iTunes 8 = EPIC FAIL

I’ve been an Apple fan boy for nearly two years. In that time we’ve acquired 3 Macs (a Mac Pro, Macbook Pro and Macbook) two iPhones and an Apple TV. I purchased and love iWork, I use iLife for podcasts and photos, I use iTunes to manage our music, and I’ve even started renting movies and buying apps from the iTunes store. So I’m not an Apple hater, but no matter how much I try to love iTunes 8, I can’t. iTunes 8 with “Genius” is an epic failure. Where do I start?

Genius recommendations suck

Per the screenshot above, I own every single Crowded House album ever released, so by extension I have every single Crowded House single. And what does the Genius Sidebar suggest that I’m missing? Well, Crowded House standards such as Chocolate Cake, Mean to Me and Throw Your Arms Around Me. Maybe Apple doesn’t like Crowded House, but the same goes for other albums we own, with the Genius sidebar actually telling me that I’m missing songs that appear on the album!

Genius sidebar is a blatant sales tool, nothing else

I’m not against the concept of the Genius sidebar making recommendations, after all the idea has some merit, and if it actually worked it would be a good way of discovering singles. My problem is that it’s not a discovery tool, it’s a sales tool, and nothing else. Every recommended single is a link to buy the track on iTunes, further promoting the dominance of the iTunes store. Jobs wasn’t kidding when he said that Genius was about increasing sales!

Genius playlists seem randomly generated

They say that the Genius feature gets better with use, but a couple of days in, the Genius playlists still feel random. My playlists include Jazz next to Alternative and Pop/ Rock. Maybe it works better after you’ve spent $1000 on the iTunes store in singles?

At least there’s a visualizer

The only positive in the release is Apple’s inclusion of a visualizer in iTunes, so finally they’ve caught up with Windows Media Player…in 1998.


The convenience of using iTunes to manage media across our iPhones and the Apple TV means that I’ll probably stick with iTunes, but the Genius feature just got switched off. Apple has dropped the ball, switching to a sales push instead of focusing on the user experience first. Lets hope that greed hasn’t gone to their heads, and this is the beginning of a new Apple that looks more like the competition.

Update: there are also reports of iTunes 8 crashing Vista. Score that as another point on the EPIC FAIL path.