For You, Discover Weekly and SongShift

One of the big features touted with the introduction of Apple Music last summer was the "For You" section. Designed to give recommendations based on music you've told Apple you like, either by having it in your existing iTunes library or explicitly hitting the "Love" button next to a specific track or album. While in theory this should be great (and to be fair music curation is really hard), the results have been wildly inconsistent.

I've made jokes before about their suggestions, but sadly it's not improved at all in the last 11 months. I'm consistently being recommended Scandinavian death metal, hip hop, 80's R&B, etc. Either that or I'll get shown a playlist like "Intro To Elliot Smith", which makes no sense considering I have every note he ever recorded already in my library. Why would I need a 12 song introduction? The suggestions seem completely random and in no way based on what I've tried to let Apple know I love.

On the other hand, Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist has been universally praised by almost everyone who's used it. A 30 track playlist added to your library every Monday morning built specifically to suggest new music Spotify think's you'll love.

Much like the envy felt by Apple users toward Google and Amazon's progress in the "Personal Assistant" category, being an Apple Music subscriber it's easy felt left out of the next level of music discovery. Then I remembered something.

Before the release of Apple Music I'd briefly joined the paid version of Spotify and painstakingly recreated my entire 30,000 song iTunes library using their streaming catalog. So I re-downloaded Spotify, logged into my long dormant account, and there waiting for me were 30 tracks by artists I'd either never heard, never heard of or knew just enough about that they were already on my radar to check out. Not wanting to leave Apple Music though, I needed to find a way to either import these playlists or at least replicate them as close as possible.

Enter SongShift

Originally designed to help users migrate from one streaming service to another, it moves music between services duplicating playlists and saved tracks. I immediately bought it and went to work.

All you have to do is login to your Spotify account from within the SongShift iOS app and then give it permission to access your Apple Music library, from there it analyzes your music on both sides and let's you move things around in either direction you want. With just 3 clicks every Monday morning I can import Spotify Discover Weekly directly into Apple Music. I've already found a dozen artists I likely would never have listened to otherwise that have put out some of the best music of 2016. SongShift is a godsend.

(Oh, and I've also used it to recreate a few dozen of Spotify's mood/activity specific playlists that are so much better than anything Apple has managed to come up with)

I'm holding out hope the folks in Cupertino get better at music discovery and tools like this won't be necessary for long, but until they do it's nice to have the best of both worlds. I can get Spotify's top notch recommendations without giving up the comfort of the Apple ecosystem.

Now excuse me while I go listen to anything other than "Battle Metal".