Mario Villalobos

Thoughts on Apple Music

I’ve been trying Apple Music since it came out a few weeks ago, and in the beginning, I added about half a dozen albums into my collection that I’ve since listened to many times. Just now I added two more albums into my collection, and I’m listening to one of these albums now. It’s amazing how easy it is to add something into my collection and immediately start listening to it. It’s a lot like Netflix or Hulu or any other video streaming site. You pay a monthly fee for access to a vast collection of media. But unlike movies and TV shows, the idea of renting music doesn’t gel with me that much.

The Apple Music trial ends in September, so I have a few more months to think about this and see if paying $9.99 a month (or $119.88 a year) is worth it. That’s 12 albums I could have bought versus the possibility of listening to something exponentially higher than that. I could listen to albums I used to “possess” before the great hard drive crash of 2012 or I could buy an album or two a month, and simply listen to them over and over and over again until I start craving them. That’s how I like to listen to music, and that’s something that I don’t think Apple Music can provide in a worthwhile way.

I don’t have this urge to buy all the movies and TV shows I watch from Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime, but I’m spending close to $300 a year on all these services1, yet I don’t feel like I’m wasting that money. Back in the old days, we could go to Blockbuster, chose a few movies to rent for $3.99 each or something, go home and watch them with the family, and then return them a couple of days later. We’ve been conditioned to treat video this way, and that’s a good way to experience this. Hell, we can only watch movies on the big screen for a limited time, and that’s how we’ve been experiencing movies since their invention over 100 years ago. But we’ve always bought music. Music is something you possess, whereas movies and TV shows are something you experience.

I know it’s not as binary as that (listening to a great album for the first time is a magnificent and irreplaceable experience, for example), but music is something that strikes a chord deeper within us, causing us to form this relationship with it that runs deeper than simply listening to something once and never listening to it again, like you might with a movie. The Godfather is a great movie, but I’ve only seen it once. If I ever get the chance to watch it again, I will, but I’m not craving it in any way. Whereas with music, I’ve listened to Miguel’s Wildheart album eighteen times, but I don’t own it, and I know I would be extremely sad once I don’t renew my Apple Music subscription and sadly see that album removed from my library.

So I’m in this struggle with opening up the floodgates and having this opportunity to listen to albums I’ve never would have thought to listen to, but then there’s that risk of being overloaded with music that I’m listening for quantity rather than quality. I won’t listen to an album 18 times anymore, but simply once or twice just to say that I have, like I can say I’ve seen the Godfather. I don’t know if I like that. I would rather own my music and proudly listen to it over and over and over again than dipping my toe into the vast stream of Apple Music’s catalog.

  1. Netflix + Hulu = 7.9912=95.882= $191.76. Amazon Prime is $99 a year, so 99+191.76=$290.76. ↩︎