Apple Music’s Indian languages problem

As someone who makes a LOT of playlists on Apple Music, Saavn & YouTube (for context, I run a hobby website called Milliblog since 2005; and create at least 4 playlists every week and 18-20 playlists over and above that every quarter, on all the 3 platforms), I’m consistently surprised by how bad search is on Apple Music. Besides acting petulant for the smallest spelling changes and throwing blanks, I also feel it’s stacked against South Indians 🙂

See these 2 examples, for instance – the natural tendency for most South Indians is to use 2 ‘a’ for ‘ishaare’, but Apple Music doesn’t understand the song being searched as the one by Guru Randhawa and throws a blank!

And ‘ghajinikant’ is how a non-South Indian would spell it, and it throws a blank! Until I add ‘h’ in the end and make the spelling exactly same, it doesn’t show me what I intended with my search. If you think about it, ‘ghajinikant’ is inside ‘ghajinikanth’ and logically, even the former should show the result of the latter.

On a broader note, it just looks like Apple Music’s UX is designed for English music and not so specifically designed for Indian music and its many spelling variations.

In comparison, I find Saavn’s search results to be top notch, almost as if it is natively designed for Indian music and spellings first!

Not just that, even playlist creation is considerably faster and easier (in terms of UX) on Saavn! In Apple Music, each addition takes a few seconds to sync the song to the playlist (which happens instantly on Saavn). I’m looking forward to Spotify’s launch in India (I hear it may be in December 2018), to see how good the new music addition is (more than just past collection, which can be worked upon; and how good the playlist creation is, though they are known more for AI-based automated playlists more than human-curated playlists).

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