Auto-following and U2 obsession among Apple Music gripes for music fans

Apple Music launched yesterday and Oxford University's TheySay sentiment analysis company monitored Twitter to work out the overall feeling towards the new service.

When the firm monitored the sentiment towards Apple’s WWDC keynote three weeks ago, the announcement of Apple Music received an overall 85 per cent approval rating from tweeters, but now that it’s here, the actual service is proving far less popular.

Dr Karo Moilanen, Oxford University professor and co-founder of TheySay, observed: "Compared to the sky-high positive sentiment ratings that Apple products and announcements typically reach on Twitter, this time Apple Music invoked a healthy dose of strong negative sentiment (ca. 24 per cent) amongst tweeters".

According to TheySay, there were 84,845 keyword mentions on Twitter, of which 76 per cent were positive, and 24 per cent negative.

The positives were:

  • Playlists and clever recommendations.
  • A curated radio station.
  • Smooth interoperability with other Apple services.
  • Apple expanding to and conquering new areas.

Taylor Swift featured prominently (and positively) in the social commentary in that many tweeters attributed the three-month free trial offer to her.

The negatives included:

  • A truly annoying renewing payment feature ("auto-bill-after-free-trial scam").
  • Not original enough compared to Spotify ("just a wannabe Spotify assassin").
  • A confusing UX disaster with incomplete and buggy builds on many devices.
  • Apple's obsession with U2 - yet another U2 preloaded.
  • Auto-following unwanted artists.
  • Limited shared playlists, for example family sharing.

The annoying auto-following feature was behind the massive peaks in anger, dislike, and negative sentiment that stand out in the charts.

Does Spotify have cause to worry about Apple Music? Moilanen says: "The sentiment profiles for Spotify suggest that, contrary to what many tweeters predicted, the providential arrival of Apple Music does not necessarily sound the death knell for Spotify. The ratio of extremely positive vs. negative sentiment was 9 per cent negative : 29 per cent positive for Apple Music, while Spotify's ratio was 12 per cent negative : 32 per cent positive which does not indicate huge divergence."

TheySay Ltd is a sentiment analysis company spun out of the University of Oxford in 2011, and its linguistics tool is the most advanced and accurate of its kind, not merely monitoring positive and negative sentiment but also softer human emotions like humour and sarcasm. You can view graphs of the data used in a slideshow below.

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