Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Playlist is Wrong, and its Apple’s Fault.

Apple Music playlists are an awesome feature. The ability to create a playlist that you can then share with other users is pretty cool. Gone are the days of me telling someone to check out a song; now I can create a playlist for them, curating songs that I know they’ll like.

Of course, in order to get the masses listening to your playlist, it helps if your name is Disney, and your playlist is the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix playlist.

I have loved this playlist. Not only does it include Awesome Mix Vol. 1 from my favorite Marvel movie, as well as selected tracks from the movie’s score, Disney has been regularly updating it to include songs from Awesome Mix Vol. 2, songs that were featured in the trailers for the much anticipated sequel. Disney has done such a good job of this, in fact, that I didn’t even bother to buy a copy of Awesome Mix Vol. 2 when it finally released, as I already had the songs in my playlist, courtesy of Disney. They even updated the playlist to include the complete score from the sequel, and added David Hasselhoff’s “Guardians Inferno.”

But I’ve noticed a kink, and I think it is a kink that stems from Apple Music itself. In the playlist, we have “Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie. For those who don’t remember, this song was used in the first Guardians when the heroes arrived at the spaceport/vacated Celestial head Knowhere. Except, except, this version included in Disney’s playlist is not the version used in the film. It is the same song, sung by the same David Bowie, but it is a different version. The timing is different. In fact, this sounds like a live performance, because there’s cheering at the end. And I know for a fact that this isn’t the one used in the movie, because I own a disc of Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and it isn’t the same song.

I know, nitpicking, right? Well, for a movie that is centered around the music, this seems like an odd mistake for Disney to make, especially since they did include the correct song on the album (and I’ve checked, the correct version is available in Apple Music, as well).

So why didn’t Disney just include the album version? In fact, why not drop the already made Awesome Mix albums directly into the playlist, as they did for the scores of the two films? That way, the album artwork would say Guardians of the Galaxy rather than show artwork for a dozen different albums, and we’d be ensured the correct versions of each song.

The answer is because Apple doesn’t offer these albums through the streaming service. Odd, I’ll grant you, since all of the songs are available separately, on their respective albums, in Apple Music (clearly, because Disney added them to the aforementioned playlist). Odder still, I’ll permit, since competitors like Google Play Music and Amazon Music Unlimited (and probably others) do have both Awesome Mixes available to stream as albums in their services. But for some reason, Apple has elected to make these albums only available for purchase through iTunes, even though you can stream the songs on their service from their respective albums.

This problem isn’t exclusive to Star-Lord’s Awesome Mixes. If you pull up Deadpool, the songs like “Angel of the Morning” and “Shoop” are also unavailable in the album, despite also being available elsewhere on Apple Music (in a Juice Newton album and a Salt-N-Pepa album, respectively). Same deal, too: if you want to hear the album complete, you either have to purchase it from iTunes, or bother to create a playlist that brings them all together. At least Apple lets you share that playlist afterwards (though, if you are anal retentive like me, it will bug the shit out of you that the songs aren’t united under the same album title and artwork, which also means in your “Recently Played” section, you have half a dozen albums you don’t recognize, rather than one album you do).

That’s clearly what Disney has done. Thankfully, so that we aren’t forced to pay for music we already have the rights to stream with our subscription, or have to hunt them down ourselves (like I did for my Legion playlist for the FX show). Disney just goofed when it came to “Moonage Daydream” and picked the concert version, rather than the album version James Gunn used in the film.

But this goof opens up a bigger issue. Frankly, many movie soundtracks that I’ve seen recently which include music previously released by other artists omit those songs in the Apple Music streaming service, and more often than not, those songs are available to stream on another album. Soundtracks for O, Brother, Where Art Thou, Sense8, Luke Cage, Suicide Squad, and many others are all missing songs that are included in the soundtrack.

Of course, it could be a licensing issue. But Apple Music, in most cases, has the license to stream those same songs on different albums. So what is going on? Do they need to readjust their licensing contracts, or are they just trying to get us to pay for music we technically already have the rights to with our monthly subscription?

The problem becomes even more murky when we start to look closer at those competitors, though. On Google’s service, where the Awesome Mixes are complete (and correct), other albums like Suicide Squad and O, Brother, Where Art Thou are simply missing those grayed out songs altogether (but the songs are still available to stream on other albums, and as for O, Brother, there is a deluxe version with the missing songs restored). On Amazon, all the songs that Apple is “missing” seem to be labelled as “Album Only,” meaning they cannot be purchased as a single (and are also omitted from streaming in the compilation album, but again, are available elsewhere in their streaming catalog).

But even if everyone is mysteriously missing songs from soundtrack compilation albums, songs that are available to stream from their respective catalogs, the point still stands: Apple, for some reason, is the only streaming service that is completely missing the Awesome Mix albums, and because of it, Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy playlist has at least one incorrect song on it.

What are your thoughts? Which (if any) music streaming service do you subscribe to? Would you prefer to have the Awesome Mix albums as albums, or are you content with a playlist compiling them all together? Would you rather see the missing music as you do in Apple Music, or live in ignorant bliss that there are even songs missing (as you do with Google Play Music)? Or do you have a better understanding than I do as to why streaming services omit songs on compilation albums even if the same songs are available in their streaming catalogs? Strike a conversation. Comment below.

I am just clever enough to get into trouble…