Ahead of Apple’s iPhone event on September 7th, the company has begun rolling out new, personalized music playlists to Apple Music subscribers, who are beta testing the soon-to-be-released iOS 10 mobile operating system and macOS Sierra. Originally introduced at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple Music’s new playlists are a direct challenge to Spotify, whose “Discover Weekly” playlist is so popular it saw 40 million users in its first year.
Apple, meanwhile, is taking on “Discover Weekly” with its “My New Music Mix” playlist, which is updated every Friday with new tunes. This playlist was called “Discovery Mix” when it was shown off at WWDC but, given the rebranding, it seems Apple decided its name was too similar to Spotify’s mix. “My New Music Mix” is found in the “For You” section of the Music app, and currently offers 25 tracks selected based on your listening history.
The idea here is to expose Apple Music subscribers to more of the sort of songs and artists you would like, based on those you like to play – effectively, the same concept as Spotify’s “Discover Weekly.” The real question will be which service has the better algorithm? That remains to be seen, as the Apple Music feature only just rolled out this weekend, and no one has had enough time to test it, just yet.
Alongside “My New Music Mix,” Apple Music subscribers on iOS 10 are also seeing the addition of another playlist called “My Favorites Mix,” which updates every Wednesday. This one includes both songs you love “and more,” says Apple, in its description. The “and more”here refers to the fact that the new playlist will use your most-loved tracks as the basis for adding more songs that match those you already like.
This offers a different sort of twist on new music discovery, as it subtly mixes in new music with some of your favorite tunes. As with Spotify, Apple Music customers can subscribe to either playlists and configure them to automatically download the new tracks as they arrive. The two new playlists are now showing up in the Apple Music app on iOS 10 beta, as well as in iTunes 12.5 on macOS Sierra.
The addition of the playlists is part of a larger makeover for Apple Music, which was criticized for being a bit cluttered in its original design. At WWDC, the company unveiled Apple Music’s new look, which included dropping its social networking attempt dubbed “Connect” from the bottom navigation tabs, and placing users’ libraries in the front-and-center of the application, among other things.
Despite the issues with the earlier layout, Apple Music has presented a formidable challenge to Spotify, just by its nature of being built into Apple’s OS. The company revealed in June it has already reached 15 million paid subscribers. Spotify is still ahead with 30 million paying customers, and 100 million listeners, however. But a revamped Apple Music which comes with better music discovery features could pose a threat.