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Posts tagged with "Apple Music"

Apple Music Announces Its 2022 Artist of the Year

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Today, Apple Music announced that Bad Bunny is its 2022 Artist of the Year. Un Verano Sin Ti, which Bad Bunny released in May, is the most streamed album on Apple Music and the biggest Latin album of all time.

In Apple’s press release, Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats, said:

We’re thrilled to celebrate the achievements of Bad Bunny, whose influence on every corner of culture could not be ignored in 2022. Watching Bad Bunny ascend from an Apple Music Up Next artist in 2018 to our Artist of the Year this year has been nothing short of extraordinary. We congratulate him on his record-breaking year and for continuing to bring Latin music to a massive global audience.

Apple Music has created a dedicated section of the Music app celebrating Bad Bunny’s achievement and music. Bad Bunny has also taken over the La Fórmula playlist to spotlight some of his favorite Latin tracks. Plus, Apple Music 1 is dedicating today to Bad Bunny’s music, interviews with the artist, and more.

Apple’s Artist of the Year is celebrated with a unique award featuring a 12-inch silicon wafer suspended between a sheet of glass and anodized aluminum. Last year and in prior years, Apple announced additional awards like the Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and more. This year, though, only an Artist of the Year was named.


Music Remote: A Beautiful Retro Utility for Controlling Playback of Apple’s Music App

Music Remote by Mario Guzman is a fun, retro remote control for Apple’s Music app. You may have come across Mario’s work on MacStories before. We interviewed him for MacStories Weekly last spring and covered his Music MiniPlayer on MacStories.

Music Remote is Mario’s third remote app for the Mac version of Apple’s Music app. The first was Music Widget, which is styled after the Tiger-era iTunes Dashboard widget. Next came Music MiniPlayer, which adopted the style of iTunes 10’s mini player. Music Remote reaches further back in time to the Mac OS X Public Beta, recreating the look of Music Player, an app that didn’t last long.

Music Remote up close.

Music Remote up close.

The compact remote requires Apple’s Music app to be running, but once it is, you can minimize Music and use Music Remote instead. The app includes buttons to play/pause and skip forward and back, as well as a couple of unique buttons above and below the play/pause button. Above play/pause is a button that opens a separate window that lets you pick from your playlists. Below is a stop button. It works the same as pause, except that when you resume playback, it will start with the next song in an album or playlist instead of picking up mid-song.

Music Remote's playlist picker.

Music Remote’s playlist picker.

The display above the controls cycles among the song title, artist, and album name. If a text string is too long to fit into Music Remote’s tiny screen, it scrolls horizontally. You can also cycle through the information displayed in Music Remote more quickly by clicking on its screen. The screen shows elapsed song time by default but can be switched to the remaining time in the app’s preferences. At the bottom of the screen is a progress bar. There’s a volume slider at the bottom of the app’s UI, and the app can playback Apple Music radio stations using a slightly different UI, too.

What makes Music Remote such a fun utility, though, is its design. The bubble-like play/pause button and blue LED-inspired screen are from a very different era of Mac design but still look great today. I also appreciate that the app is small. It looks fantastic on my desktop, which is why I immediately turned on the option to float it above my other windows. Because the app is small, though, there’s always a spot for it out of the way. It works perfectly in app sidebars that have a little blank space or the margin of a text editor, for example.

I have all three of Mario’s remote apps installed on my Mac Studio. that may seem like overkill, but I listen to music a lot as I work, so I appreciate having options depending on my mood. However, for the last week, as I put the finishing touches on my macOS Ventura review, Music Remote has been the remote that’s been sitting in the margin of the review as I write, which has been great.

I highly recommend checking out Music Remote, which can be downloaded for free from Mario Guzman’s GitHub page along with his other apps.


Apple Music Launches on Xbox and Windows Photos Adds iCloud Photo Library Support

Apple Music was released today on the Xbox Store as a free download. I’ve had a chance to test the app briefly on my Xbox Series X, and the experience is very close to that of the Music app on the Apple TV.

