Why I Avoid TV

No, I don’t watch TV at all. Never seen a single episode of Lost, Game of Thrones or Prison Break. Don’t watch the news, sports or any show either. Instead, I allocate my time on productive occupations. That’s how I find the time to write books or keep up with the bands I participate.

I would like to openly evaluate my last year to demonstrate how this works for me.

TV Statistics

According to multiple studies, an average adult spends 4 hours per day watching TV. I will cut this in half so that most readers can relate to an average rate of 2 hours per day.

When you sum it up; this makes ~14 hours per week, ~56 hours per month and ~730 hours per year. Assuming that an average work day is 8 hours long, it means that an adult spends ~90 workdays on TV.

This is a lot of time.

People have different preferences. You might be spending much less time on series; but you might be spending time on video games, newspapers, trivial social events, etc instead. Therefore, I would like to generalize the abbreviation “TV” as “Time Vampires“.

My Secret

Spending TV time on productive occupations is my secret.

If you check my Website; you’ll find that I’m a software architect, a writer, an active musician and a yogi simultaneously. People often ask me how I manage to run those occupations in parallel. Well, time management and discipline is an obvious answer. However; before managing time, you need to have some free time in the first place.

Avoiding TV (time vampires) altogether is how I find free time.

This leaves me 90 workdays (about 4 months on the job) to do whatever I want. This is more than enough to write, practice songs and do some yoga.

A Year Without TV

For instance; my SAP Press book on ABAP Design Patters took me one year to finish. And it is around 400 pages. This means that I wrote ~1 page every day for an entire year. Assuming that a page would take me an hour to complete, I can safely say that I published a book instead consuming the time I saved from TV. A profitable exchange, right?

730 annual hours – 400 hours spent on the book left me with 330 hours. Assuming that I practice bass guitar for 30 minutes every day in average, I have spent 180 hours practicing music. This means that; avoiding TV has also enabled me to play gigs.

This still left me 150 hours of free time. Assuming that I do 30 minutes of yoga every other day, it means that I have spent 90 hours on yoga. This still leaves 60 hours of free time. I have probably spent this time on movies, YouTube or video games. But those are not habits. Exceptions don’t define you, but habits do.

The only significant downside of TV avoidance is; I don’t understand some references and jokes among my peers. Well, I can live with that – I’d rather have another published book + my gigs under my belt.

Conclusion

Being aware of time vampires in your life is an important first step of taking control of the way you live. Video games, newspapers, magazines, trivial social events might be TVs that affect you.

Once you start saving free time, you can start doing time management to achieve your goals over time. I have published a Turkish speech on time management which might guide Turkish speaking readers. Others might be interested in researching methods like GTD and Pomodoro.

Dismissed From TM Center

I would like to share an incident I have experienced in the TM center of Istanbul / Turkey.

Although I am not a TM practitioner, I practice mindfulness meditation (20 years), yoga (5 years) and am one of the founders of Shamoon. Being familiar with meditative practices, my attention was drawn to TM by a practitioner friend of mine.

Going one step further; she invited me to TM center Istanbul to join a meditation session + conference. My intention was to join the practice doing my own mindfulness meditation and listen to the speech to get familiar with TM.

However, the outcome was quite different. A lady, who is the leader of the center and who knows my friend quite well, dismissed me out of the class because “I was no TM practitioner”. She said that I can watch an introduction video somewhere else, but I can’t join their session.

From my point of view, this is a very rude behavior. I visited countless mosques, churches, yoga centers, meditation centers and other similar places. No matter where I went, people were always very warm and welcoming to visitors, and I was always allowed to silently participate their practices. This is how my understanding of spiritual growth is: Welcoming and open.

But the approach in the TM center was quite different – I was dismissed out, despite the fact that my friend is a regular practitioner and I told about my background very politely.

Nevertheless; me & my friend left the class, partially shocked. Her relatives, who are also TM practitioners, learned about the incident and said that they are disappointed & doubt if the TM practices they learned were genuine.

I’ve sent an e-mail to the TM headquarters in India to prevent any misdirected prejudices. How should I evaluate the exposed behavior? Is this a personal mistake of a single teacher? Or would I be dismissed like this in any TM central – and why is that necessary? Am I dismissed because I didn’t pay yet, or is there another reason? However, I didn’t get any reply.

End of story.

