What do you like and dislike about your chosen music service(s)?
(Wasn’t sure how to word the title to fit both those who use streaming services and those who purchase music either digitally or physically.)
What are the upsides and drawbacks you’ve found for what you use for music, whether that’s Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, buying from Bandcamp, etc. What’s so good that it’s keeping you on that service instead of other competitors? Meanwhile, what should they change or fix?
I use Spotify. I have a bunch of issues with it.
As for why I still use it: I have an Android and their automatic playlists are decent. I don't really know anything about Deezer. It's almost entirely inertia.
Honestly, I liked Google Play Music better but I had to switch from them because they had a showstopping bug where a song would not download fully and then there was no way to correct that, causing some longer-term problems with music playback.
I've had a similar experience to some of these bullet points, both for Spotify as well as GPM.
I've found preventing android from "Hibernating" background apps has mostly made this disappear. There were surprisingly several levels of settings I had to turn off. Under battery settings my phone had both 'Adaptive Battery' turned on which I turned off, a 'Battery Mode' which I set to Balanced, and under the 'Power Optimization' grouping I had Hibernate Apps, Detect Battery Draining Apps, and Auto Start Manager all of which I turned off. Apart from that there might also be some OEM battery settings to find, on my Asus Zenphone there was also something called 'OptiFlex' that keeps apps in memory to launch faster so I have that enabled for a couple apps I use frequently. And if all else fails, Spotify also has an option in its settings called 'Spotify Connect in Background' which seems to imply that it keeps the app in memory even when it's been background-ed. As you can see, I was also very annoyed by the same problem 🙃
Are you on a family plan for your Spotify? Might be someone specified non-explicit versions of songs. Or there is also a checkbox for allowing explicit content in the settings, but I'm sure you've seen that already.
I've always wished they added the feature that GPM had that let you specify how 'wide|experimental' or 'narrow|similar' you wanted your recommendations to be. I found a lot of good music by turning that setting all the way wide.
Bane of my existence. I found the bug happened because of a switch from Wifi to Cell service and the background loading/caching that happened would simply stop for the current song and start caching the next one. It was always so annoying to be listening to a song and simply have it cut out mid-solo and start a new one on the playlist. Only fix I found for it was to clear the cache and rebuild from scratch.
Ahh thanks for the tips on the Android battery settings. I'm using a Pixel so nothing too crazy from OEM stuff but I'll see if I can whitelist Spotify from the default Android battery optimizations.
I am on a family plan, but only with my SO. We're both big RTJ fans, so definitely no non-explicit choices made. I really wish Spotify added an option to let you choose "explicit only" like they have "non-explicit only".
GPM's algorithms and automated radio really were a cut above. I rarely discover anything new on Spotify in comparison. I think I've found... one new artist I like? In about three years.
I think Spotify only cut a song like that for me once but that I was able to clear and refresh made it fine. With GPM, it was completely unsolvable unless I wiped my entire locally synced files too.
I found Apple Music's Android app to be pretty good. I switched when Google Music shut down because Apple Music was the only other service that would let you upload your own songs and put them in the same playlist with other streamed songs. The biggest complaint is that to actually upload those songs from Windows you have to use iTunes, which is still a horrible piece of garbage. Oh well, at least I don't have to do it very often.
Same complaint about the UI. I actually use an app, Marvis Pro, as an alternate frontend for Apple Music. I don’t think it solves your “full page reload” issue but I like that I can customize and declutter the UI.
The app’s killer feature is being able to filter your library using rules. I have one set up that just shows me random albums from my entire library so I can pick what to listen to from that. Another shows me just random 2021 releases in my library.
It is a little clunky, in that the app plays the music through Apple Music, not itself, and it doesn’t have certain rights (like removing stuff from your library or rearranging the play queue), but overall it’s made Apple Music a lot more comfortable for me.
I had subscribed to Apple Music because the iTunes Store tends to have some of the more obscure songs and artists I tend to listen to. But I just ended my subscription because it still tends to recommend me some very mundane songs.
