Apple Music’s For You Selections Are not For Me

So, day 1 with Apple Music. I find the whole thing a bit confused (more on that in future articles), but, like an obedient user, I went through the For You setup, where you select genres and artists you like. It’s a very poor interface, with bubbles moving around like in a carnival shooting game. And you can’t choose artists by searching for them; you can only pick what shows up.

After choosing a few genres – rock, jazz, and classical – and a couple of artists, I eventually got a few I like. I gave up there, though; I would have added more, but it had taken so long to simply pick four. Presumably, it displayed those artists because of the music on my iPhone; I’ve never bought any music by the Grateful Dead from the iTunes Store, nor anything by Brian Eno.

For you 1

So I went to see what Apple Music thought I’d like. It did suggest playlists by both Brian Eno and the Grateful Dead, but did it really think I needed an “Intro to Grateful Dead?”

For you 2

What I did notice is that when it suggests albums, by groups of four, at least one of the four albums is something I would never, ever listen to. Like here; find the odd one out:

For you 3

What’s also odd is that three of those albums are already on my iPhone; that’s not trying very hard.

Apple knows a lot about my musical tastes. It knows what I’ve bought from the iTunes Store, and it knows what’s in my iTunes library through its Genius feature. So it should get a lot better than that.

Also, since I selected jazz as a genre, I would have expected more than just one jazz album in its recommendations (John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme).

But I’m not alone. Khoi Vinh wrote that his recommendations are way off the mark too. I suspect this is the case with a lot of people, and I’m going to speculate that it’s more common with those who have eclectic tastes.

Over time, Apple Music is supposed to learn from what you like, and what you don’t. In the recommendations in the For You section, you can tap an album and press until you see a (very long) menu. Tap Recommend Less Like This to tell Apple Music that you don’t like their selection. But that doesn’t remove it from the recommendations.

For you 4

However, you cannot do this in iTunes on a computer. Seriously. You can’t fine-tune recommendations in iTunes… Sigh.

18 thoughts on “Apple Music’s For You Selections Are not For Me

  1. It could also be possible that the incorrect suggestion is actually hidden advertising for most prominent artists.

  2. It could also be possible that the incorrect suggestion is actually hidden advertising for most prominent artists.

  3. I noticed all the bubbles were artists that were physically on my iPhone – albums that I had sync’d from my library from my “Recently Added Classical”, Pop and “5-Star” ( all-time favorites) Playlists.

    Found the bubbles inefficient too and got bored of hitting “More Artists” after about 3 screens of bubbles.

  4. I noticed all the bubbles were artists that were physically on my iPhone – albums that I had sync’d from my library from my “Recently Added Classical”, Pop and “5-Star” ( all-time favorites) Playlists.

    Found the bubbles inefficient too and got bored of hitting “More Artists” after about 3 screens of bubbles.

  5. You didn’t name the album you don’t have, but I don’t have it, either, and never would. There must be a huge deal between her and Apple, the way they push her. Gag me!

  6. You didn’t name the album you don’t have, but I don’t have it, either, and never would. There must be a huge deal between her and Apple, the way they push her. Gag me!

  7. Ha – the funny thing is, I was actively looking for an ambient playlist (yes, even after nine years working with its primary source) and couldn’t find one. The recommendations I have received though have been pretty decent so far.

  8. Ha – the funny thing is, I was actively looking for an ambient playlist (yes, even after nine years working with its primary source) and couldn’t find one. The recommendations I have received though have been pretty decent so far.

  9. “at least one of the four albums is something I would never, ever listen to” So, you won’t ever listen to it, but you’re sure you don’t like it? It seems odd to complain about recommendations for things that you haven’t ever tried.

      • I get that, and I’m 99% sure that you wouldn’t like Rihanna either. I just think the point would be stronger if it was, “Apple recommended something that I don’t like” instead of, “Apple recommended something that I have never listened to, but I’m sure I wouldn’t like because I also dislike other contemporary female pop artists.”

        Or to put it another way: If someone else were reviewing Apple Music and said, “Why am I getting a recommendation for The Grateful Dead? I’ve never heard them, but I hate REO Speedwagon,” I’m sure you would bristle at the comparison.

  10. “at least one of the four albums is something I would never, ever listen to” So, you won’t ever listen to it, but you’re sure you don’t like it? It seems odd to complain about recommendations for things that you haven’t ever tried.

      • I get that, and I’m 99% sure that you wouldn’t like Rihanna either. I just think the point would be stronger if it was, “Apple recommended something that I don’t like” instead of, “Apple recommended something that I have never listened to, but I’m sure I wouldn’t like because I also dislike other contemporary female pop artists.”

        Or to put it another way: If someone else were reviewing Apple Music and said, “Why am I getting a recommendation for The Grateful Dead? I’ve never heard them, but I hate REO Speedwagon,” I’m sure you would bristle at the comparison.

  11. same thing here. I did not select pop but pop artists ‘pop’ up everywhere. Give apple, you will never get me to listen to Selena Gomez.

    Now, something that will skew the suggestions is that I keep music that I don’t like anymore but used to like in my library in case I ever feel nostalgic. I definitely would not want Apple Music to use that music to decide what I want to here now.

    But I cannot stop it.

  12. same thing here. I did not select pop but pop artists ‘pop’ up everywhere. Give apple, you will never get me to listen to Selena Gomez.

    Now, something that will skew the suggestions is that I keep music that I don’t like anymore but used to like in my library in case I ever feel nostalgic. I definitely would not want Apple Music to use that music to decide what I want to here now.

    But I cannot stop it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.