How I Lost 16 KG

Let me start by telling you that I’m no nutrition expert. Before going on a diet, I strongly advise you to agree with your doctor and visit a competent nutritionist. If you continue reading this post, it means that you are taking full responsibility of anything that could happen to you in case you follow the methods mentioned.

OK, that was the boring part. Now, the fun part begins. Yes, I have lost 16KG (35 pounds) in a year. I would like to share how.

First of all, some math. 1 KG of fat approximately contains 7.500 calories. If you want to burn 1 KG off your body, you need to burn 7.500 calories. To lose 16 KG, I had to burn 120.000 calories without ignoring my nutrition needs.

This is a lot. Considering how efficient the human body is designed, it is much more than one can reasonably burn with sport. My short cardio practice would burn around 250 calories, so it was obvious that I needed to lower my input as well.

Therefore, I got to know my body. Considering my job, life style, gender, age, weight, etc; a test told me that I need 1.800 calories per day. If I eat 2.000 calories, the excess 200 calories will probably turn into fat (weight gain). If I eat 1.500 calories, 300 calories will be burned off my fat (weight loss).

However, I was also informed about my critical lower limit; which was 1.200 calories per day. If I go below that limit, my body would do unpredictable things (like turning *everything* into fat) or my overall health could be damaged.

Every person would have different calorie values, those were mine.

So the idea was to eat about 1.200 calories per day, and never exceed 1.800 calories (except some rare cheat days). In case I did sports one day and burned 250 calories, I allowed myself to eat +250 calories too – so that I don’t fall under the critical limit of 1.200.

Following that calculation means that I would burn 600 calories daily. Considering that 1 KG of fat is worth 7.500 calories, I would lose about 2 KG per month.

And this is exactly what I did. I basically modified my shopping and eating habits and started counting calories. Following the idea that whatever enters the kitchen eventually enters your stomach, I stopped buying junk food & snacks completely. It took some discipline and planning too: I had to think about not starving on lunch & dinner when I was having my breakfast. You get the idea.

It was also important to make a distinction between an empty stomach and hunger. They are not the same thing. Your stomach may not be as full as you are used to be, but if you got all the nutrition you need (not *desire*), you are good. Getting used to an empty stomach is part of the game.

I also used a helpful app called My Fitness Pal, which counts your calorie input & outputs and tells you how much more you can eat that day. It also shows you that a chocolate bar equals 3 plates of boiled vegetables, so you start to prefer eating more and feeling relatively full over eating junk and feeling hungry.

Well, it worked like a charm. I had cheat days, unfavourable weeks and whatnot; but at the end of the year, I burned 16 KGs. Losing weight over time also gives the body the necessary time to adjust.

I don’t know if this suits you or not, but that’s what I did.

Stay healthy!

Çalışırken Doktora Yapmak

Bana sık sorulan sorulardan biri, çalışırken doktora yapmakla ilgili. Evet, iş hayatım devam ederken doktoramı da tamamladım. Dondurduğum dönemlerle birlikte yaklaşık 7 sene sürdü ve Dr. sıfatımı aldım. Peki, bu nasıl bir süreç? Başkalarına tavsiye eder miyim?

Öncelikle kısa cevap: Etmem. Eğer akademik kariyer düşünüyorsanız başka; ancak özel sektörde çalışmaya devam edecekseniz, normal bir iş temposunda çalışarak bir yandan doktora yapmak çok büyük bir yük. Maddiyatı bir kenara, manevi anlamda çok maliyeti var.

Bölümden bölüme farklılık göstermekle birlikte, kendi doktora alanım olan sosyal bilimlerde doktora genelde birkaç aşamadan oluşur.

İlk aşamada; hazırlık derslerinizi alıyorsunuz. Bu sırada Master yapanlarla ortak derslere de giriyor olabilirsiniz. Bu aşamada “Master yapmaktan farkı yokmuş” duygusuna kapılmanız olası.

İkinci aşamada; alan derslerinizi alıyorsunuz. Burada doktora kendini hissettirmeye başlıyor. Sınıfınız muhtemelen 3-4 kişiden ibaret olacak, ve dersleri hoca değil siz anlatacaksınız. 2,5 saatlik ders süresince; size düşen konuyu sayısız makaleden ve kitaptan araştırarak, belli bir akademik seviyede anlatmanız beklenecek.

