Music Streaming changes

In the wayback, about 2015, I did a pretty thorough personal review of the music streaming services. Apple had just launched their “Music” offering, I spent time with the then-new Google Play subscription service, and Amazon’s subscription service, as well as Spotify.

The result was that Apple’s Music had better curated playlists, and their “Radio” function was head and shoulders above. I ended up canceling my Spotify and Google Play all-access account before the trial was up.

Later, I discovered that Amazon’s subscription service was quite good, and added that to my listening options (paying for both Apple Music and Amazon.) I find myself listening more and more to Amazon, over the Apple service, mainly because, there are native apps for windows that ahem doesn’t suck.

Now, I am looking hard at just terminating my Apple Music account, and firing up Spotify again. Why?

iTunes just sucks

I have been an Apple junky for a long time, and in those many many years, I have watched as iTunes has evolved. It started life as a pretty simple, solid tool, that made it trivial to, as Steve Jobs put it: “Rip, mix, burn”. Add in the 2002 launch of the iPod, and it was magic.

A couple years later, Apple released the Windows version of iTunes (until then, the iPod was a “Mac” only phenomenon) and then a lot of incremental additions, including the iTMS, the iphone and the apps, the iPad and video iPods, turned the iTunes application into a bloated pile of feces.

While the Windows version has pretty much always sucked, the Mac version was just annoying. It felt like that overkill Swiss Army Knife. But, since all of my music was in there, some 20,000 tracks, I just lived with it.

Apple Music breathed some life, with access to the monstrous Apple library, competitive price, and really solid curated playlists, coupled with some machine learning that repeatedly offered up great suggestions.

Then I started commuting by train, and listening to streaming music on my headphones. Apple’s streaming to my iPhone was awful. Lots of drops, hiccups, and glitches. The signal is a bit squiffy at times on the 1st Street corridor in downtown San José. It is super annoying.

Yes, I could download the files to my iPhone, but that defeats the purpose of streaming.

Now, the last couple of major iTunes updates have really made an attempt to reduce the bloat, but they have fucked up a few other things.

Add to this the fact that on my work laptop, a Windows 10 box, to listen to my music, I had to install the Windows version of iTunes. It was a painful exercise. It takes a shit-ton of disk space, and seems to require upgrades about weekly, and the inevitable reboot. Plus, on Windows, iTunes is about as pleasant as the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.

So, while my music is there (and in the Apple cloud), and the recommendations and curated playlists are solid, the fact is that I listen to Amazon’s music subscription more and more.

So, I will be canceling my Apple Music subscription. I will consider firing up my Spotify premium account again.

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