How Apple Music F-cked Me Over …

As one gets older, one tends to become a tad … judgmental in their opinions. I will begin this treatise with the observation that I am, and have been, an Apple Snob (yes, it has to be capitalized) since 1984 when they first released their mini-fridge Apple Computer priced at $2,495. I didn’t have the money but I bought one nonetheless. It became obsolete the day it came home with me, and I actually learned to “draw” on it using MacPaint and the mouse, a process one comic book artist likened to drawing in gravel with a pack of cigarettes. But I digress.

Fast forward to the future (where’s my jetpack, Apple? … or maybe that’s a question better asked of Elon Musk) and in November I bought a new Apple MacBook Pro, the 13” one with the proprietary Apple M1 chips. I love it. It’s lightweight, super-fast, and just a really nice, intuitive machine. It’s the first Apple computer I’ve owned in over 20 years, since my former employer provided a laptop to me, with regular upgrades every three years or so.

The new laptop came with a number of trial subscriptions for Apple products, including Apple Health (not interested, all I do is walk—a lot!—and I have a Fitbit for that), Apple Arcade (definitely not interested … video games make me nauseous), Apple News (okay, I’m interested, especially with all the magazines that are included), and Apple Music. I already had a free trial subscription for Apple TV+, which I got when I bought a new iPad mini back in 2018.

And Apple Music is the problem, as you’ve probably guessed by reading the title of this post. I caved and took the 3-month free trial, which ended on Monday, March 22. And when it ended, so did a lot of the music I purchased over the years, “Gone,” as one of my art school instructors once said in his thick German accent, “like a fart in the wind.”

Let me tell you about my taste in music: It’s practically non-existent. I am categorically NOT a big music listener. I find most modern music annoying. As I’ve grown older, I find my tastes are solely devoted to either the music I grew up with or the more-nostalgic music my parents listened to, things like Sinatra and the Rat Pack, especially when it comes to holiday music. I also like a lot of movie soundtracks (James Bond, Marvel, Mission Impossible, etc.) I grew up on The Beatles in the tumultuous 1960s and Steely Dan was the apex of coolness in the 1970s when I was in my teens, the formative music years for most people. I hate most 1980s and 1990s music, too, and the local radio stations in San Diego SUCK (I can not stress this enough), with such limited playlists, devoted almost exclusively to those two decades. It’s like they bought a CD at a used record store that has 30 songs on it and that’s all they play (I’m talking about you Sunny 98.1).

But on with our story: I decided to keep Apple News for $9.99/month and drop Apple Music (offered at the same price). One thing I noticed when I took the free trial with Apple Music was my existing playlists were all screwed up and songs were missing. And it was impossible to fix them. I decided to check on things when I got back to “normal” after the trial ended and rebuild my playlists and restore law and order to my music library.

Well, wrong. A lot of music was just plain gone. The Beatles, Steely Dan, my James Bond soundtracks, a lot of my Christmas music (don’t worry, I don’t listen to Xmas music in March … October, maybe). Hundreds of songs were gone, which meant hundreds of dollars were wasted. iTunes used to have a “restore purchases” option, and they still do, but sadly the only album that came up was the GLEE Christmas one, which I hated and “hid” from my Apple Music. (Do you remember GLEE? Yeah, me too and I wish I could forget it).

So it turns out, I guess, that all the missing music was purchased eons ago (I think I bought my first iPod in 2003 or so, before there was such a thing as an iPhone), and it was probably purchased under a previous email address, like my ancient account with AOL (even typing those three letters brings up the screeching, bouncy, twangy sound of a dial-up modem … if ever an Internet service provider had a theme song, that was it for AOL … kinda like the 20th Century Fox fanfare). So all that music is gone forever, since I have no idea what my password is.

I repurchased some of the stuff … others I’m still thinking about. I hate the way all of this stuff is subscription-based now. Apple very clearly does not want you to own music, they just want you to rent it from them, and I’m not that big a music fan that I would spend $120/year for that honor. It’s the same with things like Adobe and Microsoft; I had work-related subscriptions to all the Adobe software and the Microsoft suite. I can’t afford to do that in retirement (I kept Adobe’s photo subscription, which offers Photoshop plus Lightroom at $9.99/month, since I use Photoshop a lot … but that’s all I can afford.) I use Apple’s built-in software (Pages for Word, etc.) and that’s fine. I always hated Microsoft anyway and from the way their software works, they hated me, too.

Apple Music tried to lure me in with their free trial, hoping that those three months would make me a convert and that I would pay for their monthly service, kind of like a dealer with a gateway drug, hooking me to come back for more. I went cold turkey and dropped them, and now I feel punished for doing so. So yeah … that’s how Apple Music fucked me over this week.

How’s your week been?

(The photo at top is © Apple and probably available by subscription only.)

Follow me on Instagram @gg92118 for all of my latest photos!

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