It’s also cool how Apple pays homage to radios of old, with a smart “Tune This Station” slider which adjusts to Hits, Variety, or Discovery and then matches songs accordingly.
Sharing is Caring
Hipsters rejoice! while this isn’t the “mixtape” feature I’ve been clamoring for, it’s still pretty great. The stations you create need care and feeding to grow into your dependable dance party juggernaut or that perfect smooth jazz station to set the mood with your honey. Much like Pandora, it learns based on your song voting likes and dislikes; in addition to the aforementioned “Tuner” to help get the station just right.
But what makes this noteworthy, is the shared stations continue to morph as you update them; so you’re essentially curating music for your followers. It’s like a living “mixtape” or your own personal radio station. The artisanal pickle is so over, a new cottage industry could grow as music trendsetters curate handcrafted music stations for their followers/customers.
Other high notes include:
- two tap song purchase with Touch ID
- the basics: sound quality, music selection, performance
- history lists all songs, organized by device and station
- purchased songs can be played from history
- Siri command to play stations, like, dislike, wish list, and Shazam songs
I’m clearly pleased with iTunes Radio, but is it perfect? No. A few features have fallen flat, for example, there’ve been a few glitches with the learning algorithm, not Apple’s forte.
THE OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT.
Let’s just put it out in the open. For about a year I was a blissful listener, then had an awkward radio moment that just wouldn’t go away.
Glitchy Tuning Algorithm
Holiday Season, 2014. I created the perfect Christmas Jazz station: festive, smooth, but not too kitschy. We had been enjoying the station for a few days when, suddenly like a loud drunk at a office party, AC/DC’s “Back In Black” barges in; huh? Alright, maybe the algorithm had a hiccup, select “Never Play This Song” and all’s well. No, it kept on happening, two Christmas Jazz songs, then Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” followed by Billy Joel’s “Stranger.” This was not ready for prime time: namely our holiday house party. Conspiracy theorists, my wife and I were certain someone was messing with us.
So that happened. Maybe there wasn’t a large enough set of songs intersecting at Christmas and Jazz? Maybe someone really was messing with us. I still don’t have a definitive answer, but there it is, if anyone from iTunes Radio is reading, there’s a bug.
Stand Alone Mobile App
iTunes Radio should be pulled from the Apple Music App; let’s make note of a few reasons why:
Reduce taps, currently it’s: tap once to open Apple Music App, tap twice to select the iTunes Radio App, tap thrice to select a station.
Seamless switching between Music and iTunes Radio Apps, if separated you wouldn’t have to breadcrumb out to switch between the two.
Consistent UI/UX for Android and iOS, if Apple wants to reach across the aisle to Android users, a stand alone app is better suited and will have greater adoption than somehow mixing radio and iTunes together.