Apple Music - I hate thee

I hate Apple Music and the App more than I can say. I prefer to simply buy what I want or RIP from CD. Annoyingly, this will destroy all my playlists but it will be worth it.

As mentioned in another thread, I have hundreds of songs in my library with a cloud status of Ineligible, even though they’ve all been legally purchased.

I’m going back to 20 year old (literally) Apple IDs to try and find the magic potion to make them play again. In frustration I decided to just sort the songs and re-buy whatever I need. Amazingly, Apple Music can’t even sort correctly. Here is its attempt to sort by Cloud Status - noting how Ineligible and Waiting status tracks are mixed together and not sorted.:

IMHO Apple Music is Apple’s worst product ever - surpassing even the hockey puck mouse. It’s a confused, bloated, buggy, unreliable, steaming pile - and the sooner I can be rid of it the better.

Feel free to fire me alternatives.

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My wife and daughter both love Spotify. No integration with the Music app, but that’s just fine. If you’re streaming content then you don’t need it.

The downside is that there appears to be a spitting match between Apple and Spotify, making it mostly incompatible with HomePods. (You can run Spotify on a phone or iPad and then AirPlay to a HomePod, but that’s a bit flaky, and there’s no way to do it directly).

For myself, I don’t really care that much. I’ve purchased enough music that I’m happy sticking with my own ripped collection (never once activated Match or the Music service). I dabbled with the free tier of Pandora for a while and it works well, but I rarely bother with it.

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I’ve had my weird issue with iTunes / Music which I’ve detailed before, but other than that one problem it’s been rock-solid for me for playing and mangling music, playlists, etc. Most of my music is ripped from CD, I do have some purchased iTunes music (purchased with both my Apple ID and my wife’s; even having changed my Apple ID from one email address to another still allows me to play the oldest songs), and there are some songs I’ve downloaded and not purchased since becoming an Apple Music subscriber. So maybe that’s why it’s been working well for me.

When I click “Songs” in the sidebar and have the Cloud Status column displayed, clicking the column name sorts it properly. That’s the way I’ve always changed sorting in iTunes / Music. I’ve never used the View Options menu - right-clicking the column names allows me to add columns, and clicking the column name toggles between sort ascending and descending.

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Homepods are a great frustration. Today I went into my back room to do some weights. We have a Homepod mini out there and I said ‘Hey Siri, play The Pretender by Foo Fighters’. It played about 30 seconds then switched to another tune (Melanie - Lay Down). After some swearing I pulled the plug to shut it down. I looked at my phone and it had activated Music and had Melanie playing on the phone - and also on my watch.

I went to my phone, selected Library/Artists and selected Foo Fighters. It started to play a series of FF songs from Apple Music which aren’t in my library. WHY!!!

I know what I want to listen to and don’t want Apple, or anyone else, predicting what I might like. If I request things in my Library that’s what I expect to get. It’s so intrusive and it’s the final straw in me dropping Music. They can shove it.

One positive, my foul mood had me smashing the weights…

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I haven’t done this myself on my Mac that runs Ventura (my main music library is on an older Mac Pro running Mojave), but apparently one is able to use iTunes instead of Music. Perhaps it will solve some of your frustrations. In my experience, iTunes is much more reliable about sorting, playlists, etc.

Also, the tracks that are “ineligible”, if you do an “Information” look up (select song, Command I), what does it say in the File tab on the upper right? And if you open in Finder and do the same (Command I), what does it say in the General section?

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Unfortunately Googling suggests there’s no iTunes version which runs on Sonoma.

The Ineligible tracks present a file path which is valid and can be located in the Finder. Keep in mind these can now be played - they just show as ineligible.

The Waiting files show no path - it just says Waiting where the file path should be.

A quick look through my song list shows the followings status’:

Purchased
Uploaded
Matched
Apple Music
Ineligible
Waiting
Duplicate
Error

A few of these aren’t even mentioned in the Apple Docs I’ve found on Cloud Status.

