Apple Music Needs Better Searching

It’s easy to search for Taylor Swift on Apple Music, but try searching for classical music; it’s a disaster. The reason is that Apple Music – and the iTunes Store – only offer single-criteria searches. There’s on search box, and you can type all sorts of terms into it – album names, artists, composers, etc. – but with no specifying which tag you want to search.

iTunes used to have a Power Search feature, which let you search for specific types of media (music, movies, etc.), and with search terms in fields to match specific tags. So you could search for a term in the Album tag in the iTunes Store, or you could find a movie by searching for the director’s name in the Director/Producer tag.

This search feature was demoted when Apple Music was launched, and with iTunes 12.7, was removed entirely.

Unfortunately, this makes searching for classical music very difficult. After reading Alex Ross’s article about John Eliot Gardiner and Monteverdi, I went to Apple Music to listen to one of his recordings. The problem is that his ensembles are called The English Baroque Soloists and The Monteverdi Choir. So the number of results that come up when searching for “Gardiner Monteverdi” is stultifying. (Yes, Sir John has recorded a lot of albums.)

Sure, there are two Monteverdi albums in that list, but there is a lot more Bach. To make things worse, this search only returns 21 albums, whereas clicking on the name of the artist on one of these album pages – English Baroque Soloists, John Eliot Gardiner, & The Monteverdi Choir – returns nearly 100 albums. But none of these searches return all the recordings that he made with this ensemble.

I know, Apple doesn’t care about classical music. But I’ll still complain that the way the company handles this genre shows contempt for the 5% of people who listen to this music. As I’ve written before, there is little information attached to classical recordings, their classical playlists are often stupid, and classical music is for more than just elevators.

There is a wealth of classical music on Apple Music, and if Apple were to devote some time to providing better search tools and more information, they would dominate the market for classical music streaming. I guess 5% of the market isn’t worth fighting for.