It really hasn’t been all bad, because I found that there are some more mass market songs that I didn’t give a good chance to before that turns out that I don’t hate. I found myself enjoying Demi Lovato’s last album way more than I thought I would. The most surprising thing is that it got me into some Kpop too. I really like Kim Se Jung now.
But more than anything I just don’t think that the subscription was worth it for me. $10 a month feels like too much for how much I actively listen to music, and I can’t share that with my family for a few reasons.
(Of course, I did learn that I was eligible for the half-price student rate, but I already made my mind.)
Personally I find the Music app's conflation of the music available via streaming with my own library to be pretty annoying. In the before-times I was often in cell-phone deadlines and the fact that the app makes it such a pain in the ass to keep track of which songs I own and are on my device, which songs I own and are being streamed through iCloud/iTunes Match, and which songs I do not own and are being streamed by Apple Music is endlessly frustrating to me as it will often hang and skip stuff.
I wish they would disaggregate the experience of listening to my personal music library from their streaming/radio service. Being able to bring in songs from the streaming service to save and play locally as part of a playlist is nice. Like especially for party playlists with a lot of disposable pop that I don't care to own. But I want to know this is what I'm doing when I make the playlist instead of being constantly confused as to where my media is coming from.
I also thing it's just kind of weak at recommendation curation. Their recommended playlists are fine as a top-of-the-charts in a genre radio station, but it's not as good as Spotify at surfacing new or obscure stuff for me. I don't even need algorithms curating the feed honestly, I want to be able to follow curators and let them curate feeds for me. Apple has great "influences" and "inspired by" playlists for artists you like, but they're kind of hard to find and they're curated by Apple or some sort of music database thing they have. I'd like to follow an artist or a music producer and have them recommend me music directly now and then. Spotify does partnerships like this from time to time and it was great for introducing me to new genres and stuff I don't typically listen to but like. I'd love it if Apple put more time into doing that. A playlist like "Rap for people who aren't usually into rap," for example.
I'd also love a "long play" or "ep" mode that's focused on browsing and listening to whole albums instead of always treating albums as collections of unrelated songs.
Piracy and Bandcamp, depending on the popularity of the band or musician. I like the unparalleled flexibility of having music on local storage, as you find mp3 playback capability on just about every device these days- I got a pair of wireless headphones not too long ago that had a micro SD card reader that it could use to load and play mp3s, no connected hardware required. The only downside is having to take the time to load up your library first, but that's like an hour you spend when you're first getting the device and you're done.
I also prefer local/unprotected/unencrypted music files. It's nice to be able to carry around a tiny microSD memory chip with a bunch of my all-time favorite books, movies, TV shows, music, and emulator game images.
Of course, if everyone did that, corporations would crack down harder on it, because US society is designed so that people need to consume and spend money consistently, and having local content that isn't tied to a service any more goes against that.
Living near the rockies, I wouldn't have anything but files with me as I drive through parts of Canada with little to no service.
I've been using a mix of these too and love the flexibility they afford me. Though it's been years since I've downloaded anything illegally because good music trackers are so hard to get into :/
Sorry, you're right. I think hard was not the right word. Time consuming would be more appropriate.
I use Spotify but I have a few minor issues (mostly nitpicking):
Apart from those issues, I'm pretty happy overall :)
Youtube music. It's recommendation/auto-playlist feature is nice and does a fairly decent job of playing me a mixture of stuff I know and like and things I haven't heard and might. Other than that it's a complete shambles. It hoovers data - even if you've downloaded a track it will still prefer to stream it unless you've specifically disabled streaming on mobile. In which case you have to select music through a whole separate section of the app, and it refuses to play a downloaded playlist in order, only on shuffle (I've been told this is only a problem in android auto but most of my out-of-the-house streaming is in the car so...)
The only reason I have it is that I want Youtube Premium and YT Music comes bundled. I did use Google Play Music and that was good, but they seem to have broken half the damn service in the move over.
The reason I went with Google was that they used to pay artists much more than the other services but I don't think they even do that any more.
I use Spotify also. I don't come across many bugs with it but I only use it in pretty limited circumstances... generally just on my desktop at home while I'm working or through the Google Home speaker.
