Writing for Wired, David Pierce argues that most music streaming services aren't optimized for offline listening:
Streaming music has an offline problem. As they’ve fallen all over themselves reminding us how wonderful it is to have 30 million songs only a few taps away, all for the low, low price of $10 a month, these companies have forgotten that the key to a great music experience is pressing play and hearing music. That shouldn’t be as hard as they’re making it.
Sure, offline listening is an option in Rdio, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music, but it always feels like it's hidden just enough to make you forget it exists.
As I noted last week on Connected, I don't usually need to keep music saved offline because I'm either on WiFi or I have plenty of 4G data on my plan for streaming not to be an issue. But I occasionally prefer to save some music offline because of poor cellular coverage (such as at the beach where I go every summer), and browsing offline content feels like a bet against the streaming service.
Even in Apple Music – the successor to the iPod and Music app – browsing offline content in Airplane Mode mostly breaks everything else (static, last-seen previews aren't cached in the For You and New tabs), and playlists saved for offline listening are still displayed alongside those that are not (even after toggling the offline switch).