Follow-up: iTunes Bug May Have Caused Missing Music

Serenity Caldwell, writing at iMore, on how an iTunes bug may be to blame for a small set of users finding their iTunes music deleted:

Apple Music is not automatically deleting tracks out of your Mac’s library, nor is it trying to force you to stay subscribed to the service. In this instance, it appears that Apple Music is an unfortunate scapegoat: The real problem may be a bug with the subscription service’s container application, iTunes.

I don’t want to incite mass panic, here: This bug appears to have affected a very small number of users, and if you didn’t have local files disappear after updating to iTunes 12.3.3, your library is likely just fine. You can check to see if your library is locally-stored by turning on the iCloud Status and iCloud Download icons; if you’ve been affected, I suggest restoring from a backup or following Apple’s Support document.

I’ve harped on it before but here I am again: please make sure you have backups of your data. I highly recommend something local (like a secondary hard drive) and also an off site backup like Backblaze.

Apple Music Connect Expected to be Demoted in iOS 10

Mark Gurman, writing for 9to5Mac, on how Apple Music’s Connect is expected to be “demoted” in iOS 10:

In the iOS 10 Apple Music redesign, the Connect feature will follow Ping’s lead and will be demoted. Apple Music Connect currently exists as its own tab across the Apple Music interface, but multiple sources say that the feature will lose its tab and become integrated into the “For You” recommendations page. Connect will still exist within applicable artist pages as it does today, but its demotion from the set of Apple Music tabs indicates that the feature has not lived up to Apple’s expectations from last year. Along with the demotion, Connect is unlikely to see notable new features this year.

Apple Music Gets Student Membership

Apple Music have announced a new student membership option that discounts the service by 50%.

That means in the U.S., where an individual membership to Apple Music costs $9.99 per month, the student membership will be $4.99 per month instead.

The option isn’t just arriving in the U.S., though. Students in other countries, including the U.K., Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, will also be able to take advantage of the new membership option.

Is Apple Music Really Deleting Your Music? Doubtful.

Serenity Caldwell, writing for iMore, looks at what may have happened in regard to the blog post going around saying that Apple Music deleted a bunch of files off someone’s hard drive.

Whatever the case, Apple Music was never designed to delete Pinkstone’s source library, and it won’t delete yours. That’s simply not how the service works on your primary Mac. But if you’re not aware of how iCloud Music Library stores copies of tracks, you may delete your local copies to save space, thinking you can get them back — and get screwed as a result.

My guess is that there was a misunderstanding in how the system works, because the system is pretty stupidly confusing at times, and there is always the chance it was a bug. But there’s absolutely no way that deleting your music, without you expressly saying to do it, is “working as intended” as apparently the original author was told by tech support.

What I consider to be the killer feature of Apple Music, the combination of my local library with their streaming library, is also the feature that adds the most complexity to the service. While it does work, and I do use it, it’s far from perfect and definitely confusing. That’s on Apple to fix if they want you to trust your music library to their product. If they don’t have that trust then people will continue to use two apps: one for music they own and then Spotify for everything else.

Apple Music to Get Design Overhaul

Bloomberg is reporting that Apple Music will be getting a pretty big overhaul this year:

Following a management shakeup, the service’s new look is being overseen by content head Robert Kondrk and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor. Design chief Jony Ive’s team also has provided input, along with Iovine and Eddy Cue, the senior vice president in charge of Internet services.

9to5Mac has more on what the new look may be, and it’s described as a more “black and white” interface:

The new user-interface ditches the current colorful and translucent look in favor of a simpler design that emphasizes black and white backgrounds and text. For instance, the user interface in the albums view will no longer change in appearance based on the color of a particular album’s art. While the new interface will eschew color in the user-interface, album artwork will become “huge” and a larger part of the interface in order to avoid a dull black and white look, according to people who have seen the updated Apple Music service.

There’s a small aside at the bottom saying that iTunes itself will get a minor update this year with a larger revamp expected next year. My argument has long been that iTunes needs to be separated into different apps. There’s just too much going on. I’m still using, and for the most part enjoying, Apple Music. The ability to combine my library with the Apple Music library remains the killer feature for me, but god damn when the bugs hit they are infuriating. I currently have two versions of “Thrice” in my library even though they’re named the same and I’ve checked all the sorting options and tried renaming them multiple times. I mean what the hell.

Inside Pandora’s Fight with Spotify and Apple Music

John Paul Titlow, writing for Fast Company, looks at Pandora and their attempt to fight back the big streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music:

By shifting toward on-demand subscriptions, Pandora is hoping to add a new, much deeper layer of data and understanding to its artificial brain. By creating artist-based stations and thumbing songs, listeners can teach Pandora a lot—but behaviors like saving albums and listening to them on repeat or adding individual songs to playlists are vastly more informative (as Spotify and Apple already know). Right now, if you’re obsessed with the new Rihanna album, Pandora has no idea. These are the types of blind spots the service needs to fill in, especially if it wants to target superfans with special perks.

Data is just as crucial when it comes to selling concert tickets.

I’m fascinated by the idea of big music data and how it can find the perfect next band or album for a listener. I think Pandora is smart to be moving into trying to tie their music service into other things like selling concert tickets. But, I’m bearish on the company as a whole. They’ve been relegated to what is basically a feature in other apps and there’s no reason to pay for something you already get in a good enough fashion somewhere else.