[Editor: Be sure to read Dave Mark’s response to this post]
I love Apple. I love them because they take difficult problems and come up with innovative, simple solutions. The things they make just work and we trust them. Unfortunately, my experience with Apple Music has been exactly the opposite. As of today, I’m missing about 4,700 songs from my library with little hope of getting them back.
I had high hopes for Apple Music. I really wanted it to work and become my default music streaming service, but after the problems I’ve experienced over the last couple of weeks, I’m disabling it altogether.
My problems started about a week after installing Apple Music. While Apple Music Radio and Playlists worked well, adding music to my library is nothing short of a mind-blowing exercise in frustration.
I started to notice that whenever I added an album to my library, not all of the songs would get added. When I looked at the list of songs, there would be some missing—sometimes, most of the album would be missing. When I clicked the “Show Complete Album” button on my Mac, all of the missing songs would show up with an “Add” button beside them.
Why do that when I already told Apple Music to add the album?
From what I can tell in my tests, Apple Music is deciding itself, based on your library, that it will not add duplicate songs. For instance, I purchased a lot of Black Sabbath albums over the years, but not all of the compilations. I went into Apple Music and added a compilation album, but it didn’t all get added to my library. When I looked at all of the songs that didn’t get added, they were ones that I already had in my library.
In another example, I added Bob Dylan’s “Blonde On Blonde” and his “Greatest Hits” albums. The “Greatest Hits” was short three songs—the same three songs that are on “Blonde On Blonde,” so Apple Music chose not to add them to the “Greatest Hits” album. It’s not unreasonable to want to listen to an album in the context the artist wrote it, and then other times, just listen to their greatest hits. It’s my choice to make.
However, if I decide I really want those songs, when I click the “Add” button, nothing happens, which seemed odd to me. If adding the songs is an option, why won’t they add to the library. I went to my iPhone and tapped “Show Complete Album”—when I tapped on the song to add it, the option was to “Remove from My Music.” This means that my iPhone thinks it’s already added, but the song isn’t showing up. What I had to do is go through all of the songs, remove them from the library, and then click add to get them back in the library.
I went through about 15 albums one night and manually added all of the missing songs. It was frustrating, to say the least, but I did it. I nearly lost my mind the next morning when I checked my iPhone and Apple Music and taken out all of the songs I added the night before. I was right back where I started.
In some cases, like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, a few of the songs show up twice on one album. When you tap to play the song, they both show the animated icon in iTunes, as if they are both playing. Note in the screenshot that the songs are different in terms of their length of playing time. Either Apple Music shaved a few seconds off one of the tracks, or they’re from different albums.
Other strange things have happened too. For instance, I added ZZ Top’s “The Very Baddest” album. Instead of downloading all of the songs from that album, it downloaded them from multiple albums. So now I have several ZZ Top albums, each with a few songs on them.
Apple Music also decided that I like Electronica and Pop music. I found this out by going to the setup screen to redo my entire account and see that if that helped fix my original problem. I deleted the categories and bands that Apple Music put in, but it didn’t help the overall problem.
In another case, I own Led Zeppelin IV—and all of their other albums. However, when I look at it in Apple Music, it doesn’t recognize that I have it and gives me the option to add it to my library. With all of the other problems I’ve been having, I didn’t even bother trying that.
I tried adding one Neil Young album six times and it just wouldn’t go into my library. I finally just gave up.
If all that wasn’t enough, none of my devices seem to sync, so my Macs don’t have the same songs that my iPhone has, and neither of them match my iPad.
The Recently Added from one of my Macs
Taken at the same time, the Recently Added from another of my Macs
I’ve tried logging out of my accounts on all my devices and allowing Apple Music to rebuild itself. I’ve turned iCloud Music Library on/off and I’ve done just about everything else I can think of doing. Nothing I’ve tried works.
The only thing that changed since I started using Apple Music is transferring my Beats account to my new Apple Music subscription. I can’t say for sure if that caused all of these problems or not, but it was around the same time.
I know I’m not the only one having this problem. There are threads on Apple’s support forums detailing similar issues to the ones I’m having, and I’ve noticed tweets in my stream reporting the same problems.
At some point, enough is enough. That time has come for me—Apple Music is just too much of a hassle to be bothered with. Nobody I’ve spoken at Apple or outside the company has any idea how to fix it, so the chances of a positive outcome seem slim to none.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Apple Music gave me one more kick in the head. Over the weekend, I turned off Apple Music and it took large chunks of my purchased music with it. Sadly, many of the songs were added from CDs years ago that I no longer have access to. Looking at my old iTunes Match library, before Apple Music, I’m missing about 4,700 songs. At this point, I just don’t care anymore, I just want Apple Music off my devices.
I trusted my data to Apple and they failed. I also failed by not backing up my library before installing Apple Music. I will not make either of those mistakes again.
I’m going to listen to what’s left of my music library, and try to figure out all of the songs I have to buy again. I’ll also download Spotify and reactivate the account I cancelled with them a couple of weeks ago.