iTunes vs the Music app

Horrible, horrible interface with its tremendous waste of space, hidden options, lack of distinction in fonts between artist and composer, etc. etc. etc. There’s a significant article re: the topic of Music’s abysmal failure to be any sort of upgrade to iTunes. Not that one is forthcoming at this late date.

I use iTunes on a couple of “obsolete” Macs to manage my music libraries. Kudos to Apple for keeping a version of iTunes available for download.


I still use iTunes 10.7 with CoverFlow as I have found it’s the easiest and best looking for managing my music library and can still be used as mentioned previously using Retroactive. I also have some “obsolete” Mac units such as a 2005 PowerPC Mini that runs iTunes 10.7 just fine as well as a few others so as long as those work, I’m happy.

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Totally agree with you on the catastrophe that is the Music app. Apple pushing users to its streaming service by putting making the app basically unusable for those of us who want our music to be in the Library and not online.


Hi Michael. Are you finding you can’t get the Music app to show your library like iTunes used to? There are some workarounds to wrestle it to the ground and get it to behave largely like iTunes did. View as Songs in particular, but also some other techniques. Music still has pretty well everything iTunes had I think.

Sorry, but that approach doesn’t work if the concept of an “album” as an individual piece of art is significant to you. Not all albums are art, of course, representing only some marketers idea of what will sell when compiled, but there are many, many examples of albums that are as significant as art, musically, as there might be compared to paintings and sculptures. “View as Songs” don’t cut it, in this case. It’s fine for a jukebox mode of presentation, but for serious listening, I want the album in one place, with as much cover art as I can get. The Music app comes up short, in my opinion.

This is getting way off topic so Adam is likely to either shut it down or start a new thread, so I’ll leave it at this…

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One feature that was deleted was the Radio component which had lists of stations by genre which were free. Now, Apple want’s you to pay for “radio” stations that are not always better than the free ones. Another reason I still use iTunes.

Music does allow you to open radio streams assuming you know the URL’s but the older Radio component was easier and fun to find new stations and/or genres.

Broadcasts is a nice little app that allows you to play internet radio. In some ways it’s nicer than having it part of iTunes.


Thanks for that information although I do have some radio apps for my iPhone. I was referring to the computer version of iTunes but I will check out the Broadcast app as well for on the go listening!

It’s almost like a metaphor for where things have gone wrong.

Old Apple: let’s give users a simple way to access all kinds of free radio content available over the web. Let’s build it right into macOS so even complete novices have easy access. iTunes is where we have all the other audio so there it goes.

New Apple: we need to sell people more services. $$$ FTW. So let’s remove our listing of free radio. They can go download some app somewhere if those plebs want free stuff. Instead, we’ll market the heck out of our pay-for-play streaming content. Maybe we can also push other services and then take a cut from there. $$$ Now lets’ see if we can add some ad revenue there too…


Although I rarely stream radio, I have found the following apps/sites to be useful:

  • TuneIn. Stream lots of radio stations via a web page. Their Mac app is available for download from the site (not present in the App Store). They also have an iOS app - either a free one with ads or a $10 “Pro” version without.
  • iHeart Radio. They look like they’re competing with Spotify and Apple Music, but they also offer streaming of Internet radio (which is available in the free tier), but it appears only iHeart affiliate stations. (iHeart Radio is owned by iHeart Media, which is a major radio syndicate formerly known as Clear Channel.) It looks like they have an iOS app, but Mac access is only via web browser.

Sorry, but that approach doesn’t work if the concept of an “album” as
an individual piece of art is significant to you.

I almost always play complete albums. Showing as songs works fine if you also turn on the column browser and add additional columns such as composer and groupings if desired (and if you don’t care about seeing the album art.) Just drill down in the browser or search for what you want. I’ve been doing it that way since at least itunes 10, probably longer.

It’s irritating that you have to set up the column browser for each playlist, but as is so often the case, Doug’s Applescripts has one for that: Playlist Views Manager (big sur up), which provides a floating pallet with options to apply to a selected playlist, including selecting which columns. He also has an article to show how to script a keyboard command to do a similar thing that only shows the default columns, but can apply it to all playlists. It should be easy to do something similar with keyboard maestro, too.


