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LittleBITS: Apple Pay Date Quirk, Apple Music Sing

This week, I have two quick things to share that don’t warrant an article: an explanation of why TidBITS members using Apple Pay may see incorrect credit card expiration dates and the news of Apple Music Sing, which fills me with dread.

Apple Pay Transactions Get Weird Expiration Dates

Our support wizard, Lauri Reinhardt, recently solved a minor mystery that had confused a few TidBITS members. When people who had used Apple Pay for their TidBITS memberships received email from our system about a failed renewal payment, the credit card expiration date listed was incorrect. Since one of the most likely reasons for a failed payment is an expired card, the incorrect date caused some consternation.

Lauri discovered that Apple Pay’s tokenization process prevents Stripe, our payment processor, from knowing the expiration date for the actual card. Instead, Stripe—and the Paid Memberships Pro plug-in that we use to manage TidBITS accounts—displays a seemingly random expiration date from the tokenized card. The problem is purely cosmetic and doesn’t block transactions in any way.

The practical upshot is that if you used Apple Pay to pay for your TidBITS membership and you see an incorrect expiration date associated with your card data in your account information, don’t worry about it unless you also get a notification that a transaction failed. In that case, try a different card or contact Lauri at [email protected] so she can help you figure out what to do. My apologies for any confusion, and thanks for supporting TidBITS!

This date quirk is the first downside of using Apple Pay instead of a straight credit card transaction that I’ve seen. In all other ways, Apple Pay’s tokenization of credit card data is a good thing because it significantly increases security.

Apple Music Adds Karaoke

As an entirely non-musical person, little fills me with more dread than karaoke. The occasional group rendition of “Happy Birthday” is as close as I get to singing. Happily, I’ve never found myself in a situation where karaoke was happening, much less where I would be expected to perform. I hope to keep it that way.

You can thus imagine my enthusiasm level for Apple Music Sing, a forthcoming feature that enables Apple Music subscribers to sing along with “tens of millions of the world’s most singable songs.” I’m sure lots of people will like Apple Music Sing when it becomes available later this month, and if you’re among them, I hope you have fun. I’ll continue to leave the singing to the professionals.

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Comments About LittleBITS: Apple Pay Date Quirk, Apple Music Sing

Notable Replies

  1. “Feed the world, let them know it’s Christmas time again…”

    “Last Christmas I gave you my heart, and the very next day, you gave it away…”

    “So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun, look to the future now, it’s only just begun…”

    That’s enough karaoke texting from me!

    …but if bored, don’t forget to listen to one of several whole Christmas albums James Brown managed to put out during his career; perhaps sing along to Christmas Songs or A Soulful Christmas:laughing:

  2. In reply to your article, I too don’t do good with Karaoke. At the church we use to attend was a very musical family. Mom played the organ during hymns, daughter the piano to accompany the choir (mom sang in Choir), son did some professional singing I believe, he didn’t attend often but sand in church occasionally. But dad and I would sit near the back of the church and just mouth the hymns.

    I did try singing once. I, long time before 2nd son was in serious relationship, thought I’d sing to him “Only Child” by Jackson Browne when he got married. Even before he got engaged, I bought a guitar off Craig’s list, and start to take some guitar lessons through the adult education offerings at UNM; I missed a few classes due to travel and fell drastically behind. Months before his wedding I got the chords off the internet. Well first chord (Browne is known for having difficult to play songs) took like 7 fingers, and I thought ‘this just might not work’ (Todd Snider, sorry can’t quickly find the song). I talked to the band that was to play at the reception and the leader said he could accompany me. He rescored the music and sent me a demo and I was completely lost, so was my eldest that sang in the Singing Cadets at Texas A&M. Ended up just speaking, not singing the lyrics.