The speaker sometimes struggles to figure out whether I want a track or an album, and if the track isn't available it just goes for something that it thinks might be similar... I get a lot of "Now Playing (Name Of Song You Want) (Trap Remix)". I think that's more on Google, though.
I am not big into recommendation engines in general, although I've actually discovered stuff I like through Spotify's a couple times which is more than I can say for most of them.
Spotify also sucks for podcasts. I prefer to use a dedicated podcast app that is much more feature-rich (PodcastAddict).
As for what I like about it, I have a couples plan on it which is reasonably priced and makes it easy for my partner and I to keep our listening separate but share an account. I like that there are lots of different playlists available, made by other people, and how easy it is to share and save and edit your own copy of them.
I used to use a streaming service called rdio until Pandora bought it and shut it down in 2015. For the time it was really really good. I still miss it. :(
Any suggestions for podcast players with ad-blocker functionality?
Ad blocker, not sure, sorry. I paid a small amount to remove the Google ad banner in-app for Podcast Addict, and the app itself doesn't insert any audio ads. The podcasts themselves still do ads (those dynamic ads configured by the podcast creator - not sure of the term), but I just skip ahead on those or let them roll.
I don’t know which platform you’re on, but I use RSSRadio on iOS. It doesn’t have an ad blocker per se, but it does have skip buttons you can configure to specific lengths. So if you know your podcast has 30 second commercials, you can make it 30 seconds and with one press, you’re past a commercial.
I have a fileserver in my basement. Music files go on it, it gets mounted to devices I want to play that music off of, music gets played just like local music files.
Files are sourced from a variety of places: digital downloads, ripped from physical media, some portion ripped from Youtube videos (don't tell the audiophiles). Ripped from CD with the disc placed in storage for backup would probably be ideal, but I'm pretty pragmatic about where I get stuff from.
I'm extremely happy with it, but it's definitely not the right approach for everyone.
For streaming to a phone, and other devices like smart TVs, I recently set up Jellyfin on my desktop. It can handle all sorts of media, open source, and with the right settings can be very privacy aware. I don't have a permanent server for it, but I'm considering grabbing an old Thinkpad or Chromebook and retiring my current laptop to server duty so I can run Jellyfin and other things too. Not sure if that would be right for your application, but worth looking in to.
Have you looked into setting up something like Subsonic or Ampcache for your music? You can set it up on your server then use a compatible app to stream music to your phone. It works really well.
navidrome is an open source alternative to subsonic. I have it working on my machine and it's great.
I use Spotify and my main complaint with it is that it could be easier to add and manage local files. I listen to a lot of stuff from bandcamp so I'd like to be able to add them to my liked songs just like everything else.
I've been using Tidal from the times where Spotify didn't have hifi audio yet. I'm also on a family plan with friends which makes the costs doable, as (at the time), $35/month for hifi audio would absolutely be too much.
Before that, used spotify, and before that, files.
Tidal isn't too bad and generally comparable to Spotify; it doesn't have everything and it occassionally has server issues, but overall I'm happy with the client. Maybe Spotify is a better option at this point, but I don't think it's worth the hassle of converting playlists and moving everything over.
One major issues is that on Tidal, bands with the same name can't exist, so for example the Finnish (cheesy but guilty pleasure) folk metal band Shaman also displays albums by other bands called Shaman on its pages, which makes finding albums cumbersome sometimes. Sometimes albums have typos in song titles all over the place too, which is annoying but otherwise not really important.
Lately I'm moving back to local files though, as I like owning my music, especially since a lot of it isn't available on Tidal or in some cases not available for streaming at all. This includes Bandcamp downloads, using good ol' Windows MediaPlayer, which is just good at what it does and plays any file I throw at it. Alternatively, MusicBee seems to be a decent music player (free, closed source) which I might end up using when MediaPlayer ends up breaking eventually (knowing microsofts track record).
I'm also looking into setting up a Plex-based fileserver to stream music with, which is basically a self-hosted streaming service, which allows you to listen to your local files from anywhere with an internet connection.
I've found windows media player to be very reliable too. It hasn't changed in forever and really doesn't need to. Everything I want it to do works.