Burada hocadan moderatörlük dışında pek bir şey beklemeyin. Eksik kaldığınız noktaları hoca tamamlayabilir, makaleler önerebilir, tezinizi ne üzerine yazacağınızı sorarak ona göre yönlendirme yapabilir. Ancak, işçiliği yapacak olan sizsiniz. Üniversite hayatınızda işleri son dakikada halletmeye alıştıysanız doktorayı unutun. Günlük sıkı bir çalışma planı ile, her akşamınızı ve hafta sonlarınızı bu araştırmalara ayırmaya hazır olun.

Hele (benim gibi) sıkışır da aynı dönem 3 ders almak zorunda kalırsanız vay halinize. Sınıflar zaten 3 kişi, yani her hafta 2,5 saati dolduracak akademik içerik hazırlamak zorundasınız. Bir yandan çalışıyorsunuz. Bir yandan da aileniz, arkadaşlarınız, başka işleriniz var. Benim, çaldığım müzik gruplarını bırakmak zorunda kaldığım ve insan ilişkilerimin yara aldığı / zayıfladığı dönem bu dönem olmuştu.

Zaman yönetimi, disiplin ve dirayet konularında çok iyi olmanız gerekiyor. Plansız biriyseniz zaten bu işe hiç girişmeyin. Planlar yapabiliyor ama sonra dizi izlemek, WhatsApp, vs gibi sebeplerle o planlara uyamıyorsanız da bu işe hiç girişmeyin. Bu konuda eksikleriniz varsa, manevi ve psikolojik çalışmalar yaparak irade ve dirayetinizi geliştirmenizi önerebilirim.

Derslerinizi bitirdiğiniz 3. aşamada ise yeterlilik sınavı var. Bu sınavın kapsamı için “Everything under the sun” denebilir.

Yeterlilik sınavımın ilk aşaması, 3-4 saatlik yazılı sınav idi. Toplamda 3-4 soru soruldu ve 25-30 sayfa yazmak zorunda kaldım. Bilgisayar klavyesinin kalem tutan kasları ne kadar tembelleştirdiğini, çıktığımda kolumu hissetmeyerek anlamıştım.

Akabinde, yazılı sınavı geçenler sözlü sınava tabi tutuluyor. Karşınıza 5-10 akademisyen gelecek ve size her telden soru soracaklar. Kendi konunuzla ilgili literatüre tam hakimiyet zaten bekleniyor olacak. Bunun yanı sıra; sorulara doğru cevaplar vermeniz de yeterli olmayacak – konular arasında bağlantılar kurarak, alternatif 2-3 model kurgulayarak bağlantılara da hakim olduğunuzu göstermeniz beklenecek.

Yeterlilik sınavına çalışabilmek için işten ayrılan, uzun vadeli izinler alan, vs kişiler biliyorum. Ben bunun yerine, tüm literatürü kendim anlayacağım 80-100 sayfalık bir özete indirgedim; iyi bir zaman planıyla her gün o notları çalıştım.

Bitti mi? Hayır. Sırada tez var. 100-200 sayfalık dört dörtlük bir akademik araştırmadan bahsediyoruz. O konu hakkındaki tüm literatürü, kitapları, tezleri, vs okuyacak, kendi modelinizi ortaya koyacaksınız. O modeli ölçebileceğiniz araçları tespit etmeyi, anket doldurmak için insanlara yalvarmayı, sonuçları Regression veya Structured Equation gibi bir araçla doğru ölçebilmek için bir de istatistik uzmanı olmayı (veya tanımayı) içeren bir süreç.

Tez konusu seçerken, hayatınızın en iyi eserini ortaya koyacağınız iddialı bir konu yerine; akademik bir araştırmayı hakkıyla yapabileceğinizi kolaylıkla sergileyebileceğiniz, kolay ölçülebilen, başı sonu belli bir konu seçmenizi öneririm. Yurtdışında yapılan bir araştırmanın Türkiye’ye uyarlaması bile olabilir. O rüyanızdaki araştırmayı Dr. sıfatını aldıktan sonra yaparsınız; diplomanızı riskli bir konuya endekslemeyin.

Ve savunma var tabii ki. Tez savunmaları, hocalar arasındaki politik çekişmelere de sahne olabiliyor malesef. Düşük rütbeli bir tez danışmanınız varsa, bölüm başkanı veya bir profesör “Olmamış” dediğinde itiraz edemeyebilir. Tez hocanızın okulda yüksek rütbeli, saygı duyulan dişli biri olmasını öneririm. Tez sırasında sizi zorlar ama tez savunması sırasında kimse ona karşı çıkmak istemeyeceği için sınavı görece rahat geçersiniz.