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Regarding the iTunes suggestion from above, I’ve mentioned before about using the Retroactive app to install older versions of iTunes such as the one I use which is 10.7 CoverFlow and it does work on Sonoma with a few caveats which I posted a few weeks ago:

I don’t know what Mac you’re using but I’ve installed iTunes on an M1 Air running Sonoma and also on my older 2012 Mac Mini running Sonoma (previously Ventura and Big Sur) using Open Core Legacy Patcher. It’s possible that it could help you recover some of your missing files since you probably purchased them when you had iTunes and maybe you could use them later in the Music app. I don’t use Music since I’m still happy with iTunes but I suppose that eventually there will be no way to use it on newer OS’s. Once a stable version of Sequoia comes out, I will upgrade and see if iTunes will still run under that system.

EDIT: I should add that besides 10.7, you can also choose from iTunes 11.4, 12.6.5 or 12.9.5 but I’ve only used 10.7 primarily.

Here is an article regarding the Retroactive app:

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I was hoping this would show some useful information, but no luck. DRM is horrible. Frustrating to navigate when one just wants to play music!

Are the ineligible songs low resolution? Specifically less than 128kbps?

Or is it that they are no longer available due to licensing restrictions? (I’ve run into this before, where songs I ripped from CD, uploaded to iTunes Match subsequently were not available to download because some change to publishing rights)

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I should look into Retroactive at some point. I got so fed up with Apple’s Music app when I upgraded to Monterey that I moved my music, podcasts, and audiobooks to iTunes on a Mojave VM I set up for a handful of apps that never made it to 64-bit.

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I was using iTunes 10.7 with Mojave using the CoreFP trick but when Retroactive came out, I was able to use iTunes on Catalina with no issues.

As I mentioned, there are some issues running iTunes on a newer system like Sonoma but I use iTunes primarily for music playback with tracks I’ve already ripped from CD’s or digitized records on my older Catalina system. I don’t have any purchased tracks through the iTunes store. My M1 Air setup using iTunes 10.7 would not recognize my LG Bluray/CD recorder although it works fine with the Finder or other apps like XLD so if I didn’t have my old computer, I would just rip in XLD and then import the tracks. So there are some quirks but those might not be present in the later versions of iTunes like 12.9.5 or similar.

Use Roon. It’s the best music database service, period.

It takes metadata from your files themselves (so you want an editor to make the tags inside your music files have everything you want), except for genre, where you can optionally fill the field from its online tag sources to fill out accurately.

Plex is ok for music too, but works differently with metadata; mainly tagging from online sources (like their video metadata tagging does), rather than internal file metadata.

Best for’s:
Roon = music / Plex = video.

The only problem is Roon is quite expensive really, so you better love your music enough to want to pay the cost for it. ;-)

Oh, and neither integrate with streaming services from Apple Music or Spotify. Plex integrates only with Tidal. Roon only integrates with Tidal and Qobuz (the latter is very good for smaller indie releases along with the major releases), or KKBox (streamer available in Far East markets: Brunei, Hong Kong & Macau, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, & Taiwan).

Personally, I use both Apple Music app (with iTunes Match) using ALACs, and Roon using FLACs - both have the same music. I do this as a kind of backup library mirroring each other. So no, I don’t buy DRM’d music accordingly. Might take an AM subscription in future as it matures (for the Apple Music library), and/or also a Qobuz one (for the Roon library) – and possibly to get more in to the hi-res/surround stuff. Storage is cheap these days, so having two 200K track lossless libraries is even reasonably affordable in fast NVMe storage.

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I have now ripped my 1,200 CDs twice and it looks like I need to go for #3. In the early days, I ripped them to mp3 to save space. 3 years ago, I re-ripped them to AAC and double-checked that iCloud match and my Mac were 100% synced using smart playlists based on Cloud Status.

Around a year ago I noticed that some ripped tracks went back to mp3. Using smart playlists again, I found that selected tracks or entire CDs somehow reverted - there are 3,200 tracks in my mp3 playlist.

I re-ripped all of my ABBA CDs to AAC in March of this year and a few weeks later - BOOM! Back to mp3. I am out of ideas.

Why are you using Match at all? Every report I’ve read about it shows it to be a nightmare for things just like this - content gets randomly replaced with the wrong content all the time - including audio, artwork and metadata. Just turn it off and never look back.

And after the first round of problems, why make Music your sole repository? After ripping your tracks to get good copies, put them somewhere else that’s not in the Music database - like an external drive or DVDs - so you can put them back after damage like this.

