iTunes Music Is a Big, Fat, Bloated Disaster of an App…

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Entire iTunes collections are going AWOL, downloads are getting mangled, IDs are fighting with one another, and Apple Music is acting weird again.  What needs to change?

Has iTunes become an unmanageable monstrosity?  In the latest battle against its own ‘bloatware,’ Apple sent two engineers to a user’s home after 122 GB of his personal music collection vanished into the ether.  James Pinkstone, author of the blog Vellum Atlanta, was the customer watched his mega-collection go deleted.  This prompted him to write a long complaint on his website a few weeks ago, which was picked up by Apple, who then sent the engineers out.

The engineers spent the whole day analyzing Pinkstone’s use of Apple Music, iTunes and his personal library at his home, to see if they could recreate the issue.  Ultimately, Apple’s tech team was stumped and came to the conclusion that there was a ‘glitch’ somewhere that needed to be fixed.  Well you don’t say.

The Pinkstone situation follows another mega-deletion involving Jim Dalrymple, who lost nearly 5,000 songs but ultimately got them restored.  And just recently, DMN’s Ari Herstand entered a cauldron of overlapping Apple ID hell when trying to listen to a simple Beyonce album download.

But, what is Apple doing about it?

On Monday, the tech giant pushed out their new updated iTunes 12.4 version, which not only had design ‘tweaks’ but an installed ‘safeguard’ to protect users music from a deletion bug.

The situation stoked theories of active and intentional download destruction on the part of Apple.  People have been speculating that Apple has been knowingly deleting music that isn’t part of the Apple Music library.  But, the strange thing in this latest episode is that Apple itself can’t determine the music deletion issue, and they’ve flatly denied plans to nix their download store.

But, what we do know, is that Apple Music has been experiencing unprecedented growth since it launched in June last year.  The streaming service has quickly racked up more than 13 million subscribers, adding one million more users on average a month.  That is, despite constant technical issues in the early stages, and more recent issues which saw subscribers being asked to re-sign up multiple times.

Customers have been sticking with the platform throughout, but if problems with the service continue to occur users may become exhausted.  The Verge recently lamented that iTunes now fits “somewhere between filing your taxes and having your wisdom teeth pulled out,” with ‘bloatware’ an increasingly apt way to describe this overgrown media app.  That has also infected Apple Music, though its unclear whether this is dampening subscriber interest.

Perhaps the best hope is that newer updates and safeguards will eradicate the most pressing issues moving forward.  More drastic moves — like eliminating music downloads entirely — would go a long way towards trimming this application of obesity.


Pig image by wackystuff, adapted under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).

11 Responses

  1. Tin Foil Hat

    “Or maybe it’s just one big charade from Apple pretending to act on an issue that they were purposefully creating in the first place, who knows.”


    Yes, it’s allllllllllll a big conspiracy. {spooky ghost hands}

    • BamBam

      Itunes has perfected user unfriendly bloated un-intuitive software.
      Not much else to add.

  2. asdf

    Do tech companies frequently and purposely “create” bugs and problems for users, just so they can “pretend to act on an issue”?

    That makes no sense. In what world is that good business practice?

  3. Bruce Houghton of Hypebot

    This is the worst article ever written, ever.

    • J. L. Wilson

      I totally agree with Bruce. Granted, iTunes is very convoluted and it needs lots of tuning up, but your last suggestion to eliminate downloads tells me you don’t get it. Charlotte, you obviously do not know anything about the real world of royalties and actually being a songwriter who has music playing all over the world.

  4. Versus

    Versions of iTunes 10 years ago had much cleaner, more sensible, and actually more powerful design. Now it’s just a confusion, with missing features.

    Separate Apple Music from iTunes, or at least clearly demarcate them if they remain in one app, please. If I am not an Apple music subscriber, then I should be able to use iTunes without it ever leading me to unplayable tracks on Apple Music.

    • Anonymous

      That’s because Steve Jobs was still alive 10 years ago. You think any of this would be happening if he was still CEO? Hell f*cking no.

  5. Kier

    This happened to me as well and I’ve lost hundreds, maybe thousands of songs. Apple support admitted it is a problem with iTunes and they have no solution. #TeamTidal

  6. Nicky Knight

    I’m thinking it’s all a big beat up … iTunes is still king and used by millions and millions world over .. the odd trouble story makes the headlines but nine times out of ten it’s the users “operator error” and/or competence that’s the issue… of course no one likes to be told this..

    Having said that, sometimes a design change or flaw can complicate or confuse things..

    That aside, I have installed the latest version of iTunes but haven’t really explored it’s differences yet..

  7. Name2

    Piracy is better, faster, easier, and your files don’t disappear.

    Rightscorp heralded itself as a content savior when it was founded in 2011 with a novel business model—enforcing copyrights by capturing online pirates and demanding about a $20 fee per pilfered work.

    But a few things happened along the way to a year-over-year 78-percent plummet in first-quarter revenues and a loss of $784,180. Among other things, pirates are seemingly masking their IP addresses more and more, and ISPs aren’t forwarding Rightscorp’s money-demand letters to pirates, the company announced Monday. Still, the California-based anti-piracy company has never made a profit. Last year, it lost $3.5 million and, judging by its first-quarter earnings report released Monday, it’s on course to go defunct.

  8. pwillco

    Is this only a possible problem if using iTunes Match? I still use itunes for my music (about 400 GB, many albums are duplicated in both lossless and lossy files), and I haven’t had an issue with missing files. It looks like I may continue to avoid using the Match option.

    I agree itunes is bloated, it used to just be about the music. Why can’t they separate the itunes stores and streaming into 3 separate apps (streaming Music, itunes music store & collection, and Movies & movie collection)?