    My two oldest sons were in a show choir in HS, they danced and sang during concerts, it was kind of a ‘senior or advanced choir’. When the youngest graduated from HS, we took all three boys on a Mediterranean cruise, figured last time we’d have all three together (WRONG!). Near the end there was a Karaoke contest, and the middle son sang a Frank Sinatra song, cooing the one woman judge (all Judges were crew entertainment members) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GjAb-qQco8o48SL5pGQ1iTk2ZlzHVB12/view?usp=sharing I did miss a later Kodak moment when the guy on the left later took a stiff cloth napkin and waved it to cool off the woman.

  3. Further talking about the Music app on Macs and iPhones. I just thought I’d give a shout out about an old feature/mode that Apple has finally brought back. In Music (since there was recently an article about karaoke here), It seems you can now play Albums in their entirety, tracks in correct order, then have it randomly pick (shuffle) a new album. This ‘feature’ or mode was in the original iPod, but dropped, and ‘I still don’t know why’ (Todd Snider, ‘Alright Guy’). It was not in the iTunes app in early iPhones. (I know quite well as my 2015 Honda CR-V interfaced with the iPod fairly well, and had a place to choose this mode but my iPhone 6 couldn’t understand the command and wouldn’t do it.) I actually bought a used old iPod just for this feature (my original 160MB iPod, got for buying my son a new Al MB as he left for college, he already had one, was stolen down in Costa Rica. I looked at the theft as I introduced Costa Rica to Todd Snider). Loved this mode while on long road trips! It’s also available in Music on the iPhone, iOS 16. Not sure exactly when Apple put this back in, but THANK-YOU APPLE! Someone, while reviewing the Music app, I think here on TidBits, complained that the Music App had no idea about albums or its concept, this proves this accusation completely false, in-fact I see NO evidence for this accusation.

  4. How do you do this? And what version of iOS is required? On my iPod Shuffle (iOS 15.7.2 - the latest version it can run), I haven’t been able to figure out how.

    I can pull up the list of albums and then tap “Shuffle”, but that shuffles songs. If I then turn off shuffle-play mode, it will play albums in sequence, but sorted by album title, not randomly the way the click-wheel iPods’ “shuffle by album” mode does.

    I’ve been complaining about this in Feedback to Apple for quite some time, so I’m glad they finally added it. But if it requires iOS 16, then I won’t be able to use it without copying my music collection to my phone, which I don’t plan on doing until my iPod dies.

    Are you sure this is in iOS and not just in your car? I can shuffle-by-album when my iPod is connected to my Honda Civic. I assume the Honda downloads the entire track list and plays the tracks using its own internal shuffle algorithm.

  5. David,
    I graduated from an iPhone 6 (iOS 12 max) to an iPhone 14 pro max (wanted the 2x brighter screen for flying my drone outside in the Albuquerque sun). So I do not know when it was finally re-incorporated. But on Music, go to albums, there is a shuffle button there (iOS and Mac Monterey (I jumped from Mojave to Monterey, so same problem)). I am assuming it will shuffle albums, I have not actually tried it, will on Dec 27th as I have a road trip planned.

    I had a Honda CR-V, 2015, that had shuffle albums in its iPod control screen. Playing with that for hours with the iPhone 6 is how I found out iPhone did not have that mode. So I got an older iPod off eBay just for that mode on road trips. Problem, those iPods do not charge the iPod while playing (or even just stop using battery power), which was a really bad design flaw by Apple, I’d get ~6 hr playing time which does NOT work for a drive from Albuquerque to Houston! And it was hard to activate, i.e. rarely turned on.

    I sold the CR-V for a Ford Edge in 2019. I got the CR-V touring to get the Navigation, lane keep assist, and smart cruise control (keep the wife unit off my ass on road trips). Neither worked well at all, or had serious flaws. I checked these thoroughly on the Edge on test drives before buying. Though I have to admit the physical strength and beep warning of lane keep assist on the CR-V were a little better.

    better than 3/4 of my iPhone storage is music, and I am a photographer!

