I use Apple Music pretty much every day. I don't see why people hate the service compared to Spotify, but I can empathize with the reasons they are frustrated with the UI as it stands in August 2020. I believe Apple's MacOS UI problems stem from not being able to fully commit to their music app being a desktop file browser or a streaming service browser. This is a problem Spotify doesn't have to solve. Spotify doesn't have to keep the iTunes Store, a desktop library and the Apple Music platform all in one app. With that being said, I think Apple could still do better to promote things that Spotify excels at like encouraging music exploration, social connection and curating user specific content.
To preface, Apple Music has all those things. You can search for user generated playlists, your friend's music profile, access great curated playlists- Apple even invented generating user specific playlists in the first place- but, they've become a little lost in the sauce, and might not see these things with importance Spotify obviously does.
In my first redesign, of more to come, I reimagined the MacOS landing page to connect you a bit more to the content they already have in store for you.
1. The Homepage:
In my redesign you'll notice the user starts their experience on the called out "Home" tab. I feel that starting your experience in the current way, on the "Recently Added" tab is nice, because what you've recently added is probably what your interacting with the most, but that's not always the case.
2. Homepage content:
So at first glance you see a "New Releases For You", "Recently Played" and a "Your Playlists" section have been added to the main content feed. Right off the bat at the top there's a curated collection of new releases for you based off what you've been listening to, encouraging music exploration at a high level. Right below and there's user generated content. Like I said before, to start on the recently added page, banks on the user using the app in a specific way. Having a "Recently Played" section on the homepage, instead on the subpage "For You", which it's currently on, what help you get right into the action without having to search for the album you just listened to or go to a subpage. Furthermore the playlist section would help benefit users that are playlist based. Maybe they have one for every activity, and the app could curate them to the homepage based on when they access the playlists most often. If you open up the app at 8am you would get your "Driving to Work" playlist front and center.
Right now to access your Apple Music profile you have to go to the "For You" tab, then find your tiny profile picture in the top right of the screen click on it, then press view profile. To access your account, you have to go to the toolbar on the top of the screen and the press account, then view your account. Without knowing how to view my iTunes/Apple Music account, the first time I had to look it up. Having it front and center on the sidebar encourages people to use the social functionality and be able to access their info without subpages.
Currently they have a tab called "For You" that replaces the original "Genius" functionality that apple used to use. I think recalling the original "Genius" terminology would help differentiate it from the "Browse" section. The "Browse" section is probably already gathering info on what you listen to and giving you a unique feed of content to explore- so the "Genius" section could maybe be a more unique section where you're looking for specific recommendations from Apple Music. Maybe there's a section where you input 3 artists and get a recommendation. You listen to artist samples. Something besides curated suggested content.
Probably the feature that I want the most, collections would be like playlists but more similar to how someone might organize their record collection in real life. A new "Collections" section would give the ability to create album lists without having to add every song from an album to a playlist. This would give people an extra level of ability for their own curation and could be used for social interactions as well. "Here's my favorite 2000's rap albums check them out". "Here's a collection of my favorite Jazz album covers". "Here's the Stone's Throw 2020 releases collection". I think adding this feature would encourage different and new types of social interaction on the app but also encourage unique types of music exploration, similar to digging at record store. I think this section would also allow the users to organize a feed of music with more precision. Adding the "Recently Played" tab on the home feed helps them see what they might be listening to lately, but what if they've been digging EDM music and what to see all the dance albums at once, just like they may put them to the front of their record collection or on their wall in their room.
With just a few changes to one page a lot of new doors are opened up and lead to the possibility to design several new pages and think about how users might interact with those pages. What I focused on with this redesign was keeping it very close to the original but doing more to show off Apple Music's unique curated albums and playlists, encourage the use of the social feature and encourage more and different types of music exploration.