Taylor Swift's exclusive new documentary tour special is a major get for Apple Music, pairing the biggest tech company with one of the world's biggest artists, and giving Apple a big stick with which to beat out its more established streaming rivals. But when the 1989 World Tour Live premiered on Apple Music on Sunday, it didn't quite go according to plan. A number of Apple Music subscribers reported having problems watching the two-hour-plus video, complaining that the World Tour wouldn't load, would crash, or was simply not present on their Apple Music app.
A quick scan of Apple Music's support Twitter account shows that the staff was working on overdrive this Sunday afternoon to handle complaints about the streaming video. Users said that the video would fail to start while others said that the stream stuttered and dropped every couple of minutes. All of the trouble even made some fans wish they could just buy a good old DVD to watch the concert tour special — some influential fan accounts have already started pushing for the release of a physical version, joined in their argument by Spotify subscribers and those who bemoaned the need for an Apple Music subscription to watch the video.
Some appeared to have problems even finding the 1989 World Tour Live on Apple's service. Apple Music's interface has been criticized for being convoluted and clunky, mixing together iTunes libraries and tracks available on the cloud in a confusing manner, but it did at least put Swift's exclusive video front and center of Apple Music's "New" tab.
A few hours after the documentary hit the service, most of the tech problems seemed to be ironed out — Twitter complaints subsided and the video played uninterrupted — and in impressively high quality — for Apple Music subscribers at The Verge. But while Apple was able to secure Apple Music a major exclusive, the streaming service itself didn't quite feel ready to bear the load.
Trying to stream the 1989 World Tour on Apple Music is the most painful experience of my life! Would rather buy it digitally or on DVD tbh!— Ali Coverdale (@alicoverdale_) December 20, 2015
Even after World Tour's early bugs were (largely) ironed out, Apple Music's baked-in problems remain, including the inability to AirPlay the documentary on all but the newest Apple TVs, and the lack of a fullscreen mode when using the service on iPad. The latter is particularly egregious, forcing users of Apple's tablet to watch Taylor Swift's glitzy and glamorous concert in a tiny window. Already the service has leant on videos — such as Drake's "Hotline Bling," which premiered on Apple Music — to differentiate itself from Spotify and the rest, but the tablet video viewing experience needs to be fixed if Apple plans to rely on similarly visual treats in the future.
Considering the sheer number of people keen to watch an exclusive show from one of the planet's biggest pop stars, some capacity issues could have been expected from today's World Tour premiere, but Apple Music's performance is still slightly worrying — especially when the streaming service has been struggling with a number of bugs since launch. We've reached out to Apple for comment on the issue, but let us know in the comments: are you having issues watching The 1989 World Tour Live?