    I too had been pestering Apple to bring back that album shuffle mode since 2015! Why, if they had the software written, did they remove it? Were they that crammed for memory? I don’t think so. I don’t think the Honda, either one, download tracks ahead of time, the mode is built into the early iPods.

  6. Nope. On my iPod (iOS 15.7.2), it shuffles by song. Not intuitive, but that’s what it does.

    They didn’t already have it written. The wheel-based iPods run a completely different operating system from iOS. I doubt any code was ported between those two platforms.

    But it is still funny, since this shouldn’t be a difficult feature to implement.

  7. And they had some experience with the wheelbase iPod implementation.

    I still remember Job’s introduction to the iPhone. He said it was a phone, music player, and something else I don’t remember (internet device?, application runner). He repeated that phrase several times, then showed an iPod with a rotory phone dial instead of the iPod wheel. I was on the floor laughing.

  8. iOS 16 has a “shuffle” button (and a “play” button) at the top of the Albums section of your library in the Music app.

  9. Have you used it? That button has been in iOS for a very long time. It shuffles the music by songs not by albums, despite its presence on the “Albums” screen.

    I just tested this on my phone running 16.2 (via Home Sharing and by streaming my iTunes purchases, since I don’t have music actually loaded onto this phone), and it is absolutely not doing a shuffle-by-album.

  10. Nope, and just did - you’re right, it just song shuffles. I can’t remember the last time I listened to an album, much less more than one at once. My use is all playlists randomly shuffled, almost always, unless I want to hear a particular song. I just saw the shuffle there and was responding to your post where you said you didn’t see it on iOS 15.

    My apologies.

  11. YEP, I tested last night before the road trip, NOPE, it just shuffles songs. Seems to be the ideal place to put it, (Music/Library/albums). I am snail mail writing Tim to Please bring ‘shuffle albums’ back (can others do that too?), people don’t have to use it if they don’t want to**, nice to have for those who want it! Probably give link to this discussion. I grew up with LPs, you almost always listened to a whole side at a time. Some songs on an LP or CD lead to the next (Todd Snider’s “The Story Of The Ballad Of The Devil’s Backbone Tavern” before “The Ballad Of The Devil’s Backbone Tavern”), and random songs/tracks miss that connection*. I will also bring up the black type on a black case on the bottom of an Apple TV, who in the H E double toothpick chose that text color? Who has time to make playlists*? NOT ME (Chuck Wagon and the Wheels, ‘Disco Sucks’). The album shuffle mode will get me to listen to some albums I don’t seem to pick out right away on road trips.

    SORRY folks for getting too exuberant when I thought this mode was back and reporting (misinformation) without testing.

    *then, then of course, you have to listen to Neil Young’s ‘Alabama’ before Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, where a playlist makes sense.

    **At church I got roped into being on the Diaconate board for suggesting to include the bible passages in the bulletin. One lady voted it down, saying she liked to sit back and just listen to the reading(s). I had to explain to her that she could still do that if she wanted. This ended up for me to OCR the passages and give them to the secretary to include. I soon found that correcting the OCR’d text took more time than just typing the whole passage. I broke down and bought the complete bible on a couple floppies, for her.

  12. Ray

    The other feature I would like is the option to show complete albums only. When you look under albums now, you can’t tell which are only one song from an album and which are full albums.

  13. This only works if your albums all have tracks numbered sequentially from 1 up to the second term in the “x of y” track number. This is the case for most albums, but not always, depending on how you rip albums.

    For example, Styx’s Paradise Theatre album is 11 tracks. But the first track (A.D. 1928) is an intro to track 2 (Rockin’ The Paradise). And the last three tracks (Half-Penny, Two-Penny, A.D. 1958 and State Street Sadie) all run into each other (with the last two forming an outro for the album). When I ripped this CD, I joined tracks 1-2 and tracks 9-11. So in my library, it shows tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 out of 11. But nothing was omitted.

    I don’t think any algorithm would be able to do the right thing here. I could, of course, renumber the tracks but then they wouldn’t match the numbers on the CD.