I sometimes use spotify. I'm still very much a 'flac or death' type -- but spotify is handy for discovery.
I'm considering moving to a family plan so I can have an independent account for each major genre. As it sits, I rarely get new indie recommendations because about 90% of my spotify listening is lounge / exotica / jazz / 40s etc. The remaining 10% is split between early to mid 90s east coast hip hop and indie music.
I also wish there were a more prominent 'artists I follow' feed that would list who has a new record out.
Lastly, I wish spotify would cut down on the fake bands that make bullshit EDM tracks using keywords to hijack google home. For instance -- https://open.spotify.com/artist/3U3GLiKdCpJ2Y41YVWlJc3
I ditched spotify for my wake up music and went back to SomaFM because of this. If I ever hear, 'spotify... I love you spotify' again, I will die of an aneurysm.
Totally try out DI.fm if Soma is your go to.
oh nice. I don't listen to a lot of electronic stuff outside of chillwave and retrowave -- but this will be handy.
This is perfect, actually. I used to listen to berlin community radio a lot and loved a lot of the stuff I heard, but I never knew the genres. This should help narrow it down. :)
I'm a big fan of both of those. I've found the stuff coming out of Russia under the genre sovietwave is a similar genre with slide differences in aesthetic. sovietwave.su is a radio station that plays some good stuff from that genre.
nice! That's great. There are so many great sites like this. Seoul community radio was good for a while, but someone messed with their levels and it was peaking... so I stopped listening.
If you ever use twitch, https://www.twitch.tv/desertheartsrecords is pretty great. I don't care about watching the people, but the main dude is great.
If you really want to narrow it down, get a bag of chips and load up 'Ishkurs Guide to Electronic Muisc'. It's a hilarious, interactive encyclopedia of genres throught the last 80 years
holy shit. https://music.ishkur.com is unbelievable! This is a massive undertaking. I wish all genres had this. Great share!
And the guy's Descriptions are absolutely hilarious andon point. Enjoy!
I have a Youtube Music subscription, but I usually stream from Plex on a home server.
Since I like a bunch of obscure stuff, Youtube Music can be a bit of a hassle. Luckily I have a home server with 20 TB raw storage.
Some of you may remember that I switched fully to the Apple ecosystem about a year and a half ago. Part of that switch was Apple Music.
Previously I used google play music, and then Spotify. (I still actually pay for YouTube premium, but I don’t use YouTube music).
Best thing about AM is how well it integrates with Apple devices. I found the discovery abilities to be as good for me as Spotify. I enjoy using it, and the interface is good. I have no complaints.
I've been thinking about this.
I like Spotify because it's the standard, consistentlu runs on Android, Windows and Linux, and they provide an official Snap package, and .deb package (which is far less reliable). Fun fact: They also we're quite active when Debian was switching to systemd, and I believe we're the largest company trying to offer suggestions I saw.
I don't like that it works better in Linux than Windows, and that they've dropped official support for libspotify, leaving the whole community waiting they don't flip a server-side switch to deprecate the library. Spotify had a great ecosystem of FOSS apps around it.
Amazon. No I don't want to subscribe. Just like I didn't want to the last 100 times you fucking asked me.
I use Digitally Imported and couldn't be happier. Their electronic music selection is always fresh, the annual $80 gives you access to 4 other multi genre radio networks aaaand they're independent and were among the first to offer streaming radio.
Hell, I'd pay for a subscription even if I didn't listen to it.
I also use Spotify and my biggest gripe is the inconsistency between the mobile and desktop versions. The desktop version seems to abandoned, the only updates are visual or there for contractual reasons (lyrics).
I have been using streaming services since very early on, starting with PlaysForSure support with Rhapsody in the early 2000s. To this day, Rhapsody was my favorite and I still miss it -- it had great discoverability, good sorting (e.g. by release date), great artist and album descriptions, great categorization by genre and subgenre -- I could explore subgenres and listen to popular tracks and discovered new artists and styles regularly.
I currently use Youtube Music, Apple Music (free trial), and Di.FM (2 year plan), so I'll compare.