They have a Mac app too, that’s what I was trying to link to. Works well for listening to internet radio on the Mac :radio::grin:

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I am a big radio fan and have two apps, one of which is both iOS and Mac, that I find great. The first is an iOS app called Simple Radio (in App Store). It does a great job of looking up genres and specific radio stations. I have everything from classical music, jazz, oldies R&R and a great collection of Old Time Radio programs on it. Excellent app.

The other is TuneInRadio which is both iOS and Mac (and in App Store) which has both free and premium options. It is pretty good at offering a list of programs but also you can set up your own favorites. I would rate it a B+ though I find it sometimes gets in its own way lol.

Obviously this means you cannot have all in one app like you would like Music to be. I use the Music app only for my own music that I transfer over to it. Those items appear in the downloaded section. It is a clumsy app and is too busy trying to control our tastes for us in my opinion (read $$$$ streaming).


Why do I have to have workarounds to do basic actions? Why should it be so hard to put individual songs into an album? Why do I need to reread the instructions when I need to do something more that just play songs using Music? Playlists and View as Songs are not albums particularly if to organise classical music, language courses, science course, etc.

Apple cant seem to get its own application software up to a reasonable standard of good interface and functionality. Things might be better if Apple canvassed the users of its software instead of doing naval gazing in its ivory tower at Cupertino.


The cynical response has been alluded to by other folks: Apple is trying to drive its users to its streaming service (streaming is now, by far, the largest segment of the music market). The uncharitable response is that the group of engineers and managers who worked on iTunes were idi…I mean, people not very familiar with Apple’s own Human Interface Guidelines (think Jony Ives).

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Or maybe times change and Apple is designing the app around how the majority of people are using it. To be clear, I’m not happy with a lot of the interface changes, and would be very happy to still be using iTunes. But I also recognise that I’m in a minority and Apple needs to move with the times to stay relevant. They have done a reasonable job of keeping all the old options and interface modes around. It could be better, but it’s still the best music management software I’ve been able to find.

How? By making the text less readable? By hiding functions like choosing other libraries? Etc. I’m trying to avoid devoting the the time necessary to lay out a full exposition on this topic but my point is that Apple unnecessarily made worse than iTunes. There are quite a few examples of Apple removing functionality from its programs over the last several years–the transition from iTunes to is just one example…and I’m not even counting cases where Apple has supposedly added functionality but the execution leaves something to be desired (see Adam’s thread on iCloud drive sharing).

I have the ability to use the superior iTunes and do so, using Macs that are no longer supported by security updates. So I keep them air-gapped and do file transfers via sneaker net. I at least have the desired UX and presentation that I’ve grown used to. If anyone can point out any aspect of interface, design, operation, etc. where is an improvement over iTunes, I’d love to hear it.

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And I guess a follow-on question would be exactly how is “mov[ing] with the times to stay relevant”?

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Whether we like it or not, streaming is by far the most popular way people listen to music these days, so that’s what Music is based around. :pensive:

I’m sick and tired of being told I’m some kind of oddball minority special case and that somehow it’s only reasonable when Apple is screwing up my workflow. It supposes that I’m the problem and Apple is infallible. Well **** that. Who says they know what users truly want or that they can tailor to exactly that? Who says they have a plan and are acting according to it? The total makeovers every other release indicates the exact opposite. We know plenty well they screw up and are not infallible. We know plenty well they make mistakes they then years later reverse on when they finally get it (after the entire world having told them all the while). So stop acting like they have some kind of magic crystal ball that’s better than what regular people tell them time and again. And stop claiming without a shred of proof the problem is users’ workflow or users’ choices. No. Just stop. Apple needs to fix their stuff, unbreak the crap they have done, and stop obsessing with pushing short-sighted money grabs. That’s not who they were and it’s certainly not who they should be if they want to retain loyal happy users vs. a bunch of slaves they have in a choke hold.

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