Subscriptions: Why Do I Have So Many Music Streaming Services?
I initially wanted to do a rant on the epidemic of subscriptions that has infected my life. Being a digital hoarder.. someone who need to actually possess digital documents locally on my laptop or external hard rive, I’ve never really been a fan of paying a monthly fee for access to someone else’s content. If there was a song, movie, tv show I liked, I made sure I had a copy of it available on my laptop.. with a copy on an external hard drive.. and on another hard drive stored away just incase the other two fail. I’ve been doing that for almost 20 years. Hoarding any and all digital files on the off chance that I might want to see them again. When apps like Plex and XBMC came along that allowed you to organize your content and stream it remotely, I was all in. I had a huge collection of content and now I was ready to be able to take it with me where ever I went.
So I don’t know how subscriptions crept into my world. I can’t pinpoint the moment I felt I needed to have temporary access to other people’s content, but I can’t imagine living any other way. I’m still in transition. My Plex set up has a ton of movies, tv shows and music that I can stream on any device, but I still use the favorites like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and Apple Music most of the time. Indeed, my Plex library has become more of an archiving tool than a media streaming tool.
My main streaming usage is with music services. Spotify, Apple Music and Google Music are the three platforms that I subscribe too. Indeed, I’m playing $14,99 for each services (family plans to share with my wife), and for the most part, I get a lot of bang for my buck.
Spotify ($14.99 for Family Plan)
This has become my favorite service. I can’t lie, I was all-in with Apple Music for the simple that that I was already in the Apple ecosystem. And I was already using iTunes to manage my local music collection, so I tried to 3 month trial. That was my gateway. But it really took Spotify to get me going. I tried it a few times with no real success. It just didn’t seem that critical because I already had all the songs I loved in my local collection. But for my month mix shows, it became the primary spot to find new music. Apple Music had the same thing but the UI was a little clunky. Spotify, once you got into it, was a dram to use. And couple that with an INCREDIBLE algorithm to help you discover new music and I was hooked. Every Friday and Monday I can find at least 20 new songs that I LOVE!!! Not just “like”, but LOVE.
Apple Music ($14.99 for Family Plan)
Apple Music was my gateway service. I really wasn’t into streaming music services, but they had a 3 month trial when it started so it wouldn’t hurt to try. Plus they tagged on iCloud Music with allowed you to upload your collection to their cloud, and they would replace any matching songs with high quality versions so you can easily stream from your devices. This meant I would have Apples 35 millions songs AND all of my unique unreleased albums, remixes and personal music also in Apple Music for streaming… all in the same place. Unfortunately the system didn’t perform as easily as it sounded. I’m still recovering from a playlist fiasco with Apple Music. But it I can get it right, it might be very useful.
Plex is a personal streaming software package. I use it primarily to organize my video collection. But after my iCloud music failure I realized I needed a cloud solution for my local music collection. It would act as a streaming service and a back up for my local collection. Plex works great! It organized anything music you put in the designated folder (as long as your ID tags are correct) and the UI it great on desktop and mobile. The only problem with this is the upkeep. I’m constantly adding new music to my collection and I’m pretty lazy when it comes to keeping everything up to date. My current Plex collection is a few months behind so I need to find time updated… time don’t have, so it makes me default back to Spotify most of the time.
Google Play Music (Free with Youtube Premium)
To tell you the truth, I rarely use Google’s service. It’s something that just came with Youtube Premium.. as service I upgraded to get ride of commercials. Much like Amazon Prime did with it’s video streaming service, it’s something there as a backup just in case everything else fails. That’s sad because with all the information that Google has on me, they should be able to make me the most awesome playlists. Maybe it would if I give it a little more attention.