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Music Software Apple

iTunes Turns 13 Today -- Continues To Be 'Awful' (qz.com) 267

An anonymous reader points us to a link on Quartz: On April 28, 2003, Apple started up a revolution. Enter the iTunes Music Store, unveiled with a proud flourish by a beaming Steve Jobs. It was a digital jukebox, a music distribution game-changer, a record store to end all record stores -- and it did, in fact, kill off a great number of those. [...] For 13 years -- 15 if you count the two years the program was just a file-storing service -- users have grumbled loudly about iTunes' unwieldy interface, its bloated features, its inability to simply get better. [...] Instead of trying to streamline the service over the years, Apple has opted to stuff an overwhelming number of new features -- movies, television shows, podcasts, mobile apps, and most recently, Apple Music -- into it.The report mentions the following issues with iTunes: space-sucking size, slowness, ugliness, bloatware, lack of online or social integration, a wonky back-end, music isn't even its priority. Marco Arment, who is best known for co-founding Tumblr, and creating Instapaper app, noted some development-end issues with iTunes in 2015. He wrote: [...] The iTunes Store back-end is a toxic hellstew of unreliability. Everything that touches the iTunes Store has a spotty record for me and almost every Mac owner I know. And the iTunes app itself is the toxic hellstew. iTunes has an impossible combination of tasks on its plate that cannot be done well. iTunes is the definition of cruft and technical debt. It was an early version of iTunes that demonstrated the first software bugs to Grace Hopper in 1946. Probably not coincidentally, some of iTunes' least reliable features are reliant on the iTunes Store back-end, including Genius from forever ago, iTunes Match more recently, and now, Apple Music.
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iTunes Turns 13 Today -- Continues To Be 'Awful'

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  • Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2016 @01:43PM (#52006823)

    Not that I'm a big fan and I do use it but when a writer has to scream "It'z Teh TERBBIGEAL HELLSHTUE!!!!1111!!!!" every other sentence I'm simply not going to take them seriously. Maybe too much politics makes me cynical but I don't find a lot of value in statements that need to use more adjectives than nouns. That to me reeks of fanboyism.

    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @05:06PM (#52008709)

      For most Apple users, the problem with iTunes is having to use it for functions that have nothing to do with music, such as backing up iOS devices to a computer or checking to see how much free space there is on your iPhone. Whenever I upload edited pictures to my iPad to do a slideshow, that too has to go through iTunes, while the application keeps pestering me to log on to the music store account, which is not needed for this operation, over and over again.

  • by cloud.pt ( 3412475 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @01:47PM (#52006867)
    seriously, it's been some time I laughed so hard from a headline. A perfect fitting for "itz funny cuz itz tru"
  • Winamp (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @01:48PM (#52006893)
    iTunes is truly awful. So much so that it's banned from all of our work computers (it installs all kinds of extra crap with it). Winamp, long after it's dead, is still the best music player there is.
    • Re:Winamp (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @01:56PM (#52006985)

      I continue to use Winamp to this day. I like organizing my music files directly as files and folders. I never understood the attraction of a piece of software that slurped in all your music haphazardly and piled it all together trying to rely on ID3 information to sort it out. Easy enough to create playlists in Winamp via drag and drop.

      In my car I use a thumbdrive organized by folders, navigated with the car's entertainment unit. Fortunately most manufacturers are still supporting this method.

      • Re:Winamp (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Karlt1 ( 231423 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @02:25PM (#52007263)

        So how do you create multiple playlist with the same song in multiple playlists without copying files to multiple locations?

        How do you create a playlist with songs you haven't heard in the pass six months except for songs you've skipped x times? Yes iTunes is bloated piece of crap and I never let my iOS device go near it. But smart playlists and being able to view and sort your music based on metadata is not a bad thing.

        • Re:Winamp (Score:5, Informative)

          by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @03:19PM (#52007765)

          Winamp supports playlists that are separate from the files themselves. You can drag songs into a playlist and save that playlist as a .M3U text-based file, which is a widely recognized format. [wikipedia.org]

          In any case you know where all your data is and it's not wrapped up in a bloated, proprietary interface.

