There’s so much to Apple’s new Music streaming service you aren’t using. Here’s how to make the most of the new platform.
This article is based around how to get the best out of your Apple Music app on iPhone and iPad.
Love Often, Love Everywhere
Apple Music is a platform that learns. It’s built on serving hand-curated playlists to you based on what you already like. Teaching it what you like is paramount to getting the best out of the lean-back/lean-forward hybrid. That’s why you need to take advantage of the hearing system.
By pressing the Heart icon on any track, it teaches the service to give you more things like what you just listened to, as well as more by that artist or deeper cuts based on you listening to a lot of it.
It’s not a service that’s going to take one like and throw a weird playlist at you like some services would: it’s going to understand the different genres that you like and serve up playlists in the For You section based on how long you listen to a particular genre of music. If you only like one rap song, for example, it’s not about to throw a bunch of Eminem and Drake playlists at you.
A good way of getting started with the Heart system is to select a few songs you already have in your iTunes library, right-click on them and select Love. The music you already own is a good cross-section of what you’re into and want to listen to more in the future.
From there, Apple will throw more at you based on what you gave a Heart to.
As you continue to listen to the service, you’ll find you’re able to Heart stuff everywhere. The button is on the lock screen, inside the Music app and on the Command Centre from the Home screen. Love everywhere, love often. That’s the real key to making Apple Music Better
Have you seen High Fidelity? It’s this great movie all about music. The cool thing about Apple Music is that everything is hand-curated by people who know as much about music and genres as the guys who work at Championship Vinyl.
Because these playlists are hand-built and not algorithmically built, you need to recognise how long you’re going to get out of a playlist. Playlists found in For You or New sections of the app are going to be anywhere from 15 to 30 songs long, most commonly. They’re organised in a specific order so that there’s almost a narrative to the playlist you choose.
If you want something that’s slightly longer play, jump into some of the iTunes Radio stations. The stations are still curated, but they play almost indefinitely, and with a paid subscription you can skip songs to your heart’s content.
The For You section in Apple Music actually gives you a really great cross section of content hand-picked for you based on the things you’ve been Hearting across the service.
Interestingly, it serves up different playlists to you at different times. For example, in the morning it will give you a cool playlist to wake up to, as well as a playlist to kick start your morning workout. It’s a bit like Netflix in that no two people will really ever have the same recommendations delivered to their device.
Curiously, that content evolves throughout the day, so pulling down on the For You screen to refresh it as you would in the Facebook or Twitter apps for example gets you new recommendations based on the time of day.
And if you don’t like any of the recommendations you’ve been served, hold down on the playlist recommendation and select I Don’t Like This Suggestion.
Get The Beats 1 Schedule
Beats 1 is Apple’s big project with Music: a big radio station streaming music and interviews 24-hours a day, 7 days a week to iPhones, iPods, iPads and iTunes. Beats 1 is a huge beast, so you need to know what to listen to when.
If you tap the Beats 1 album artwork, you’ll be able to get a list of what’s coming up. Alternatively, you can go to Apple’s Beats 1 Tumblr page (yes, really), to get a look at the full schedule.
Use Siri Contextually
Forgot the name of Bigger Than Hip Hop by Dead Prez and thought Siri could help. She over delivered. Holy crap. pic.twitter.com/oOVtiKezLQ— Luke Hopewell (@lukehopewell) July 8, 2015
Siri got an update in iOS 8.4 to help her understand context. Rather than having to figure out what’s playing and ask her to do something in detail, you can be more vague. Say you’re listening to a Chet Faker track and want to listen to the whole album it came from. By asking “play this whole album up next”, she’ll figure out what you’re listening to, what the album is and respond accordingly.
Siri also has deeper integration into Apple Music than you realise. You can ask her to play pretty much anything, and she’ll trawl through the Apple catalogue in seconds to return a result, build a playlist and start playing.
Go ahead and ask her to play the most popular song from the month you were born for a bit of a fun test.
As a more practical example, Siri also looks at the most popular tracks by different artists. Asking her to “play that song by Dead Prez” (like I did last night) means that she takes the most popular track by that artists and puts it into your ears. It’s awesome.
Drill Down Into New Based On Genre
The New section on Apple Music has a bit more depth than you may realise. Whereas the iTunes Music storefront has previously been for very popular new releases, the New section on Apple Music returns different results based on the genre you’re interested in.
It automatically collates a selection of Genres by default, but if you select the Genre drop-down menu at the top of the New panel, you’ll get a massive number of choices with a different New page for each.
Soundtrack Your Life
Scroll down on the New page and you’ll find something called Activities. It’s a section with music specifically catered to doing a particular action in your life.
It’s well worth exploring. Each activity will have playlists inside it that cater to every genre. Say you want to get busy with your partner to some music, the Getting It On activity will provide you with music selections from every genre to cater to your lovemaking. Really.