Tez de bittikten sonra, yolculuk sona ermiş oluyor.

Çalışırken doktora yapılabilir mi? Evet, canlı örneği benim. Zor mu? Evet, çok yüksek disiplin, yüksek stamina, iyi zaman yönetimi ve pek çok şeyden feragat edecek irade gerektiriyor. Birlikte başladığımız arkadaşlarımdan pek azı benimle birlikte mezun oldu.

Peki değer mi?

Bu biraz kişisel bir soru. Doktoranın temel getirileri; konunuza hakimiyet, otorite sayılacak prestijli bir sıfat ve konulara bilimsel / akademik bakış açısından yaklaşabilmek olacaktır. Erkek okurlarımız için doktora sırasında askerlik görevinden muaf olmayı da zikretmeden geçemeyiz. Çalışırken doktora yapmanın götürüleri ise; yorgunluğun yanı sıra büyük ölçüde iş + doktoradan ibaret birkaç seneyi göze almanızın gerekliliği.

Eğer bu denklem sizin için pozitif çıkıyorsa ve yukarıda anlattığım sürecin altından kalkabileceğinizi gözünüz kesiyorsa, sizi kayıt masasına alalım. Aksi takdirde, alternatif yollar arayabilirsiniz.

Alternatif yollardan ilki, sevdiğiniz konuda ikinci bir Master yapmak olabilir. Bir diğeri, yine sevdiğiniz konuda bir sertifika programına katılmak olabilir. Türkiye’deki klasik programların yanı sıra, yurtdışında uzaktan eğitim programları da var ve gayet geçerli sertifikalar veriyorlar. Maksat bilginizi arttırıp belgelemekse, prestijli bir kurumdan alınmış bir sertifika da güzel olabilir.

Son olarak; bazı üniversiteler ders başı ücret ödeyerek derslere konuk öğrenci olarak katılmanıza imkan tanıyor. Sevdiğiniz hocaların ilginizi çeken derslerine bu yolla katılarak, o konudaki bilginizi arttırabilirsiniz.

Her kararda olduğu gibi, bu kararınızda da mantığınızı, duygularınızı ve sezgilerinizi bir arada kullanmanızı öneririm.

Abartma İfadeleri

Yeni neslin bir şeyi abartmak için kullandığı 4 ifade dikkatimi çekti: Hayvan gibi, öküz gibi, ayı gibi ve eşek gibi. Hangi durumda hangisinin kullanıldığını merak edenler için ufak bir açıklama yapmak istiyorum.

Eğer sayıyla ölçülebilen bir şey abartılacaksa, “ayı gibi” ifadesi tercih ediliyor. Mesela “Fiyatını gördün mü, ayı gibi”.

Eğer sayıyla ölçülemeyecek bir şey abartılacaksa, “hayvan gibi” ifadesi tercih ediliyor. Mesela “Hayvan gibi ders çalıştım kaç gündür”.

Eğer işin içinde kabalık varsa, “öküz gibi” ifadesi tercih ediliyor. Mesela “Öküz gibi bakmayın kızlara”.

Eğer çekinmeden yapılmış bir şey söz konusu ise, “eşek gibi” ifadesi tercih ediliyor. Mesela “3 sınavda birden eşek gibi kopya çekmiş”. Eşek ifadesi eski nesilde “Zorla, istemese bile” anlamında kullanılırdı (eşek gibi ödeyecek), anlaşılan bu ifade evrim geçirmiş.

Hepsini bir arada kullanmak gerekirse; “Hayvan gibi acıkmıştık, restoranda öküz gibi döke saça yedik. Hamdi eşek gibi geğirince herkes bize baktı. Derken ayı gibi hesap geldi”.

Katkılarından dolayı sevgili Özge Estekin’e teşekkürler 😉

Two Factor Theory: An Approach to Life Satisfaction

During my conversations, a subject I often need to address is overall life satisfaction. Having more possessions or luxury in life is supposed to bring satisfaction; but in fact, they often reduce life satisfaction instead.

In this article, I will explain this phenomenon with the help of Herzberg’s “Two Factor Theory”, and discuss why you would want to have motivators for a balanced life satisfaction.

Two Factor Theory

In the academic world of motivation, Herzberg came up with a theory called “Two Factor Theory”. According to his approach; a workplace has two sets of factors.

