I had a radio show in collegeand prided myself on carefully building a playlist for every show. On Saturday nights, I submitted the pastoral town of Harrisonburg, Virginia to my idea of aesthetically pleasing audio.
Then Apple introduced its Genius playlist-making feature, in which you select a song and Genius builds a playlist from your library around that song. It worked really well and the job got a lot easier — my weekly task of culling together two hours of music now took no time at all.
I bring this up only to make the point that Apple is really good at playlist-making software. Now let’s move on to iTunes Radio, the new streaming music service that comes with iOS 7 Apple’s latest operating system for iPads and iPhones.
Where Apple is trying to sell us on its hopeful Pandora-killer, it’s more akin well-curated playlist collection. It feels like you’re listening to The Tom Waits Playlist instead of a dynamically generated radio station based around your favourite Tom Waits song (a la Pandora).
It’s not uncommon to hear the same song played again and again on your station of choice. In my personal use to date, iTunes Radio has twice played identical songs back to back, and even the worst DJ knows not to do that. We’re not the only ones unhappy about this.
I still like iTunes Radio enough to keep using it, but the repetitive song problem seems like it should’ve been fixed way before putting it out. The experience is akin to having a careless DJ in my living room. He’s always forgetting which songs he has and hasn’t played yet, but he’s just starting out, so we’ll forgive for now.
But still. For putting out a product with “radio” in the name, Apple still has some catching up to do with, well, radio.