Let's start with Di.FM since they're fundamentally different than the others. I got Di.FM because I sometimes enjoy the repetitiveness of electronic music when I'm trying to get into the zone and do some coding, it works like a mental metronome and keeps me moving. What I discovered after signing up is that they have sister services that I actually end up using just as much, if not more. classicalradio.com, rockradio.com, jazzradio.com, radiotunes.com, and zenradio.com.
What I like:
What I don't like:
I really liked Google Play Music, but Google forced everybody to migrate over to Youtube Music. For my use cases, this wasn't a horrible hit, but I generally don't like it as much.
What I like:
What I don't like:
I'm currently using a free trial, so I play with it some, but have less experience with it.
What I like:
What I don't like:
I think I'll be sticking with Youtube music, primarily because of the bundled Youtube Premium, which gives me no ads and background video playing.
Where they all fail, hard, is with classical music (in the broader sense, meant to include Baroque and modern orchestral music). Music metadata is heavily weighted to modern music. Having good metadata about composer, performer, and performance would be awesome for classical music, which I think Tidal is supposed to be better at, but I listen to so much more than just classical.
I actually view this as a feature, there are a few youtube covers / songs from shows that weren't 'Officially' part of the sound track that I like and I love being able to add them to my playlist, but when a random Youtuber cover gets suggested instead of a real song... yeah that sucks and is part of the reason I'm leaving.
As to the maps thing, I still don't understand why maps should integrate music at all... Why shouldn't it work like Car Play / Android Auto where it's just a background task?
I've been a GPM user since day one - at the time Spotify was not available in my country. I adapted so quickly to it that it seemed natural to me - I'm used to playing full albums and not using playlists. I really liked it, but then google decided to move to youtube music and I decided to go to Spotify (they finally arrived!).
So at the moment I'm (rarely) using Spotify with a Family subscription. And here's my opinion:
What I like about Spotify:
What I don't like about Spotify:
Unfortunately there's no other application that streams to any devices natively. I tried Deezer and Tidal with Heos (I have a Denon amplifier) and they're shit - you have to go to the Heos app and choose the music in there.
At least in the case of Deezer I saw a lot of users asking the company to open their API so people can create clients for streaming, but they seem deaf to the requests.
I use Youtube Music mostly because I consume enough youtube videos in a month to make Youtube Premium worth it, so I decided to try out their music service since it was an addon. My biggest complaint, especially as a former Play Music user: The Youtube Music app is just a veneer over actual youtube. It isn't a good music playing app. I can't, for the life of me, get it to NOT play the videos on Desktop. It's like listening to music on shuffle and getting the live version..... I don't want to sit and listen to artistic wind noises for 3 minutes cause that's how the music video starts. I'm actually going to be switching back to Spotify today, just gotta figure out if I can somehow import my playlists or if I'm going to have to move them by hand / use a sketchy third party thing...
Edit: Just in case someone comes across this, I remembered what service I've used to do this in the past! soundiiz.com, I've used it two or three times, and you do have to pay for their 'premium' account level to transfer from one service to another. Make sure you cancel it too, cause their premium is a monthly charge, there's no option to just pay for a transfer and be done. However, it will move all the playlists and even report to you any songs it couldn't find on your target service so you can fix those.
I use Spotify.
Cannot change a playlist cover on mobile (and some other things - that's most noticeable) No way to look up lyrics of a song
On mobile, if you check the current playing song, if there's a rectangle at the bottom with the label "Lyrics" you can scroll down to see the lyrics.
On desktop in the bottom bar, left side of the queue icon, there's an icon that looks like a microphone, that's the lyrics button.
iTunes. I like having the ability to sort my music by categories such as genre, year, and when on a whim songwriter.
Plus I've always preferred the lighter UI in comparison to Spotify, which I use when it's in my pocket on the move and I don't have to look at the thing.
I still haven’t found a service that does a queue the same way Rdio (RIP) did. I could queue up albums, and it would remember exactly where I was in that queue when I switched devices. Pandora (who acquired Rdio) comes close, but their overall interface wasn’t that great.
Spotify, my log in stopped working and I can't seem to reset my password or anything. I didn't use it much anyway. I just need to cancel it at this point.