Hygiene factors cover the materialistic elements; such as job security, salary, benefits, laptop quality, vacations, etc. Those factors can carry an employee from the point of dissatisfaction to a neutral point, but they won’t really satisfy and motivate.

Motivators cover internal factors; such as recognition, responsibility, meaningfulness, decisiveness, initiative, sense of importance, etc. Those factors can carry an employee from the neutral point to the point of satisfaction and motivation.

Every work position will fulfill a certain degree of hygiene factors & motivators. Some positions will bring high hygiene + high motivation, which is the ideal situation. Some will bring high hygiene + low motivation, where employees will have few complaints but no motivation. Some will bring low hygiene + high motivation, where employees will be engaged but will complain a lot. Some will bring low hygiene + low motivation, where employees will seek their way out of the company.

The basic idea is; hygiene factors won’t satisfy and motivate. Motivators do. But motivators won’t work if your hygiene factors lack dramatically.

Implementation To Life

Now, let’s project this idea to our lives.

Life, in general, has hygiene factors as well. Car brands, smartphone, pretty clothes, physical appearance, a house, restaurants, luxury vacations, fashion hair styles are all hygiene factors. Projecting Herzberg’s idea, those factors can carry you from the point of life dissatisfaction to a neutral point, but they won’t really satisfy and motivate.

On the other hand, life has motivators as well. Good health, clean conscience, usefulness, selflessness, success, personal development, helping others are some of the significant motivators in life. Projecting Herzberg’s idea, those factors can carry you from the neutral point to the point of life satisfaction.

This idea leans toward Maslow. If you dramatically lack hygiene factors, you would be disssatisfied with life. If you decently fulfill hygiene factors, you come to a neutral point but you aren’t satisfied. When you add up motivators on top of decent hygiene factors, you will be satisfied with life.

Therefore, fulfillment of hygiene factors is a prerequisite for satisfaction, but it is only the first step to bring you to point zero. Motivators will add up satisfaction.

Balancing Factors

Many people share a common illusion: “If I boost my hygiene factors as much as possible, my satisfaction will maximize”. However; this is often not the case.

To a certain degree, hygiene factors correspond to needs. After that point, they start corresponding to desires. Like all kinds of desires, the happiness provided by excess hygiene factors is temporary; and you need to possess more and more to feel the same level of happiness.

In other words, boosting hygiene factors makes it harder to enjoy anything; and gives no real satisfaction at all. That might be a reason why some people unsuccessfully seek pleasure in luxury possessions, high fashion, aesthetic enhancements, drugs, adrenaline sports, alcohol, peculiar sexual relations, etc. In fact, this is an infinite loop.

The way out of this loop is to introduce motivators into your life.

Do you keep improving yourself over the course of your life? How many people did you help improve in the last year? What do you do to contribute to the society and be a useful member of the world? What is the latest thing you learned from your mistakes? How much effort do you put into your clean conscience? Do you keep learning? Have you found your domains of success?

Motivators will vary from person to person; but one thing remains common: They are not external factors; instead, they are internal compensations. When you discover and place motivators on top of your hygiene factors, life satisfaction will follow.

The balance point between hygiene factors and motivators is defined by the boundary between your needs and desires.

Ideally; hygenie factors should fulfill your needs, and the remaining resources (such as time) can be allocated to motivators. If hygenie factors leak towards your desires, life imbalances might emerge.

Personal Example

In my life; I fulfill my hygenie factors using the money I make from SAP software architecture. I limit the quantity of items I possess; whenever I buy something new, I definitely give something else away. If I make an expanse purchase, it is probably due to a quality factor I “need” – not something shallow that I “want”. This way, I intend to keep the hygenie factors at bay without leaking towards desires.

In terms of motivators, I write books and articles to share my knowledge on areas of my expertise. I also teach occasionally. Personal development via research and yoga is another central aspect of my life. Overall; I feel like I’m improving my being constantly, and helping others grow meanwhile.

Those are small highlights from my own life. I’m sure everyone can find or build their own.

Conclusion

As in many other subjects, “balance” is the key concept of the two factors. If you can’t fulfill your basic needs, you can’t really get any satisfaction from motivators; but  without any motivators, hygiene factors won’t satisfy you either.

Everyone is unique, and everyone can find a personal balance point of two factors.

Spotify vs Apple Music

Being an active musician, I was an advocate of having a music archive of offline MP3 files. However; due to the popularity of stream services, I decided to give it a shot.

