The Rural Alberta Advantage is one of my favorite bands, and I just realized yesterday that I was not following them on Apple Music. I tapped the Follow button because that’s what you do for bands you like, but I realized that this was a completely empty gesture.
See, following someone on Apple Music means you see them in the Connect section of the app. You know, that thing no one uses and people like me have set up parental controls so they never have to see it.
What I would like that button to do is sign me up for notifications when that artist has new music become available on Apple Music. It could either be a push notification or an email, but I’d like some way to know that my favorite bands have new music I can listen to. This would be such a valuable service for me, because there are plenty of bands who I like, but don’t follow on social media or obsessively read updates about to see what they’re up to.
The current implementation of the Follow button is a little weird, because it’s a truly meaningless gesture most of the time. Most artists are not on Connect, so following them in Apple Music means nothing changes at all. There are no top charts for popular artists, and no way to see what posts are trending on Connect. Connect also can not send you notifications when something new is posted, so you always have to go to it to see if anything new has happened.
Apple may have wanted Connect to take the music world by storm, but it’s pretty clear it’s Ping 2.0 and is mostly a ghost town1. By adding the ability to get new music notifications for any artist you follow2 (opt in, of course), Apple would make following artists more consequential and provide a benefit to listeners even if the band they’re following doesn’t use Connect.