Upon downloading the app, new users can take advantage of a free month of Apple’s music streaming service. There are multiple ways for existing subscribers to log in, too, including by using a QR code that opens a web page and asks you to sign in with your Apple ID. Once I signed in, the app on my Xbox refreshed, and I was good to go.

If you’ve ever used the Apple Music app on the Apple TV, you’ll be right at home on the Xbox version of the app. The UI is nearly identical from the ways you can interact with the service’s catalog of music to the Now Playing screen. It is my understanding that the Music app, along with the TV app, will be coming to Windows next year too.

Some recent photos from my iCloud Photo Library in the Windows Photos app.

Some recent photos from my iCloud Photo Library in the Windows Photos app.

Your iCloud Photo Library is also available in the Windows 11 Photos app now, with support for both images and video. To connect the two, you need to install iCloud for Windows on your PC and choose to sync your iCloud photos library. I gave it a try on my AYANEO Next Pro and had no trouble linking Microsoft’s app to my iCloud Photo Library.

The number of devices on which you can access Apple’s media services has expanded significantly over the past few years, with availability expanding from Android devices to smart TVs and other platforms. With Xbox and Windows PC integration, that expansion has taken another big leap forward, making those services available to a much wider audience.


LockPod Adds Apple Music and Spotify to the iOS 16 Lock Screen

So far, the big players in music streaming are leaving it to indie developers to create iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets that tie into their services. One of my favorite examples is LockPod, by Rishi Malhotra, which was released this week.

The app works with both Apple Music and Spotify, allowing users to create circular and rectangular Lock Screen widgets that serve as shortcuts to their favorite music. The details are a little different depending on whether you’re using Apple Music or Spotify, so let’s take a closer look.

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Apple Music Sessions Kicks Off with Carrie Underwood and Tenille Townes

Today, Apple introduced new exclusive live sessions on Apple Music. The music streaming service kicked off Apple Music Sessions with performances by country music stars Carrie Underwood and Tenille Townes.

The sessions with Underwood and Townes, which include both audio-only and video components, were recorded in Spatial Audio at Apple’s Nashville, Tennessee studio. Apple has more coming from other country artists too:

Apple Music Sessions kicks off in Nashville with a host of incredible country artists already lined up, including Ronnie Dunn, Ingrid Andress, and many others.

According to Apple’s press release, the company will also expand the new Studio Sessions exclusives to other music genres in the future.

I’m looking forward to seeing where Apple takes Apple Music Sessions. With music libraries essentially being identical from one streaming service to another, it’s features like this that companies can use to set themselves apart.


Mario Guzman’s Music MiniPlayer Lets You Control Apple’s Music App in iTunes 10 Style

Earlier this year, we interviewed Mario Guzman in MacStories Weekly about Music Widget, his Apple Music controller utility that recreates the look and feel of the original iTunes Dashboard Widget. This week, Guzman is back with a similar music utility for macOS that’s skinned to look like the original iTunes 10 MiniPlayer.

Called Music MiniPlayer, the utility is a remote control for Apple’s Music app, not a music player itself, that takes its inspiration from iTunes 10’s MiniPlayer. With the exception of some minor tweaks to the background of the playback controls, Music MiniPlayer is a pixel-perfect recreation of the iTunes 10 MiniPlayer written almost entirely using the Core Graphics and Core Animation frameworks to ensure crisp rendering on Retina and non-Retina displays.

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MusicBox Review: The ‘Listen-Later’ Music App I’ve Been Waiting For

MusicBox for iPhone.

MusicBox for iPhone.

Longtime MacStories readers know how much music is important to me. I Made You a Mixtape, which I published six years ago, continues to be one of my favorite, most intimate things I’ve ever published for a simple reason: it tells the story of the importance music had in my life when I was growing up, the connections it helped me make, and the lifelong memories it created. I am not exaggerating when I say that I feel weird inside if I don’t listen to music every day. My love for music – all kinds of music – is also why I spent the past few years rebuilding a personal, offline music library and creating a setup that lets me enjoy music without distractions.

