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Albums from top artists disappear from Apple Music: is it a bug or sloppy algorithms?


According to Apple Music subscribers who are also Reddit members, there are some major issues with Apple Music. Albums are missing from some Artists’ Profiles even though they appear in Top Songs and in the Library. For example, on Reddit, a member named StarGrouchy 7301 wrote, “For example if you go to Lady Gaga’s artist page the “Chromatica” album is missing, yet “Rain On Me” is still listed in Top Songs and plays normally. If you try to access the album page from the song it just displays the album title and a grey placeholder artwork. It’s not just this album either, the first two Spice Girls albums are missing but tracks off those albums still play from Top Songs. Florence and the Machine, Sia, Destiny’s Child also. I had added these albums to my library months ago and they are still available and play fine. I’m hoping this is just a temporary thing and not a major problem, perhaps it’s connected to the server issues people were experiencing earlier?”

Popular albums are disappearing from Apple Music: bug or messy algorithms?

Another Reddit member posted that, “Thank God I‘m not the only one experiencing this. This really got me worried. I checked artists like Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Lady A. They are all missing some albums and singles.”  And yet another post said, “It appears to be getting worse as more albums are disappearing for the artists I’m tracking. Hopefully Apple escalates fixing this as it’s leading people to believe these albums are being removed.”

Another problem that Apple Music subscribers are facing is that some of the album artwork shown by Apple’s streaming music app is incorrect. In one example, discovered by 9to5Mac, the remade version of Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” album shows the artwork from the original version of the LP by mistake. For some, this issue is getting bigger and bigger. “It appears to be getting worse as more albums are disappearing for the artists I’m tracking,” said one Apple Music subscriber.
Perhaps the Reddit user who goes by the handle “heyyoudvd” had the best explanation why it appears as those some albums are disappearing from Apple Music. In a lengthy post he wrote, “…Apple often includes deluxe editions, remasters, and rereleases in the main artist discography, when the main discography should only include the original releases. All of the variations should be in a separate section.

Apple Music in general has had a lot of issues with alternate versions and multiple releases, where you’ll download an album, Apple Music would match that album to an alternate version of the same thing, and so then when you go look at the album, it treats it as though you don’t have the album.

That’s why people have complained about albums getting split up or going missing. The Apple Music catalog is messy and the matching algorithms are poor, meaning you often download an album straight from Apple Music, and then it treats that album as if you don’t have it.

You’ll see this in the Favorites and Replay playlists a lot. Plenty of songs are shown as though you don’t even have them. Think about that. Your most played songs of 2020 often are shown as though you don’t have them. How’s that possible? It’s because you downloaded song X, you played it a lot, Apple added it to your Replay playlist, and then Apple Music matched it against a different releases of that song (ie. from a Deluxe Edition or a Remaster or a Greatest Hits or an EP or a Single), and so then when you look at the song you downloaded, it thinks you don’t have that song, and so you download it again (at which point you now have two of them).

That’s what I mean by messy.

The Apple Music catalog is very messy and needs to be cleaned up.”

What is interesting is that some Apple Music users are now reporting that the missing albums are beginning to reappear on the Apple Music app. This would actually would seem to give some credence to the theory that “heyyoudvd” has been promoting.

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