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Why do Apple Music's own curated playlists have songs that no one can play?

Why do Apple Music's own curated playlists have songs that no one can play?

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There’s no doubt that Apple Music arrived in the world not quite ready for prime time — the UI is far more confusing than I’d have hoped for, there’s a host of weird bugs, and it’s reliant on iTunes for desktop listening. That said, it does a lot of things far better than the competition, as well, most notably the curated playlists. There’s a ton of variety to be found there, with numerous selections under a host of genres and different activities. Spotify has been doing this for a while, and Spotify’s playlists are often fine, but they’re also usually 100 songs long. I’m more a fan of the Apple Music approach — the 15-30 song range feels a lot more digestible to me and makes it easier to find songs that really stick with me.

Between the shorter lengths and Apple’s smart recommendations, I found myself following a couple dozen playlists shortly after I started using Apple Music. By and large found them a really enjoyable way to find new tracks or dig in on a particular style, era, or artist. However, perusing these playlists has led me to one of the most ridiculous and unfathomable Apple Music bugs yet: a whole bunch of these playlists include songs that aren’t playable on Apple Music.

Yup, that’s right — I’ll be in the middle of enjoying Pitchfork’s Modern Americana Gold playlist and come across a song that has somehow been added to a playlist that Apple itself created, and that song will be greyed out, teasing me. It’s incredibly bizarre and frustrating and I have no idea how such a thing slipped past the humans curating these playlists.

Granted, part of the fun of streaming music is the fact that artists and record labels can change the rights they’ve granted to a service and pull their songs, but the fact that I first noticed this right after launch just didn’t make a whole lot of sense. (One theory could be that many of these playlists were pulled into Apple Music from the Beats Music service it replaced, but it would surprise me if Beats had access to music that Apple doesn’t.)

Regardless of the reason, it’s yet another one of the more ridiculous and goofy things about Apple Music. On the plus side, it seems to be getting better — a quick scan of playlists today, about a month after the service launched, shows a lot less holes than I was coming across a few weeks ago. Still, I’m hoping for a future where I can scan Apple Music’s playlists and not expect to see a song or two inexplicably missing. Until then, I’ve started compiling a bunch of songs missing from Apple Music playlists that are available on Spotify. (To be fair, three of the 16 songs I was looking for here were also not on Spotify.) Just don’t expect much of any flow to this list, people.