          It's easy to edit a playlist to remove songs you're bored with, rearrange it, save multiple versions. It does not allow for behavior such as "play me all the music I haven't heard in a while" but I tend to know my collection well enough that I know what I want to hear. For those of us who grew up with album based music we already have it organized in our heads that way. I realize that this is now old school, but it's what's comfortable for me. I am guessing that this method of organizing music will die out with my generation.

          In the garage I use a 15 year old throwaway laptop just to play music, and it works very well running Winamp's very light footprint.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          Yes iTunes is bloated piece of crap and I never let my iOS device go near it.

          Which is a shame because iTunes gives iOS a couple of advantages over Android.

          First, encrypted backups through iTunes backup EVERYTHING. Authentication information (which is omitted on non-encrypted backups for obvious reasons) is backed up, as is a bunch of stuff Apple would rather not have on their servers where government can obtain it by warrant.

          Having a local backup is good - iCloud backs up the bare minimum - just the stuff A

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Foobar 2000 might be more up your street. WinAMP does let you make playlists, but Foobar is more powerful and has more plugins for managing your collection. You can make the kind of smart playlists you describe.

          Foobar also supports bit perfect output, multiple fully customisable interfaces, tools for managing your collection like tag editors and volume equalisers etc. The biggest issue is the learning curve, but it's worth the small amount of effort.

      • The other problem with iTunes is that when you do use it for music, it imposes its own organization and won't let you organize your music your way. And if you want to do something like write out a given selection of music out to an SD card to play in your latest-model car audio, iTunes can't do that by itself. You need to bolt on two third-party utilities to make it work.

    • Yes, still use WinAmp to this day....

    • Winamp, long after it's dead, is still the best music player there is.

      I'd say VLC... unless you *are* into whipping llamas.

    • by fuzzyf ( 1129635 )
      I wish I could still use Winamp, but I mostly use streaming now (Tidal).

      I really miss the queue-in-queue feature Winamp had. I could select all music I would like to listen to for some time, and then just press q to create a queue from the playlist. Odd that nobody has copied that functionality.
    • I vastly preferred XMMS myself. But I didn't really get into whipping llamas...

  • by idbeholda ( 2405958 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @01:48PM (#52006895) Journal
    iTunes will still be shit.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      And still making Apple more profit than some whole other industries.
      • Let's try that again - And Apple is still making more profit from iTunes and the stores it houses that some whole other industries.
      • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @02:11PM (#52007123) Homepage

        And still making Apple more profit than some whole other industries.

        Where's the +1, SadButTrue mod? Because as an Apple fan, I must agree wholeheartedly - iTunes could be so much better and just sucks at so many things :/

        • Why doesn't Apple just develop a rest api for itunes and let 3rd party developers create applications for it? Then you could have it on your ps4 or whatever. For those that aren't familiar with what I am talking about this is exactly how Netflix is implemented.

          Whoever is in charge of this business unit should be fired.
          • Why doesn't Apple just develop a rest api for itunes and let 3rd party developers create applications for it? Then you could have it on your ps4 or whatever. For those that aren't familiar with what I am talking about this is exactly how Netflix is implemented.

            Whoever is in charge of this business unit should be fired.

            Well, this is "fuck the channels" Eddie Cue [1]. Good luck with changing his mind on that. And actually I think it'd be wholesale against how Apple works.

            Besides, why the hell would Apple want a PS4 interface? They want to sell more AppleTVs (or iPads or whatever else). They are not a content company, they sell hardware.

            [1] http://curi.us/1732-steve-jobs... [curi.us]

            • Apparently they aren't doing such a good job at that any more.... all this tie in crap is strangling the company. For all we know iTunes could be the largest media distribution hub in the world if they followed an open model.
    • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @02:28PM (#52007297)

      iTunes will still be shit.

      It'll be waaaay better after they fold systemd into it.

  • Huh?! (Score:3, Informative)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @01:50PM (#52006909)
    Must be another iTunes program out there. The iTunes I'm using works fine.
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      You must be using iTunes 10.7 still, like me.
      I don't know what I'm going to do if I ever but an iDevice that requires a newer version. That interface...

