to have a couple of Beats radio stations in Apple Music, it needs to be expanded to include other tastes and content. Apple has done a fine job of delivering 24-hour radio, but if it adds more stations and becomes more of a competitor to services like SiriusXM or even traditional radio, people would be more likely to use the service.
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    Do a Better Job of Tracking Listener Preferences
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    Do a Better Job of Tracking Listener Preferences

    Apple simply needs to do better job of understanding what people want to hear. Pandora has done that exceedingly well by tracking what customers are listening to. Apple must enhance its analysis of individual listening behaviors and deliver content people actually want to listen to. If it can't do that as well as competitors, Apple Music won't grow at the rate Apple hopes.
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    Make 'My Music' More Refined
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    Make 'My Music' More Refined

    My Music, the repository for people to access the content they have in their library, is cumbersome and difficult to use. The feature doesn't make it easy to quickly find artists or songs, and even searching for content can be difficult. Apple's My Music, which includes self-made playlists, is arguably one of the biggest issues with Apple Music—and it needs to be fixed.
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    The Connect Feature Isn't Working
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    The Connect Feature Isn't Working

    Connect was supposed to be a place where artists and their fans could, well, connect. But the truth is artists like to connect with their fans on Twitter or Instagram and have no interest in Apple's platform. Apple needs to forget Connect and focus on the platform's other features.
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    An Improved Interface Is Critical
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    An Improved Interface Is Critical

    In general, Apple Music's interface is hard to use. The interface feels cluttered, and the user experience is generally not as appealing as competing services. Apple should take a page out of its own book on hardware and make Apple Music's design simpler and far more user-friendly.
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    The 'For You' Needs to Make Sense
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    The 'For You' Needs to Make Sense

    Apple's For You section is supposed to be the place where Apple delivers content users might want to hear. But it doesn't always do a good job. The selection of playlists is small, and worse, it sometimes doesn't make sense. Apple's For You needs to be smarter and deliver broader content and playlists.
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    Bring On Big Talents
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    Bring On Big Talents

    Apple has done a fine job of bringing on major artists, like Taylor Swift, to promote its streaming service, but it needs to get them invested in Apple Music itself. Apple has gotten some exclusives from artists like Drake, but it must go further. If Apple can get exclusive content from the likes of Swift and Adele, as well as make it more financially attractive to get early access to content (similar to the way Kanye West brought his album to Tidal), it'd go a long way in making the service more appealing.
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    Make It Easier for Users to Say What They Don't Like
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    Make It Easier for Users to Say What They Don't Like

    Apple is enabling users to tell the service what they like thanks to an included "heart" button. However, the company doesn't make it easy for users to say what they don't like. Similar to Pandora, Apple should have a thumbs-up-thumbs-down system that would allow users to tell Apple's editors their tastes.
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    Bring It Online
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    Bring It Online

    Apple Music lives on iOS devices and computers, but wouldn't it be nice if it were also available online? Some people like the idea of streaming content in the browser at work or other places, and at least so far, Apple hasn't offered that. Perhaps the time has come to deliver an online portal where users can easily stream their favorite tracks from the Web.
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    Don't Fall Into the Free Spotify Trap
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    Don't Fall Into the Free Spotify Trap

    One of Spotify's biggest issues with artists right now is that it offers a free, ad-supported version. Apple cannot fall into that trap and try to appease its users with such a move. Artists and record labels don't like the idea of free access to their tracks, which could hurt Apple's chances of expanding its music offerings. Apple Music must remain a paid service.
 

It's only been a year, but already Apple has plans to revamp its Apple Music platform, according to new reports. Those reports claim the company will talk about the ways it will improve Apple Music at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Apple apparently recognizes that to be a leader in what has become a hotly contested music-streaming market, it has to make major changes to its service. For many, that news might be a relief. Apple Music, which currently has 13 million paid subscribers, has been criticized by some who say that it's cumbersome to use, its radio content could be better and its interface needs improvement. In sum, Apple Music is a decidedly first-generation product, and Apple needs to modernize it to compete on the same level as chief rival Spotify. This slide show discusses some of the quirks Apple needs to eliminate in the next version of Apple Music and how adding certain features, including new radio channels and an improved user interface, could help to build the streaming service's audience.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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