March 29, 2016

On music and playlists (Part 3)

Last year I went overboard with excitement when I tried Apple Music. The music high lasted a month before the technical limitations of the service just became too much.

I experimented for the rest of the year if a subscription service was really needed — and if so, which one:

  • Soundcloud: today they are announcing a subscription plan, but even last year if you wanted EDM all the time, this was the best option. The mobile app is good, but too gesture heavy. Among the ad-supported options, it was the least intrusive one. In the end, the lack of a native desktop client and a limited library of normal music didn’t convince me.

  • Youtube Red: like almost every Google app on iOS, it’s a great service delivered in a quite-not-native mobile app. If the app was better it would be a serious contender, since the monthly subscription also removes ads in all of Youtube. But again, the lack of a native Mac app turns me off… maybe I’m not millennial enough.

  • Vox: a great mobile and desktop app that can access Youtube and your own library. During this experiment I went back to the dark days of side-loading music from the web. Here’s where subscription services semi-infinite libraries and my inability to just enjoy music I already have reappeared. However, if you are already happy with your library, this is a great software alternative.

  • Rdio: for a few days, I had a winner. The $3.99 streaming plan with 25 offline songs was a perfect fit. The Mac was great. Recommendations were a little weak, but overall it was a very good package. Sadly, not everyone agreed and the service was bought by Pandora and shutdown.

  • Apple Music: out of scientific curiosity I subscribed again at the start of the year. Enough months had passed for the connections spasms and app quirks to be fixed. No dice. While again surprised by the great playlists, the overall service experience still left me unsatisfied.

  • Spotify: last and not least for a reason. Spotify is still the clear winner. The Discover Weekly playlist is basically the only thing I’ve listened for the last two months1. I can switch between iOS and the Mac app with ease, and the backend must use some voodoo magic become it streams even in Venezuela 3G speeds.

So I’m back as a Spotify premium subscriber and will add Ana again to the family plan2.

  1. Not totally true. If you follow me on Spotify you’ll Cri-Cri and the Robie Chill playlist on a pretty good rotation. Sadly the go to sleep song of my mini-person is not on Spotify: Rainbow Connection (feat. Hayley Williams) - Weezer.↩︎

  2. As soon as I post this :) luckily she doesn’t read the blog.↩︎

Music Setup

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