  14. I like that.

    I listen to lots of classical music where I perhaps want to shuffle by “album”, but never by “song”. The fix seems easy to me. When listing by song, shuffle by song. When listing by album, shuffle by album. Simple and logical, right?

    By the same token, I’d like to be able to use the Music app like I used to use my CD shelves. Sort by period (fine, despite all the AI/ML hoopla, I’ll do it myself), not CD release date or musician. See all “albums” as such, not as “songs” or “compilation”. Show only complete albums, not an album holding an individual track. Listen through a selected album from the start to finish, or shuffle by album. But never shuffle by individual movements “songs”.

    To me this focus on individual songs is perhaps suitable to a pop world or the late 90s where people compiled their own pop mixes, but it is of complete disservice to classical music. I realize the current focus is very driven by this urge to sell or stream songs, but if the actual focus is to be the music loving listening user (who already paid Apple thousands of $$$ for hardware) rather than marketers or classical-illiterate suits at Apple, the priorities should be clear.

    I know there have for years been rumors about Apple’s iTunes for classical music. For now, it’s vaporwear at best. And while I look forward to improvement if it ever materializes, TBH I’m not expecting a miracle. Apple has been incessantly tinkering with iTunes for years and look where it got us. But perhaps, truthfully, that’s why I should be looking forward to this iTunes for classical. :wink:

  15. Unfortunately, what you ask for is going to require a third-party music player app.

    Fortunately, there are many. Here’s one article reviewing 15 of them.

  16. Apple bought the popular classical music app Primephonic about a year and a half ago, and almost immediately shut it down. Rumors have been running rampant since then that Apple was regigering it to be an either a stand alone app to Music or a paid Music add on:

    Personally speaking, I’m not sure why there should be such a slowdown in releasing either one of the two. Maybe it’s a rights issue, though I haven’t seen anything about this in the press. And there has not even been a mention of a Beta. And I think that a stand alone Apple Classical Music subscription app would be quite profitable for them.

    Maybe Apple is holding out for a big release in the annual big product reveal in the fall? It’s not like Apple is a newbie in the digital music world. And it would be a really smart and profitable content branding shebang for them…as well as a nice kick in the derrière for Spotify, etc.

  17. For a number of years, iTunes/Music has had an alternative method of arranging classical music instead of by “Song”. You can label tracks by “Work” and “Movement”.

    If a piece is tagged this way, it appears that Music does the right thing: Works are shuffled with respect to each other, but the Movements within each work remain in order.

    To classify a piece by work/movement, in the Info>Details tab, change “Title” to “Work Name”. When you do so, new fields are added for Movement number and name. Unfortunately, it is a lot of work to go back and retag existing tracks. But new imports can be tagged this way from the start. At least some classical selections from the iTunes Music Store are already arranged this way.

  18. The music service with the most hype at the moment is likely Roon. It’s been around since 2015, but it’s a premium paid-for service, aimed at a music audience who want a very serious backend focused on music.

    Essentially it runs on a server backend to simple clients model, so means you don’t necessarily need heavy playback devices to play/transcode hi-res audio. It has very strong classical music metadata tag functionality too, should you also need that.

    It seems to be the best in the marketplace at both handling metadata tags absolutely correctly and in full, offers an override to optionally choose metadata derived from their database of online sources, while also linking to other connected artists stuff (i.e. a discovery service) with bio’s, reviews, and suchlike, and has in-service API’s to Tidal &/or Qobuz streaming services, should you subscribe to them. Amongst a load of other audio control functions.

    The ‘problem’ for many will be the price: it costs $15/mth, or $12.50/mth if paid yearly (or a whopping $830 for lifetime) – and that’s with no streaming service. At that price the user has to be seriously invested in wanting the best backend.

    While this is a cost, surprisingly you can set it all up on affordable desktops/NUC’s/NAS’s, much like something like Plex – Plex unfortunately doesn’t do anywhere near the same job for music, but is obviously significantly cheaper.

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