Apple Music ecosystem

It’s been almost a month since Apple Music first launched, and reception seems to be largely critical despite the music streaming service being completely free to use for the first three months after signing up.

Parts of the service suffered the far-too-common multi-hour outage earlier this week while professional Apple blogger Jim Dalrymple condemned the “nightmare” service after losing purchased music and experiencing complicated UI/UX issues. 9to5Mac’s Jeremy Horwitz wrote a day after the launch that Apple Music’s execution shows the opportunity for Apple to focus on creating intuitive experiences again, and Apple Music listeners haven’t avoided the technical hiccups during the few weeks of use.

With Apple Maps-level horror stories materializing after spending some time with Apple Music, should Apple have simply labeled the service as a beta until the initial three-month trial expired and the service hopefully shapes up?

Labelling Apple Music as beta during its initial launch may have a negative effect on the short-term outlook of the service. With Apple’s reputation for letting nasty bugs sneak into shipping software over the last few years, calling Apple Music a beta may mean that an awful lot of potential subscribers wouldn’t be willing to try the beta version of the service which could dilute the launch. But that’s okay.

What seems to be happening instead is that users are eager to try Apple’s hot new streaming service and running into problems that would be understandable for software clearly described as pre-1.0. The public betas of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 show that there’s an audience of non-developers eager to try Apple’s latest software before it’s totally polished, and give user feedback before it ships.

Seeing the issues people are experiencing with Apple Music, plus the road bumps here and there that I’m experiencing, make me think that calling Apple Music a beta service would have saved Apple a lot of credibility with this launch. It’s easier to explain that software is functional but not 100% polished than it is to communicate the message that it’s safe to come back to Apple Music after a turbulent launch period.

My first shot at streaming Apple Music this morning

My first shot at streaming Apple Music this morning

My own experience has been mostly fine aside from initial Family Sharing issues, but I’m still struggling to keep the same playlists on my iPhone and Macs. All the issues I do experience eventually seem to work themselves out over time and not with troubleshooting. I imagine this turbulent period is only temporary, but there’s no denying that Apple Music isn’t rock solid just yet.

Beats Music had its own issues toward the end of its run, and there’s no path backwards after you migrate, but a beta approach allows users that don’t want to test unbaked products to hold back from migrating until it’s ready.

What do you think? A majority of our readers told us Apple Music will replace Spotify for them, but even more readers said they’re not using Apple Music or won’t switch. Should Apple call its streaming music service what it is and say it’s a beta, or would that soften the hype around Apple Music too much? Let us know in the poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

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About the Author

Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created