FWIW, I’ve done this for all the tracks I transferred from cassettes, due to the extreme amount of effort that would be needed to redo it. After editing with Audacity, I export them to AIFF and archive them to a folder on my SSD and to DVDs. I later copied the AIFF files to Music, and use it to convert them to AAC, and delete the AIFFs from Music. But the original AIFFs are always available on those DVDs and in my archive folder.

As for what’s happening, my assumption is that Match uploaded your MP3s at some point, because they didn’t match anything in the music store. And later on, Match saw your AAC files and identified them as the same as the MP3s, but didn’t care about the change in format. So it kept the MP3 on the server, which later ends up replacing your local AAC files, because Match thinks they’re identical.

I don’t know if there is a way to tell Match to purge its archive of your uploads so you can start from scratch. I think that’s what you’ll need to do if you want to keep using Match.

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I still don’t know how to do this, but I found this discussion thread on Ask Different:

Based on the various answers there, I think this should work (I recommend making a backup before you try this):

  • Delete the matched/uploaded track from your library. When asked for confirmation, tell it you want to delete both the original and the iCloud version, and delete the item from your local database (move the file to the Trash).
  • Then Go to Store → Update iTunes Match to sync everything
  • Now, add your AAC file to the library
  • Do another Store → Update iTunes Match to sync again

Hopefully, this will delete the MP3 version from iCloud and replace it with your AAC version.

But note that if the song is available from the Music store, the system might match your song with it, causing it to replace your track with the store copy, which might not be the same as what you ripped.

But since I don’t use Match, I can’t give you more information than this. And since some of these answers are from 2011, it is likely that the specific menus and prompts you see may be different from what I wrote. But it may be worth a try - try it on only a couple of songs before making a wholesale change.

Oh, absolutely, I totally get it. Apple Music is a masterpiece of confusion and inefficiency. Its byzantine UI is a delightful puzzle, turning every simple task into an adventurous quest. Who needs straightforward navigation when you can learn an entirely new, baffling protocol? And all those features! It’s like they packed in every possible option without any of those pesky benefits. Buggy and unreliable? Just keeps things exciting, right?

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A few years back I tried the 3 month trial of Apple Music. The ability to listen to just about anything I ever owned, and just about anything I’m interested in - with great fidelity - sort of blew me away. So I kept it.

I’ve always been a music fan and listen a lot more since retiring. I frequently go down rabbit holes of different genres or artists and I am always amazed by how easy this is to do by tapping away on my phone that streams to my hi fi setup.

So I’ve moved on. I just sold my collection of about 400 albums to a record store. My cds, many of which sound way better than the album version, will go to Goodwill.

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I’ll never try to convince you to change your personal preferences, but I’d point out a few facts:

  • Your CDs probably sound better than any streaming service, Apple or otherwise.
  • Any and all streaming services are rentals. If your subscription ends, so does your access to it all.
  • You are at the mercy of the service provider. Your favorites could be removed from the catalog at any time, for any reason, and without notice.

For this reason, I plan on forever keeping my physical media. My Mac and iPod (and in the future, other devices) are kept populated with the ripped tracks, and I don’t subscribe to any service that has the potential to delete/replace/alter those tracks. So I’ll be able to listen to my collection pretty much forever, even if I someday can’t do it with Apple software.

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A lot of people used to recommend Swinsian as an alternative to Apple’s music players. Sadly it appears to have withered on the vine - the current download was built in July 2021 and is an Intel build.
I’m still keen to hear of any alternatives - I’m ready to totally forget Apple Music and all its associated apps.

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As bloated and quirky as it was, iTunes is a pretty good music “jukebox” tool for the Mac. Apple is now more concerned with diverting users to their cloud services and discouraging (or blocking) local/offline libraries.

My 2014 mini must either remain “off the grid” with macOS 10.14 or I have to experiment with Retroactive to get iTunes loaded onto a newer system, then add RF dongle and software to keep using my original “stick of gum” white Apple remote and other custom things. Just been too busy in recent years to tackle that project.

Just have to put up with the shuffle play having those little not-so-random bursts of 2-3 songs from the same album.

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I only recently began trying to use Apple Music, and I agree it’s Apple at its absolute worst of trying to control what we do with our Macs to boost their cash flow. Is there a nice simple Music player for the Mac that will let me play what I want to hear without shuffling or otherwise futzing with it?

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