iTunes has long been the music library app of choice for thousands of music lovers. Both PC and Mac users flocked to the digital platform, which allowed users to both organize their collections of songs (and movies, podcasts, and so on) and since 2003 has offered users a handy way to purchase and download albums and singles.
But iTunes is floundering. What was once considered a pioneer of the digital frontier is now regarded by many once loyal users as a bloated, outdated platform. And fans are fed up with waiting for Apple to attempt to fix iTunes. Let’s face it. iTunes could be better. A lot better and that’s an understatement.
iTunes has never been the prettiest app on the block, let’s face it. But iTunes feels so wildly inconsistent when it comes to how it decides to show you your library. For example, you can choose to organize your music library by individual song, album, artist, genres, or composers. And each time you click between any of these options, the entire layout of your music library will change. If you’ve chosen to organize your songs as individual songs, you’ll be given a list of all tracks in your library. Sorting tracks by albums gives you a platform where you have to click through the covers of each of your album. Why not give users the option of how they’d like their library to be displayed regardless of how they’re organizing their tracks? Why over-complicate things?
This brings us to another one of iTune’s issues. Cover art. Users dread each major update of the iTunes software. Why? Chances are likely that for whatever reason, iTunes will replace or remove cover art for random tracks, even if the cover art came with an official purchase of the track.
And if users signed up for Apple Music and downloaded tracks from other devices from iCloud, they may have found that Apple gave them the wrong version of the track altogether, leading users to spend hours hunting through their library searching for which songs got screwed up.
Simply put, iTunes doesn’t really know what its users actually want. No one was asking for Connect. Who actually used ‘Genius’? We can’t even remember the last time we tried out Ping. All we wanted was a simple music platform. Not sixteen features we never even used once.
If you’re still not convinced that iTunes is flawed, just try transferring songs from your iPhone onto iTunes. It can’t be done without a third party program. Which means that if you, for whatever reason, lose access to your computer and your only copies of your favorite songs are on your iPhone, you can’t actually save these songs without downloading them from Apple Music, which often results in you ending up with the wrong track.
So what can users do? It’s time to move to another program. There is one caveat though- if you have an iPod or iPhone, you’re basically stuck with iTunes if you want something that will give you necessary software updates. But if you’re up for moving beyond iTunes, there’s a lot of decent alternatives out there. For example, Songbird is an excellent service for discovering new music. Swinsian is basically everything we used to love about iTunes distilled into an easy to use platform. If you’re a PC user, consider the JRiver Media Center.
iTunes was once the leader of the pack. We can only hope that one day, Apple will remember why iTunes was so great and finally listen to what users really want.