Users Abandoning iTunes for Google Play Music...

by Business

iTunes was developed in the 1990s, and was launched in 2000. It's an old and increasingly 'clunky to use interface' that has barely been upgraded over the last decade.

New figures recently released show thousands of users are starting to give up on iTunes, without the intention of ever going back. Popular comments to the, "Business Insider" web-site run something like this... "I've switched to Google Music — and it's way better."

iTunes has upgraded some features, making it better than it used to be back when it launched. But even so, iTunes today still looks and feels like a product that would have sprung naturally from Microsoft's Office/Windows environment.

It arranges your songs in a sortable spreadsheet, and if any of them are mis-labelled even slightly they can get out of order. Even Bono once told Steve Jobs that he thought iTunes looked like a spreadsheet.

If you have ever been forced by iTunes to go through your music collection, deleting or renaming hundreds of duplicate songs, you'll know how tedious the iTunes experience can become for someone who has more than a few hundred songs in their collection — which is to say, everyone.

This is one of iTunes' lasting contributions to the history of music: It made pop bureaucratic.

The recent US antitrust trial, in which lawyers are arguing that Apple hurt consumers by forcing them to only listen to iTunes songs on their iPods (and not songs from competing companies that might have offered them cheaper), has reminded users of just how bad an experience using iTunes can be.

You might remember the first time you ever used iTunes. Wasn't it strange, the way you had to hook up your iPod to your computer, then open iTunes, and you could only change the songs on the iPod via iTunes?

The setup is basically the same to this day, except that you can at last drag songs from other non-Apple sources into iTunes. It's still weird though. It completely goes against the Jony Ive /Steve Jobs mantra of good design: Products should just work.

Unfortunately, iTunes doesn't work easily... iTunes makes you do the work.

If you have a large music collection, with songs from Apple, Amazon, your own CD collection, and MP3s that were downloaded during the glory days of Napster when all music was free (not me personally, obviously!), then you'll be familiar with the ritual of carefully editing playlists and deleting songs that can't fit onto your iPhone or iPod, ahead of your long commute or flight.

Frankly - doing this totally sucks.

Many users reached the end of their patience with iTunes last week when users began to notice the cost of songs and movies for sale on iTunes compared to Google Music, (which is Google's cloud-based competitor to iTunes), were cheaper on Google Music. They obviously felt ripped off.

You can use Google Music on any device, any computer, any tablet or any phone, on any platform. It's easier to use, visually more pleasing, and there's no confusion as to where your songs are (On your phone? On iTunes? On iCloud?) Google Music makes it easy for you to keep everything in the cloud, or download everything onto a device, or do it one by one. You get to choose.

One great thing about it is that Google Music works with iTunes. So if you're an Apple fan and the idea of leaving Apple's carefully curated environment scares you, do not fear: You can use them together, separately or on their own. Many actually use iTunes on their Mac to store "my" songs that they buy from iTunes, but use Google Music to play them.

And as people are buying more music from Google Music now than from iTunes, they're also downloading the Google songs into their iTunes folder.

Google Music is also beautiful to look at. It does NOT look like a spreadsheet. Instead, it looks a bit like your own record collection as if it were displayed in its own online music store — which it basically is.

It's one of those rare apps that works equally well on desktop as on your phone. The desktop part is extremely important — there is no scrolling and searching, the way you have to do with iTunes. The songs are just where you expect them to be. Google Music actually feels like it was something designed by Apple.

Google Music isn't perfect, of course. It's a Google/Android product, which means that while it gets all the big things right is gets some of the small things wrong. The settings give you a bunch of options that let you either download your music onto your device (say for a plane journey) or play them in the cloud, and there are about three too many buttons controlling all that.

But overall, the future of iTunes seems limited on most Mac's. People seem okay to let iTunes store music, but not to let iTunes control their music. People seem like they're going to put themselves back in charge of their little pop music bureaucracy with Google Music.


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