8:30 PM day-before I check for an iOS update. Its there - iOS 8.8.4. Immediately, I start the download and install. 10 minutes later, I open the Apple Music app for the first time. The words “(Apple) Music” greet me. I choose the family plan. And wait...
Nothing happens. Just “Updating your library” running. Nothing for 5 minutes. I quit the app and re-open it. There we go!
(Now, I don’t know if this happened only to me, but I immediately understood the app is going to be heavy and slow for my iPhone 6.)
I swiftly chose the genres I liked, my favourite artists and hit next. And as I listened to my first song on Music, I realised the Apple-ness of the service. It was beautiful.
Coming to the business. Personally, Apple Music for me was a ray of light in the darkness of lack of music. Staying in India, english music streaming services are scarce: no Spotify, Rdio, Pandora or Beats Music. I used to rely on Saavn, probably the best app for english music streaming in India simply because it actually had latest songs. But even on that, not everything was available. For me, that was a big problem. And guess what, my favourite company from the other side of Earth saved me. Apple Music is a charm to use. Good quality music, huge number of songs and great curation.
Apple has done a great job with the music here. But is it good enough to stand out? That answer is a healthy YES, not because I love it, but because I need it. I have never paid for Saavn or Spotify (that I use over VPN) simply because they weren’t very good. But when I hit the family subscription plan on Music, I did not hesitate.
However, not everything is good about Apple Music. First of all, the 3 month free plan isn’t for Android, which is big blow for Android users. And because majority of India (and the world) lives with Android, Apple might have just lost a million more subscribers.
The next big downside is the app itself. As I mentioned in the beginning, from the very first moment I opened the app, it felt laggy and took up significant amounts of battery. The app is pretty crammed - Apple had way too much to put in just 5 tabs (and the older 5 tabs from the original Music app compressed into one). Plus, the interface is not particularly easy to navigate, with so many buttons, tabs and options for each song. One thing they nailed is the mini player, because without that navigation would be hell. Again, I’m not saying the app is not usable, but it surely could be better by Apple’s standards.
So would I continue using Apple Music forever? Probably, yes. In India, the single user cost is just $2 (Rs. 120) compared to the $10 in the US. The family plan is $3 (Rs. 190), and that small amount for 6 family members to listen to a million songs is a really worthy deal.
Will I recommend Music? If you are on Spotify, just try Music by downloading iTunes/on your iDevice. If you are in India and need english music, Apple Music is the way. If you aren’t paying for any service, check Music out for 3 months. If you are in an Apple ecosystem, Music is an obvious choice.
And this is it. Should I say RIP Spotify? Not yet at least. I’ll address that later. For now, lets enjoy the Music!