      • by sgage ( 109086 )

        Ditto. I use 10.7 on Windows, and it works fine. It takes a long time to load up, but other than that, it works. On Linux, I like Audacious a lot, and it accesses the iTunes music library just fine.

        I am very careful to save a copy of the 10.7 installer - newer versions are pretty grotesque...

    • That tells me you are using a mac. iTunes on Windows is unusable. I'm so happy my Android phone shows up as a simple USB drive without worrying about transcoding, album art, software updates, etc etc.

      • That tells me you are using a mac. iTunes on Windows is unusable.

        Uh, no. I'm using iTunes on Windows. I do store my media files on a FreeNAS server. Not sure if that makes a difference or not.

  • Awful == Working? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @01:52PM (#52006933)

    I'm not a fanboi by any means. I have however used iTunes for music for at least 10 years and don't have any complaints. I buy an album, it downloads, I play music. I don't see a better Music platform out there for things like Albums and Songs, so I don't get the gripes. I ignore whining rants too, so think twice before providing your personal anecdotes.

    Is Pandora better for Radio? Probably, maybe? I don't know, I listen to a radio for radio. Well actually I also occasionally use the iHeart app for radio, but mostly radio for radio. Is NetFlix or Xfinity better for videos? Probably, maybe, I watch movies on my TV or in a Theater. Is some free Tor sharing better? "free" may harm large studios who screw over musicians, but it also harms the musicians harmed by those same studios. Robbing a slave owner never freed any slaves.

    People who's opinion translates to dollars have said that iTunes is something other than awful for 13 years. I'm one of them people.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      I think the issue is that ITunes is not a good music player ,video player, way to buy books, and so on. Add to that the huge size of the app.

      The solution I think is simple. Break it up.
      Have a store app, a music app, a video app, a book app and so on. "Apple my have a book app but I never use Apple to buy books.

      Google has done this with Google Play, Google Music, Google Books, Google Newstand, and YouTube.
      If I play a song in Google music and it has a Video linked to it I see an option to watch the video.

    • Is some free Tor sharing better? "free" may harm large studios who screw over musicians, but it also harms the musicians harmed by those same studios. Robbing a slave owner never freed any slaves.

      And also torrenting over Tor is pretty sleazy.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      You just use it as a basic music player and store, which means you don't feel the pain that comes with using the many, many other parts of the app. It would be better if they had separate apps to do things like manage your iPhone/iPad.

      It also depends on if you are on Windows or Mac OS. The Windows version is unbelievably bloated and installs a tonne of shit you probably don't want. It's badly behaved too, using lots of background tasks, browser plugins and other system crippling crap. To cap it all off Appl

  • Surprise! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wkwilley2 ( 4278669 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @01:52PM (#52006941)

    And here I was thinking iTunes was only awful on Windows for obvious reasons.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @01:56PM (#52006983)

    I'm an occasional iTunes user on both the Mac and Windows versions. I usually start using it when I'm trying to figure out why sync isn't working, or to perform a reset on a phone. My experience, similar to what I've seen with other programs, is that Apple is using the "UX" excuse to dumb down the program. The problem is that since you can manage your phones completely independent of it now, you usually go into iTunes for 2 reasons - to fix problems or to use your music collection on the local machine. In my opinion, neither of these functions are optimal. Too much functionality is hidden or in places you wouldn't expect. This is the problem with consumer-focused software; it has to be completely idiot proof and look pretty, but that makes it less functional.

    I'm not defending "GUI by engineer" applications like the ones I have to support at work either. I work with one right now where the configuration part of the app is simply a massive properties tree and XML editor for a 5K+ set of data. But the other extreme is no good either. When a reasonably intelligent person has to spend several seconds trying to figure out which magic gesture or barely-visible hotspot hides the functionality you need, something's wrong.

  • It was an early version of iTunes that demonstrated the first software bugs to Grace Hopper in 1946.

    iTunes in 1946? Did I wake up in an alternate universe this morning?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 28, 2016 @02:11PM (#52007121)

      It was an early version of iTunes that demonstrated the first software bugs to Grace Hopper in 1946.

      iTunes in 1946? Did I wake up in an alternate universe this morning?

