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.