Now, I’ve covered plenty of music apps over the years on MacStories, starting from desktop utilities for music controls to Apple Music clients based on Apple’s official API, music widgets, and even Last.fm scrobblers. But there’s been one particular type of music app, which I’ve always wanted someone to build, that has eluded my coverage of apps on MacStories in over 13 years of reviews: a read-later utility, but for music you want you want to save and listen to later.

That is, until today. MusicBox, the latest app by indie developer Marcos Tanaka, is the “listen-later” music app of my dreams, the one I’ve wanted to use for years and that someone finally made as a Universal app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It’s rare for me these days to find new apps that elicit this kind of enthusiasm, but when I do, I know I’ve stumbled upon something special. MusicBox is one of those apps.

This review is going to be pretty straightforward. If you’re a music lover and use either Apple Music or Spotify, and if you feel like you discover more interesting music than you can possibly consume in a day, MusicBox is for you. Open the App Store, spend $2.99 (there are no subscriptions or In-App Purchases in the app), and you’ll get what is likely going to be one of your favorite apps of 2022. Then, if you want to learn more about what the app does, how it integrates with Apple Music, and how you can set it up on your device, come back to this story and let’s dive in.

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Apple Music’s ‘Essentials Anniversaries’ Feature Highlights Classic Albums with Interviews, Editors’ Notes, and More

Update: It turns out that Essentials Anniversaries is not a new feature, but isn’t something that has been heavily promoted in the Listen Now tab of Apple Music before. You can read the original post below.


Apple Music was quietly updated today with a new feature: Essentials Anniversaries. The new Apple Music section features landmark albums from artists organized by their anniversaries, from five-year anniversaries all the way to 65-year-old albums.

The first featured anniversary is OK Computer by Radiohead, which celebrates its 25th anniversary tomorrow, May 21, 2022. The new Essentials Anniversaries section includes Radiohead’s album, a handful of music videos, and something new: an episode of an Apple Music radio show also called Essentials Anniversaries. The first episode is hosted by DJ Matt Wilkinson, who introduces most tracks, providing context and commentary and interviewing people involved in the production of OK Computer.

It’s not uncommon for Apple Music to receive updates throughout the year. Updates to the service haven’t been timed to Apple’s OS update cycle for a while but tend to come in batches. Case in point, earlier this week, Apple began promoting Apple Music Live, a series of livestreamed concerts that start today with a show by Harry Styles.

I’ve been listening to the OK Computer episode of Essentials Anniversaries, which runs for about an hour, and it’s excellent. Wilkinson, who is one of my favorite Apple Music DJs, does a fantastic job providing context for each track and conducting short interviews that provide a sense of the album’s import and place in history.

It appears that Essentials Anniversaries is still rolling out worldwide, so you may not see it on all of your devices, but if you want to check it out, here’s a link to the new section.

This and the introduction of more live music with the concert series that Harry Styles kicks off later today are exactly the kind of thing Apple Music needs to fuel discovery and renew interest in the service. I’m looking forward to seeing where both of these features lead next.


Apple Discontinues the iPod touch

Apple has announced that it is discontinuing the iPod touch.

As the last iPod in Apple’s lineup, the end of the iPod touch marks the end of an era for Apple. The iPod, which debuted in 2001, played a significant role in Apple’s comeback as a company. The iPod touch was introduced in 2007, the same year as the iPhone, as a sort of phone-less iPhone that became an entry-level iOS device for kids and others who didn’t need or want the iPhone’s mobile phone functionality. Over the years, though, the touch has been updated less frequently as its role was absorbed by hand-me-down iPhones and other products.

Although the timing of Apple’s decision makes sense, it’s still a little sad to see the iPod touch go. Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Greg Joswiak, had this to say about the legacy of the entire iPod lineup:

“Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry — it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared. Today, the spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad, and Apple TV. And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio — there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.

With a month to go before WWDC, now is the time that Apple often clears the decks for bigger announcements. Is the end of the touch a precursor to something bigger coming with Apple Music, the HomePod, or other products? I hope so. As Federico and I discussed on this week’s episode of AppStories, there is plenty of room for improvement with Apple Music, and the HomePod mini feels like part of an incomplete lineup after the original HomePod was discontinued. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.