      Woosh? :)

      It was a joke... To poke fun at the archaic and buggy nature of iTunes. As someone who reads slashdot, you are of course familiar with the generally accepted theory that the term 'bug' originated with work she did where they found an actual bug causing a computer problem... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper#Anecdotes

  • Ok, so they accuse apple of "stuff(ing) an overwhelming number of new features" into ITunes, and then they say that Apple should rather have stuffed in even more useless features, like "online or social integration". WTF? That is close to the most useless feature ever, plus it would create a lot of extra confusing UI, which they are criticizing Apple for (and I don't disagree)... Buuuut, this report is BS - and I dislike apple, so I would jump on any chance to lambast them...
  • Drove me to this (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @02:02PM (#52007061) Journal

    I hated iTunes so much that I ran out and bought a Zune. I'm not kidding. That's how awful it is.

    Maybe if a Mac was my primary machine I wouldn't mind all the iTunes mishegas so much. I don't need my portable device to be inextricably paired with an account at Apple. Screw that noise.

    (Note: "mishegas" is Italian for "fuck you, Apple, I don't want quicktime for Windows")

    • http://www.yiddish.co/mishegas... [yiddish.co]

      "Insanity or craziness"

      Good thing I'm a neophile linguist (in training).

      • I usually spell it "Michiganer." But that's just me...

      • I've told this story before, but when I was a young Italian-American kid growing up in Chicago's Little Italy, I heard someone say that Hollywood was run by Jews. Because I wanted to grow up to be a movie director, I figured learning Yiddish would give me a leg up. So I took some books out of the library and did my best to learn Yiddish. It was disconcerting for my parents to hear me talking like a Catskills comic at the dinner table, but they were pretty cool about it all in all. I couldn't keep up wit

    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      Yeah, it's pretty sad that the old version of the Zune software I have is still better than the latest iTunes on PC. I wish I could get my family off their iOS devices, but they won't budge.

    • I hated iTunes so much that I ran out and bought a Zune. I'm not kidding.

      That's funny. I bought a Zune because it was a nice media player.

      • That's funny. I bought a Zune because it was a nice media player.

        It's my favorite media player. I bought three Zune HD 64s because I like them so much. Two are still in the box in my drawer. I could sell them for a nice profit on ebay.

    • Just get a Sansa, geez. They even come with a microSD slot so you can expand them, unlike iPods and Zunes.

      Unfortunately nobody seems to know they exist. I got mine back when they still made them with a physical clickwheel day-after-Thanksgiving for like $42 (normal price 110? 120?) back in...2008? Still working.

      P.S: Rockbox

      • Just get a Sansa, geez. They even come with a microSD slot so you can expand them, unlike iPods and Zunes.

        Zunes last 10x longer than a Sansa. And they sound better. They also handle podcasts MUCH better.

        • So you have an 80-year-old Zune?

          • Or maybe you meant battery life...in which case your Zune gets you 220 hours of music play one on charge?

            Rockbox benchmarks [rockbox.org] (Fuze v2 [wikipedia.org])

            • Here's what Rockbox supports with a stable version: Sansa c200, e200 and e200R series, Fuze, Clip, Clip+ and Clip Zip

              Do any of those models have 64 gig of storage? How about a touchscreen?

              Sansa with a Rockbox is Ford Fiesta. My Zune HD 64 is a Cadillac V-series.

              • Not built in, but as I just said the Fuze and Clips have an SD card slot. A thread on the Rockbox forums suggest they should handle SDXC fine as long as you format is at FAT32.

                Who the hell needs a touchscreen? The Fuze+ has a capacitive cross-shaped area thingy. The rest are analog controls like God intended ;)

                Sansa with a Rockbox is Ford Fiesta. My Zune HD 64 is a Cadillac V-series.

                If you're talking price, maybe. Can you get radio on your Zune? Play games? Edit text files?

          • So you have an 80-year-old Zune?

            Not yet, but it'll get there.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @02:13PM (#52007135)
    ... Apple has convinced me that I should not have my music stored, accessed and played on their infrastructure.

