A Common Sense Approach to Apple Music

Apple Music is around 48 hours old as this post goes up. Lots of first impressions, excitement and breathless angst over what works, whether it will replace other services and how it might be messing with your carefully curated iTunes library.

Here are a few simple, common-sense tips to approaching Apple Music:

 - Calm down! Few things the size and scope of Apple Music ever launch seamlessly, even if the company doing the launching is Apple.

 - Back up your music collection. If you are one of those who has spent hours or days or more carefully curating playlists, adding artwork or otherwise fine-tuning your library, make a backup of your music files and put it somewhere for safekeeping, just to be sure. That applies even more if you plan to play with iCloud Music Library or iTunes Match. In fact, make a couple copies. Storage space is cheap, and all those hours you’ve put into your collection deserve the extra protection. This Apple Support Document talks about moving your iTunes library to another computer, but is equally valuable in helping you backup and preserve your music files, playlists, etc.

 - Don't cancel your other music service subscriptions. You have three months free to try Apple Music and all it has to offer. That’s twelve weeks, people. Assuming the going rate for most subscription music services, that’s $30 you might have saved assuming you cancelled on Day One of your Apple Music trial. Is the hassle of losing your playlists, uploaded music (in the case of some services) and the possible lack of availability of some of your favorites really worth $30? Three albums or so worth of purchased music? I don't think so.

 - Experiment with and explore Apple Music! That's why you have a three month free trial - to check out the many aspects of the service. Try Beats 1. Try the pre-configured genre stations. Pick your favorite artists. Tell Apple Music what you like and don’t like and see how it performs in making recommendations. It isn’t psychic. To expect it to learn your preferences (especially if they are as wide-ranging and quirky as mine) in a day or two is unrealistic. All parts of the service might not be for you, but give them all a test drive.

 - Educate yourself. There are lots of articles out there on pretty much every Apple-oriented site about how things work and how to modify things that might not suit you. Go looking for them, or find some of the pieces that I think are most valuable in MacVoices Magazine on the web or on Flipboard on your iOS device.

 - Enjoy! This isn’t surgery. This is supposed to be fun! See if the Apple Music way of doing things works for you. After giving it a fair shot, you can decide if what it offers stands up against the services you have been using.