six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Play it again, Siri—no, the other one!

In launching its music-streaming service, Apple also expanded what Siri can do with music. But the intelligent agent is hardly perfect; in particular, I’ve run into a recurring annoyance when I ask Siri to play a song by name.

Song titles are hardly unique, which occasionally causes mishaps where Siri plays the wrong song. Easy enough to fix if you specify “play song title by artist” though it would also be nice if Siri presented you with a list of options, rather than simply playing what appears to be its best guess.1

But what I find really irritating is that if I ask it to play a song in my library it will still check Apple Music first. So if there happens to be a song (or album) with the same title as the song in my library, it will play that one instead. That’s led to some frustration and some hurt eardrums, when I turned up the volume anticipating a quiet piano track and was instead blasted with a loud pop song.

This is silly. The music that I own, that I bought from the iTunes Store or ripped from my CDs, should be given priority. It’s “My Music,” in Apple’s parlance, and the default should be to play from that collection. When I want to read one of my favorite books, I get it from my shelves, I don’t search the entire public library catalog first.

Given the emphasis Apple is placing on intelligence in iOS 9, it seems like Siri should be smart enough to take these kind of personal preferences into account. Right now that intelligence is really kind of, well, dumb.


  1. It already does something similar if you tell it to send a message to Dan, for example, and you have three Dans in your address book.  ↩

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[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]