Spotify and Apple Music were obvious choices. In terms of hardware, I live in the Apple universe; so Apple Music was supposed to be an obvious choice. On the other hand, I heard many good things about Spotify as well.

I ended up picking Spotify over Apple Music and deleting most of my offline MP3 files.

I would like to share my highly subjective personal comparison experience; where I might have missed some features of the respective services. Nevertheless, the overall comparison could be useful to you.

Spotify

Pros

Public Playlists

Spotify seems to have a much larger database of playlists because users are able to create & publish playlists on will. Therefore, search results are more satisfying in a number of ways.

First of all, I can run a search like “Sunday Morning Country” and I’m almost guaranteed to make a hit.

Another point is, I can discover surprise songs or artists over those playlists because a vast variety of people with different musical tastes put them together.

This is clearly an advantage of Spotify because Apple seems to limit public playlists to curators.

Similar Songs

In terms of discovery, Spotify has a neat feature: If you play a single song, it keeps playing similar songs – unless you disable this feature in settings. This feature carries the discovery option beyond playlists of the community.

I am not aware of such a feature in Apple Music.

Social

Spotify provides basic but neat options in terms of social media. Every Spotify user gets an URL pointing his/her profile (mine is http://open.spotify.com/user/keremkoseoglu ). This URL contains a profile picture and public playlists of the user. It is a good way to give the world an overall impression of what you are listening to, or a cover band could make their setlist public via this feature.

It is also possible to follow Facebook friends over Spotify to see what they are listening to.

As far as I know, Apple Music lacks such features completely.

Free Offline Play

If you want to play your favourite streams offline, Spotify gives this opportunity for free. You can download any stream to your computer or smartphone and listen offline anytime.

In theory, Apple provides a similar functionality; but with a catch: Even if you want to create a simple playlist, you must subscribe to iCloud music library, which forcefully uploads your local MP3 files to the cloud and costs ~1$ per month if you exceed 5GB (that includes your contacts, other files, calendars, backups, etc as well). So in practice, Apple makes you lean towards the direction where you pay 1$ per month to create any stream playlist.

Although Apple theoretically provides this functionality for free, Spotify provides it free for real. Therefore, Spotify has the upper hand here.

Superior Interface

This is a highly subjective matter. However; in my opinion, the user interface of Spotify is very good. The fade in / out effect and the dark background gives a smooth feeling.

Apple, on the other hand, has the usual bright white iTunes interface with Apple TV-like shelves of albums and presents tons of ugly scrollbars. It isn’t really pretty.

I wouldn’t pick an application over others just because it has a pretty UI; but it certainly contributes to the overall user experience. This is one of the winning points of Spotify.

Cons

Vendor Lock In

Spotify doesn’t give you an opportunity to download MP3 files. If I decide that I don’t want to pay Spotify any further, I’m left alone without any music file on my computer.

I can keep offline copies of music files on my computer or phone; but those are encrypted and can only be played using the Spotify app.

If you consider Apple Music as a streaming platform, the same applies to Apple as well. However; iTunes platform lets you purchase digital music files as well – which literally are your property and can be downloaded in MP3 format any time you want.

If you would like to purchase legal digital music files for any purpose (like changing the pitch for practicing or syncing into an offline MP3 player), Apple has an edge here because it gives you an option for that. It is not part of the streaming business, but at the end of the day, Spotify feels more like a vendor lock in.

Apple Music

Pros

Single App

Apple has merged various features on one single platform called iTunes. Using only one application, you can stream music, purchase MP3’s, add MP3’s from other sources, rent / purchase movies, stream free Internet radio, etc. iTunes can organise your local file system as well – it breaks music files under folders categorised by artist and album.

Spotify’s application lets you stream music and include local MP3’s and that’s it.

If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, Apple has the distinct advantage here. If you are a best-of-breed picker, you’ll have to compare Spotify and Apple Music alone and ignore other features of iTunes.

Smart Playlist

Smart playlist is an area where Apple has a distinct advantage.

We all can define manual playlists by adding songs one by one. However, Apple gives us the opportunity to write formulas to dynamically create playlists which update themselves automatically as we add new songs to our library.

For instance; I can create a playlist which includes all of my rock songs but excludes songs from the band Beautiful Disaster. This playlist will automatically update itself as I add more rock songs over time.

Another example: I can merge songs of 5 artists + a manually managed playlist under a smart playlist. Whenever I add a new song of those artists or update the manual playlist, the smart playlist is updated automatically.

