What’s the Point of “Disliking” Music on Apple Music?

You know the buttons you push at crosswalks? They give you the illusion of control, that you’re telling the stoplight to change color, whereas you know they really don’t. Most stoplights in cities are controlled by a system to keep them in sync; pressing a button doesn’t change anything.

The same thing happens on Apple Music when I “dislike” a track or album. I would expect that telling Apple Music what I “love” and what I don’t like will have some effect on my recommendations. I think that the “love” declaration does help the algorithm, but the “dislike” option does nothing. (It’s worth noting that on iOS, the term “dislike” is not used: the option is Suggest Less Like This.)

Case in point: recommendations in For You this morning:


I listened to a Dick’s Picks the other day, so Apple Music recommends similar music. But I don’t like Phish. (Don’t @ me.) I had “disliked” this album some other time it came up in recommendations. Yet Apple Music still recommends it, and another Phish album (which I hadn’t previously disliked, so fair dinkum on that one).

It’s not just in recommendations that “dislikes” are ignored. In New Releases, I get lots of stuff that I don’t like, and if I explicitly dislike an album, I’d expect it to not remain in the list. Maybe it won’t go away immediately, but it should eventually be removed. I’ve got about two dozen new releases on my For You page, and I’ve disliked half of them (and I don’t know why I ever got many of these recommendations anyway), so I’d expect them to be replaced by something else.

5 thoughts on “What’s the Point of “Disliking” Music on Apple Music?

  1. In general, I love Apple Music but another issue that still isn’t resolved is song ID’s (for lack of a better term) of tracks with the same title and artist. Example: Play ‘What Is Life’ from George Harrison’s landmark album All Things Must Pass. It’s a popular classic rock track that you will want to sing along to. However, you will be doing so karaoke style because Apple Music plays you the instrumental track that was part of a re-issue of the album. I could not find the version with vocals that one would expect.

    I’d like to report these various problems on a song by song basis as I stumble upon them but I see no way to do so.

    Granted, this was a much worse problem at launch but it still occurs today.

  2. Agree totally.
    As I try to make sense of this madness I wonder if dislike only works for a unique fingerprint on the song. So if I dislike the track from the best of album I don’t think it works on the anniversary release album or the original album or the now that’s what I call music album or the songs from glee or talent or idol etc.


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