Ten years ago Apple ruled the digital music world. Their answer to piracy was easy to use, reliable and addictive. The iPod made it possible to take all your music with you in your backpocket. And iTunes made syncing and listening to music fun.

I discovered a lot of music by browsing the iTunes Store and listening to samples these days.
But after the iPhone came out something changed. Technology became truly mobile and once the iPhone learned how to wirelessly sync contacts, notes and calendars, and the App Store removed the need to sync to iTunes to get new Apps, I stopped syncing my iPhone every day. 

Around that same time Spotify arrived and it did to music what services like Dropbox and Evernote did to my files and notes: they made discovering music truly mobile. Not only by making it available wherever you were, because that’s something iTunes Match also provided, but by making the process of discovering music and getting it on your device just as easy as it was to look something up in Safari on your iPhone. The entire world in the palm of your hands. 

So for almost five years now I haven’t used iTunes at all. I listen exclusively through Spotify. Their collection is massive (Zeppelin, Metallica, Paco Lucia), and I like their themed playlists. Plus the easy way to pick what you want stored locally on your device trumps Apple’s current solution. 

Yesterday Apple showed of their answer to streaming in the form of  Music. It’s part classic iTunes, it’s part streaming, and apparently it’s also a social network to discover cool artists. Or American Hiphop stars that I don’t like. I’m not sure. 

At first glance I like what they offer: all the music you want for ten bucks a month. But I’ve got some questions though..

  • What’s the difference between iTunes Match and  Music? Why do both still exist?
  • Is all of iTunes available for streaming?
  • Is creating playlists containing both purchased and streamed media seamless?
  • Why would you still buy Music if you can stream and cache it?
  • Can you cache music?

In short, I find the difference between: purchased, streamed and plain MP3s in this concept confusing. 

In contrast, Apple Music is discouragingly reminiscent of recent iTunes versions, packing too many things into one box without a coherent organizing vision. Sort of like the last half-hour of today’s keynote. – Dr. Drang

Luckily Apple offers a three month trial beginning June 30th. So we’ll see how it goes. I just need to find a way to sync my Spotify playlists to iTunes. Any suggestions?