Apple Music Playlists and iCloud Music Library

I started my 3 month Apple Music trial today and am shocked (shocked!) to find out that I cannot create playlists unless I enable iCloud Music Library. I’ve deliberately kept off from enabling it as I don’t want it to mess up my library, which I spent an unhealthy amount of time many years ago carefully tagging. I can’t believe that there is no way to create online Apple Music only playlists. Howe can this be?! Am I overlooking something?

If I remember correctly, @MacSparky mentioned recently in the Revisiting Music Management episode that he too keeps the iCloud Music Library option disabled and iTunes expert Kirk McElhearn recommends doing so too. How is it possible to use a service though if one can’t create playlists?

You can’t, really. I had that same complaint, because I, too, had years of labor embedded into my existing iTunes music library. So I signed up for Spotify and started trying to use it as a sort of complement to my iTunes library. That didn’t last long. I didn’t like the arbitrary segregation.

I gave in and got the Apple Music subscription and turned on iCloud Music Library. (After a lot of work culling my iTunes library and making sure everything was backed up in case of disaster or in case I changed my mind.)

I’m not recommending that you do this, but I will say that overall I’m happy with my decision.

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I decided to not enable iCloud Music Library on my Mac, which is where all my music is stored, but to do so on the iPhone, where I end up listening to music. This allows me to add songs from Apple Music without worrying about it messing up personally catalogued music and is working well so far!