Apple Music Lobotomizes Siri

forgot to say apple music and iTunes Match are two different things and must be purchased together - when I exceeded the 100K limit they blamed that on me and altho they initially insisted that apple music didn’t count against that 100K limit once all apple music was deleted my library started working again - so - adding iTunes Match to your Apple One subscription might allow you to play all your music shuffled or however you want to play it from your phone as a streamed service from iCloud - I get that having local music which I do on external drives at home that I can take to a party and play from my laptop blah blah blah - the music streaming service allows for much more than it used to and data is not affected such that most plans are unlimited and I occasionally get notified of my possibly reduced speed if I exceed such and such but I’ve never exceeded that limit with AT&T so - just some considerations and thoughts - enjoy!

this is why I’ve (reluctantly) maintained 2 libraries: one with over 100k tracks is on my desktop Mac, and is available on my local network, and a second smaller library on a laptop & external drive that uploads to iTunes Match etc., available wherever WiFi is available, and for use with a HomePod/AppleTV setup etc.

A pain, sometimes, but at least I know my main carefully curated library won’t get messed up (by Apple anyway).

Recently I noticed that when I was looking at the song view in my Music library on my iOS devices that the song names were all messed up, with weird, random names. However, the album view of the songs always showed the proper names, and the iTunes and Music app libraries on our MacOS machines were all fine. I tried a lot of different things to try to fix this, but the only fix that worked was to delete the songs and re-rip them from CD. I spent the better part of May and June doing this for the 198 CDs that had this problem.

I now have an archive external disk stored in a safe place with a copy of my iTunes library and all of the media files in case this happens again.

I have no idea how, why, or when this happened, or whether it’s an issue of iCloud Music Library or iTunes Match, but I’m hoping whatever it was never happens again.

I hear ya and did the same for years - then became trusting and wanted my whole library available everywhere I went - not just on wifi but cellular on any device so - altho it has been a pain to keep collated and or organized after getting messed up its still all there - lucky my backup of the main library quickly got disconnected when I saw the main library was toasted - didn’t re connect the backup until restored and then resumed copy nightly as I make changes typically daily to media one and media two is for backup of one which is the one that gets disconnected whenever an os update goes wrong - as for the wrong items displaying with your music re “Doug Miller” - I see that fairly frequently and assume its apples side of the issue as I don’t have it anywhere else - they put the wrong album cover on 10% of my albums - mostly the uploaded ones even tho I have put the correct one on my desktop in iTunes - they choose their own album cover to display on mobile so I just ignore it - never had the characters or spelling etc of the artists names go wonky on me - glad too as my only recourse is to use my back up of the main library to reset iTunes to its former glory - I update iCloud music library several times a day tho so it stays fresh!

  1. Not to my knowledge.
  2. I use other apps. The other apps still have (most of ) the access to your local library but don’t have access to Apple Music so they, (notably Cesium, but I use several others), just behave the way Music used to. (I’m not sure about Siri. I (almost) never use it.

You didn’t mention it, but it’s now exceedingly difficult to actually buy music from Apple, I’ve discovered. I’m ready for some other service, frankly.

You didn’t mention it, but it’s now exceedingly difficult to actually buy music from Apple, I’ve discovered

I used to be able to easily flag songs that I want on a wish list but most links to music only want you to put it on your current playlist or “like” it. Especially the Music App on Big Sur. It was worse when I had a trial of Apple Music for a month.

It seems you are either a buyer or subscriber to a music service. I would rather get more money to the artist, so I buy when I like it

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Some followups here from the OP…

(1) Great suggestion from @fogcitynative to set up Shortcuts. I’ve got a small enough number of playlists that I frequently want to shuffle through that it’s no problem to set up a shortcut for each of them. That gets Siri out of the business of trying to control the music app and just lets the shortcut do the work.

(2) Many thanks to @nigel for the magic incantation of “from my music”. That’s making a big difference. I hadn’t stumbled across that before; I kept focusing on the term “library” because that’s how it’s labeled in iTunes and in the Music app.

(3) Regarding the suggestion from @jzw – I believe the “Show Apple Music” setting is only available if you don’t actually have an Apple Music subscription. (I remember turning that off back in the day.) I can understand that once you’re paying for Apple Music, hiding it would be hiding access to something you’ve specifically chosen to pay for, which would be a bit strange (Apple One bundling aside).

(4) I intend to update my original message and send to Tim Cook’s address–thanks for the encouragement.

This has been really helpful, and is a great example of how TidBITS Talk is a benefit to the Apple community.

Dave Scocca


Yes, and iPods are almost completely abandoned now. Can’t download an Apple Music tune to iPod. Must own. But I’ve had to “chat” with Apple service every time I’ve wanted to purchase because I could not figure out how.

I think it’s sad. And it reminds me of many other companies that, while profitable, threw away a perfectly serviceable product in search of a “better” one. I wish they’d sell the good products off rather than abandoning them.

Just a reminder if you do cancel your Apple Music subscription backup you library first, when Apple Music goes it will delete everything from your library except what you’ve purchased from iTunes, including any CDs you’ve copied into your iTunes library.

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One reason I refuse to use Apple Music.

@JoeKM Wow. This is both useful to know (thank you!) and very very scary. Have you heard of any workarounds?

The solution is pretty simple. Say “play from my library playlist bob dylan”. I verified this by doing it and then turning off the internet. It played from my library.

Another option is to turn off Music in the cellular settings. Then it never goes to Apple Music, and you can omit the “play from my library”.

Unfortunately that is not true—it then tells me it can’t play the song because cellular streaming is not enabled, even though the song is stored on the phone.


Something is amiss with your settings. Works fine for me. One caveat - if I say play artist The Flatlanders it does not play in the same order as if I do it manually. play playlist does the right order.

I think this is a side effect of adding support for playing music from other services and apps like spotify, or podcast players. This “flexibility” makes it so Siri now doesn’t know the source of the audio you’re asking for and by default assumes apple music. If you ask them to play “from my library”, “from spotify”, “from podcasts” they’ll eventually start to default to that. And that can be even worse. And to rub salt in the wound, there’s no supported way to set the default on demand, occasionally Siri will ask you and you’d better answer it correctly, because you’re kind of stuck with the response.

So basically, because so many people wanted Siri to behave more like Alexa, now that Siri does and requires a more verbose and harder to remember command to provide us with the “flexibiliy” we kept hassling Apple for, we now get to ask for a song, not get what we wanted and then ask again more specifically.

This is definitely a case of be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

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Are you on iOS 15 beta? You can’t turn off the internet and get Siri to play music until then. (At least that’s what was announced at WWDC)

Really? You can’t just tell Siri to “set the default music player to Spotify” or something similar?

steve12, you misunderstand me. The internet is there via the cell network, but if you do not allow Music to use the cell network it will play from your library. Siri will work.

My local music server is in a box in storage in San Francisco. I move to Colombia. I’d accumulated 36,000 songs, and I had the whole Music Match and my library in the Cloud. Apple badly botched the transition away from iTunes to Apple Music.

All my playlists are still in Apple Music. But they all are EMPTY. No titles, no songs, no nothing. I’d like to maybe try to get me server shipped to me and put all my music and playlists on a small external drive. I still have all the songs as MP3s.