How does the Apple Music Like System Work?

Apple Music

The release of Apple’s iOS 8.4 has brought us the well sought after Apple Music – a rival to Spotify, and some think a rival to the mighty Google Play Music.

We all know by now that Apple Music curates playlists, and songs in order to give its user base what they need – discover music that they will love, and keep a track of what they like to listen. But how does this like system that Apple Music implements work?

Well, the more you listen to music, and press the heart button, the better the curation system works. Apple Music doesn’t take into account what songs you skip because hey, you might not be in the mood to listen to that sappy song that you just love when you’re drunk, and thinking about your ex. Good thinking Apple.

Apple Music’s ability to learn and adapt based on what music you love comes quite in handy when discovering new music – in this day, and age where musicians, artists, and boy bands can just upload their songs to iTunes, or SoundCloud, a music curation platform comes as super useful. 

Apple Music curation system

Apple Music is mainly based on content discovery, and your For You page is supposed to showcase what you might like – sure, it’s prone to error, because our music preferences may change from  day to day, but it tries to pin-point what you might like.

It’s better if you heart songs while you listen, but content in the For You page will be added regardless, and with time, you’ll discover new music without pressing a single love button.

You can essentially heart anything that is playing via the Apple Music app – a default radio station, Beats 1 radio,  a curated playlist, and even from searches. Just expand the miniplayer and tap the heart icon, it’s that easy!

Apple Music's For You page

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop explains quite perfectly the mystery, and confusion, that hovers on top of Apple Music’s curation system.

Tapping the heart does affect “For You,” the section of Apple Music that’s custom built with playlists, albums and songs tailored to your individual tastes. For You also takes into account music you add to your library and full plays you listen to. Skips aren’t really taken into account, because there are so many reasons you may skip a song–maybe you’re just not in the mood for it right now.

You can even create radio stations from individual songs – you just need to tap the hamburger icon when a song is playing, and choose Start Station. It works a bit different, because the app won’t display a heart icon anymore, and in its stead it will display a star. What does this system employ?

Well, basically, you can choose from Play More Like This, or Play Less Like This, so you can pick exactly what the radio station you are trying to build will showcase. It’s quite efficient, and it won’t affect your For You recommendations.

Apple Music's build your own radio station

Apple Music offers its user base the tools they need to tailor music based on what they love to listen – whether it is you’re going for a jog, a walk in the park, or just sitting in bed trying to get that sweat QOTSA album stuck in your head.

When you  keep your finger pressed on an album, or playlists recommendation you can tell Apple that you dislike their suggestion. It seems that this option is only available for iOS devices, because on Mac I haven’t seen it.

The For You page might be the motive why Apple is offering a 3 month free service to their music streaming app – users might be enticed to buy a subscription taking in consideration that the app will know what to play for your different moods.

Apple Music's suggestions

Of course, it comes in handy to build a few radio stations for your day to day activities – I can’t possibly boogie my butt off on Nick Cave’s sadder songs, but I certainly can on Eagles of Death Metal’s Cherry Cola.

Only time will tell if Apple’s new music streaming app will be a success. It’s main competitor is Spotify, and Google Play Music, but only Spotify seems to be afraid of the big Apple.

Google has adopted a free option to their music streaming service, but users can’t pick what songs to listen – only playlists; and they can use it only in offline mode.

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