Spotify doesn’t have such a functionality. The closest you can get is to put your playlist under a folder. By playing the entire folder, you can include songs from all the playlists.

For simple requirements, Apple’s smart playlist feature may look like overkill. However; more advanced users will appreciate this feature.

Sorting Playlists

Apple music playlists can be displayed in a file browser fashion and songs can be sorted by various criteria; such as the last time they were played. This is a very good feature for musicians (like me) who would like to practice their playlists daily – it is a good way to ensure that each song gets practiced. Dozens of other columns can also be added for sorting.

Spotify lets us sort by song name, artist name or date added, and that’s it. I saw users requesting additional columns on forums, but Spotify didn’t do anything about it yet.
In case you need to sort your playlist by peculiar columns or display select columns for a specific playlist, Apple has a distinct advantage at this time.

Cons

Public Playlists

Apple loves controlling things. They are totally in control of their hardware & software, which enables them to create arguably more stable products. They also control the apps on their App Store in order to improve the user experience and prevent malicious bugs / viruses.

It seems like Apple has projected their control tendency towards Apple Music as well. The playlists I have found on Apple Music were created by curators or artists that Apple has picked. As far as I know, rest of the community can’t create publicly searchable playlists.

Result? I feel like I’m limited to the taste of a few people to discover new music; not the entire music community. And the playlists I have inspected felt “sterile”; which means they mostly contain main stream pieces of their respective genre. I was never surprised to discover a peculiarly beautiful song or artist.

Spotify enables it’s community to publicly create playlists and has the edge here.

I generally favour Apple’s control over their hardware & software to provide a stable user experience; but limiting the playlists might have gimped the community contribution.

Artist Overview

When I discover a new artist or simply want to listen to an artist I love, I tend to listen to all of his/her songs; including all the available albums.

In my experience; Apple doesn’t enable such a feature easily. One could do a workaround by creating a playlist including all the albums of the desired artist; but this is simply an extra workload.

Considering that I can listen to the entire library of an artist on Spotify with a simple click, this is a disadvantage on behalf of Apple Music.

iCloud Music Library

Basically, Apple forces us to use its iCloud Music Library service in order to create playlists including songs from Apple Music.

At first sight, this seems reasonable. Apple uses iCloud in any scenario where you need to share content between multiple Apple devices. Your contacts, calendars, etc are all shared over iCloud.

The catch is; if you have offline MP3 files on your computer, activating iCloud Music Library will force-upload them to iCloud as well. And, iCloud offers only 5 GB’s of free space. If you want to upgrade it to 50 GB, you have to pay ~1$ per month.

This might look like small amount, but considering that Apple has 13M subscribers, this strategy leans towards the direction where Apple would earn an extra 13M$ per month.
Spotify, on the other hand, makes playlists available to any device without any additional subscription.

Apple could have easily given us the opportunity to create “Apple Music Only” playlists, but they simply didn’t.

If you don’t have a large number of offline MP3 files, this might not disturb you at all. However; Apple has a notorious history of iCloud file system bugs and posting DRM’s over legally owned MP3 files. Therefore, I subjectively don’t trust Apple with storing any file on iCloud.

Because I don’t want my offline MP3 files anywhere on iCloud, this point is a clear disadvantage for me.

Play Experience

This might be a personal issue due to my location or Internet connection, but I’m not completely satisfied with the listening experience of Apple Music. When I start playing a song, I have to wait a few seconds before it actually starts playing. I have also experienced pauses while listening.

Spotify has provided a seamless listening experience so far.

Although I can’t empirically blame Apple for this issue, I evaluate this as a negative personal user experience.

Verdict

Let’s do a summary of my evaluation.

Spotify offers a great community and a good opportunity to discover new songs & artists; as well as a nice user interface. However, it does nothing but streaming music, and internal playlist options are limited. As of today, it has around 40M paid users.

Apple Music is part of an all-in-one solution; covering streaming, purchasing music, free Internet radio, renting movies, etc. Internal playlist options are very strong. However; its playlists are too sterile – opportunities of discovery are relatively slim. It also lacks community interaction and nudges subscribers towards a paid iCloud account. As of today, it has around 13M paid users.

All in all, I picked Spotify over Apple Music for streaming purposes. Spotify happily accepted my rare local MP3 files as well, and there was no reason to keep the rest of my library (30 GB).

However, I’m still using iTunes to rent movies. That’s another business.