    .
    For music, AppleTV gen4 is a big step backwards from AppleTV gen3.

    And then there's the iTunes backend which is as bad as, if not worse than, what most have been saying about it. Slow, buggy, cumbersome, bloated, really bad UI, slow, buggy, etc.

    I am surprised that I have stayed with Apple's music infrastructure for this long....

  • The only thing I use iTunes for is as a backup program for my iPad, and even then, I run it in a VM sandbox that doesn't have network access, and only long enough to do the backup. And to copy MP3 files to my ipod touch. That's it. I can't imagine ever using it for anything else.
  • by Squirmy McPhee ( 856939 ) on Thursday April 28, 2016 @02:28PM (#52007303)

    My employer insists on giving me an iPhone, but prohibits iTunes on my company-issue laptop because it's such shit. Even if I wanted it on my home computer, I run Linux so it isn't even an option. And since it's a relatively new device, Apple actively breaks whatever free software works even semi-well with it. Company policy also prohibits me from using iCloud, so I can't add music through iTunes Music, I can't delete iTunes Music, I can't even seem to delete the stupid U2 album they foisted upon me. That means certain apps that can normally play music for me, can't play music, because Apple only allows them to play music via iTunes Music.

    I will never spend my own money on an iPhone. The only reason I have one is because I'm paid to have it.

    Unfortunately, my wife prefers Apple's music players, and we're both using Linux now. Fortunately, she prefers the ones they don't make anymore, so Linux software actually works pretty well with them. We actually just paid 45 euros to get her old Nano repaired, and we're about to get her chunky old iPod with a clickwheel repaired. It's amazing how much easier and more pleasant it is to use these old devices than it is my iPhone 5....

  • Who are we kidding, even nukes can't kill iTunes.

  • I am by no means a Apple or Mac Fanboy, but I must say that iTunes 4 was pretty decent. I used to use it to play music as well as loading my iPod.

    That was the last version that was usable. iTunes 5 sucked, and every version since has sucked harder.

    Now I only start iTunes to mess with what is stored on my iPod. I should probably convert to RockBox

    I will not hesitate to bitch about the new iPods, disposable pieces of crap that they are. I'm on my 2nd iPod, and I intend to keep it running as long as possibl

    • Now it makes sense. I stopped using the Mac some time around iTunes 4, and hadn't used iTunes since but I didn't recall iTunes ever being as awful as TFS suggests. It was very easy to quickly import CDs, make playlists, and manage an iPod, and when the iTMS (yeah, that old) came about, that didn't seem to be a problem. I liked it then, it was a whole lot nicer to use than the WinAMP derived stuff everyone else used at the time.

      I wonder if an issue here is that iTunes in its current configuration is obsol

  • Wow, the vitriol...

    And all this time I thought I was the odd one, not like iTunes.
  • I really don't understand why iTunes is so frowned upon. As a music player, yeah maybe Winamp is great but iTune is not just a player. And for the most part it is for organizing/arrrangement/sync-ing music (and app). I have a hard time finding a good alternative...
  • I like to watch TV and play games at the same time. At the time this happened, my PC was connected to my TV and to a monitor mounted on a swing arm next to the couch (it was sweet, but my lady didn't like it). Turns out, the itunes video player can't handle multiple monitors. Fullscreen on one = black screen on the other! Every other video player out there can handle such a setup, even Windows Media Player. I mentioned how absurd this was in my demand for a refund.

    MPC-HC played a pirated copy just f

  • I've used iTunes on Windows for many years as a music player only, and while it definitely has some annoyances, nothing else seems to do all the things that I want:
    - auto-organize its own folder
    - not reorganizing external folders
    - volume normalization
    - smart playlists

    It is oddly lacking support for Ogg Vorbis and FLAC, but you can install 3rd party support for those.

    I've tried several other music players, but none seem to do all of the above. The most promising ones unfortunately lack the expressive power o

  • I liked it when it was Sound Jam!
    http://www.macworld.com/articl... [macworld.com]
    https://www.panic.com/extras/a... [panic.com]

    Paid good money for that software, a month before Apple took it, called it iTunes and released it for free.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?

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