I don’t ‘get’ iTunes match

What I don’t get is the price. First I had to have bought the music (from Apple or someone else) and now I have to pay again ($24.95 per year) in order to make it all available over iCloud.  I think I will stick with my new favorite, Spotify.

I am sure I don’t fully understand the details, but it seems to me that the essential benefit that the new iTunes provide is that I can access my whole music collection (as far as it is ‘legal’) from any device attached to iCloud. Anything else?

Well, I think the very idea of ‘owning’ a music collection is antiquated. I mean it’s evidently inefficient that millions of people have a copy of the same bits that form “Let It Be” on each of their computers.

iCloud solves this, in one way. I have to buy the ‘Let it Be’ bits, persuade iCloud of that fact, and iCloud will let me access their copy of the same bits, from any device that I connect to iCloud. Ok.

Spotify (and other services like Rhapsody) solve this differently. They buy the bits and let me rent them for a tiny amount of money, $9.95 per month. Depending on how much new music I listen to this is more or less expensive than the combination of buying the song and paying iCloud to host it.

But the advantage is that the music I don’t listen to anymore doesn’t keep taking up room on my computer. And new music that becomes available is immediately available to be under the same subscription fee.

Here’s an article on ZDNet Asia, “iTunes Match: A solution for a problem that Apple helped create” , that is I agree with.

Update about Spotify

So I have now been using Spotify for about a week after sumarily deserting Rhapsody (no stickyness at all!) Here’s my summary:

Pro Spotify

  • Has a nice downloadable client on Mac which I can launch from the Dock
  • I seem to be discovering some new music from non-American Jazz artists. Not sure this is a credit to Spotify or just luck

Neutral

  • Exactly the same price
  • Apparently equally large catalogs

Against Spotify

  • Relies purely on an obscure search syntax (e.g. “genre:”Piano Jazz”) to search genres
  • Does not have ratings based on genres – i.e. top downloads or new this week in Classical.
  • Has a confusing relationship with iTunes. Why does it offer me to ‘download’ my iTunes and make it available ‘offline’? iTunes already does this on iPhone
  • No way to know what ‘genres’ it actually knows about beyond the obvious: “Classical” and so on. Is there “Singer Songwriter”? Is there “New Orleans Jazz”? No idea.

Jury is still out for me…


Cancelled Rhapsody, Trying Spotify

As I said in the previous post, I am a bit of a promiscuous signer upper. From a cursory look, Rhapsody and Spotify are fairly similar. They both charge $10 per month for unlimited listening to all kinds of music. I saw a few blog posts that took one side or the other.

With all the geek news about spotify, one would like to know more. So, I capriciously cancelled my Rhapsody and am now trying the new thing.

That’s a problem they both have. No stickiness whatsoever. I know that for example the Sonos product supports Rhapsody. If I had spent $1000’s of dollars on a Sonos set up (like friends of mine have) AND Sonos didn’t support Spotify, then I might think twice. But here, it’s just another bit of software to set up and play with.

I will report back!

Rhapsody vs. iTunes

I think I might be entering a new phase in my music listening. I listen to a ton of music, on my iPhone, on my computer, in my car, all the time. And up to now it’s always been downloaded (purchased) music that I organize manually within iTunes.  From time to time I’ve had subscriptions to eMusic and similar services.

As a result I have a huge number of tracks on my computer and on my iPhone. And as my music taste develops, and I discover new artists and composers, lots of those tracks are listened to rarely.

The alternative services like Rhapsody, which has been around for a while. But I didn’t like the idea of paying $10 per month to ‘rent’ music to listen to. Without owning it I would ‘lose’ the music if I ever cancelled the subscription. I would be tied to this $10 subscription forever.

Lately I’ve been trying the various streaming products like Rhapsody, Rdio, Mog, and various others. From those that I’ve tried I still like Rhapsody the best. Rhapsody is the only one that organizes music into genres so that I can browse through for example, 20th Century Classical. The other ones seem to be focused more on current popular music, which I don’t really listen to.

And I feel a sea-change coming in my own listening. I am really liking Rhapsody. I am playing more variety. Yes, even among my 10,000 or so tracks on my disk I was finding myself repeating the stuff I liked best. With Rhapsody I can go spelunking through a category I don’t know that well (e.g. Jazz Blues) and discover new music. I can have a playlist playing all afternoon of music that I like that I never heard before.

And who cares about ‘owning’ a track anyway?