I’ve been very vocal about the problems I’ve had with Apple Music since it was released, but the service has improved quite a bit over the last couple of months, so I should be just as vocal about that. One of the more significant improvements I’ve found is with Apple’s built-in radio stations. In fact, it’s changed how I listen to music.
I always listened to the music in my library, instead of songs on the radio. I’m not sure if I listen to music differently than other people or what it was, but Apple’s choice of songs on streaming radio never really worked for me.
When I have people over, or I’m driving, I want to hear songs that are familiar. If I select an AC/DC track, I expect to hear Rock songs, and songs that I know well. I really enjoy a drive with AC/DC, Metallica and other bands like that blasting away.
Apple seems to have figured that out because recently, that’s exactly what I’ve been getting. Songs I know, hit after hit, with very few exceptions.
I stopped using the “Play More Like This” feature in the radio stations. I just let Apple’s algorithm choose the songs for me without any intervention. I don’t know why, but overall, the station does much better without me messing with it.
That brings up a problem ‘I’ve always had—how do I find new music? There’s not much new music in the stations I make, and that’s perfectly fine, because I’m looking for familiarity with those stations. So, I turned to Apple’s built-in music stations.
The one I listen to the most is Hard Rock. When I’m in the mood for background music, or I’m exercising, or otherwise in the mood to find new music, I’ll play the Hard Rock station.
I’ve been impressed and surprised by how much new music I’ve found. There’s definitely been some changes to the way Apple is curating the stations because the song choices and different—and much better—than when the service started.
I’ll often “Love” a song when listening to the station. This affects how “For You” works, so Apple Music will begin to recommend more music and bands like the songs I’ve previously loved. That leads to more new music.
When I first started using Apple Music, I thought “For You” would be the way I’d find most of my music, but it’s actually through the curated radio stations that I’ve been most successful. “For You” has become a secondary path for playlists and albums that I can use, and I do.
I’ve found myself reaching for my iPhone to “Love” a song only to see that I already did—that’s when I add it to my library. Sometimes I add it on the first play, but if I try to “Love” a song a second time, I must really like it.
I’ve been using Apple Music like this for a couple of months and it’s working really well for me. In fact, it’s rare that I’ll play an album from my library anymore—in the past, that’s all I’d play.
I’d really like to have an area in the Apple Music app where I could see all the songs that I’ve “Loved” over time. There is some great music that I need to add to my library.
For now, this method of listening to some of my favorite songs and finding new music is working quite well for me.