iCloud Music Library & Apple Music

Consider carefully

This is a mixture of news, opinion, and warning. Caveat lector.

Over the past few weeks I've come to the realisation that some of us should avoid using Apple's new music services, iCloud Music Library and Apple Music. For the time being, that is.

What is iCloud Music Library?

Basically this option on your Mac, iPhone and iPad is for getting all your iTunes music on all your devices.

Apple Music, Radio, iTunes

  1. Apple Music is a streaming music service, similar to Spotify and Pandora. You can play music you don't have or own.
  2. There's a new "radio" station in iTunes called Beats 1. Other "radio" stations too.
  3. Apple Music a way to get all your music and other music on all your devices.

Confused? Throw into the mix another Apple service called iTunes Match and now even the experts are confused. There are lots of recent articles on the subject, like this from Jim Dalrymple of The Loop.

Apple has created a PR and organisational mess. What's worse is that some iTunes users with curated music collections have had problems like disappearing tracks, changed and missing artwork, and more. Don't let this happen to you!

Is your iTunes Library curated?

If you've spent time adding artwork to tracks, editing tags, or adding information, then yours is a curated library, and you should beware. If you want, try Apple Music on one device that doesn't contain your master library, turn off iTunes Match if you have it, and don't enable iCloud Music Library.

If, on the other hand, you just buy all your music from the iTunes Store, or add piles of mp3s to the library and play them as they are, then you'll probably be happy with the new services.

No matter what you do with your iTunes library, make sure it's backed up. The loudest complaints I've read have come from people with no backup. And I must say that there's a lot to like about Apple Music. I hope they get it right. Very soon.