A Sad Time for Old Collectors Like Me (Who say NO to streaming)

Status
Not open for further replies.

toeknee4bz

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I know that we're not supposed to be deliberately negative on the Corner, but recent times have shown that nobody cares about music anymore. Or at least, not the way we used to care. They don't even buy it anymore. NOBODY CARES if they don't own their own music. They don't even cherry-pick a song from iTunes anymore. Everyone just seems to be content to have 'streaming' services, free or fee, where someone else plays modern day DJ. On the surface, I suppose it's no different than the old folks who were content with whatever was on the radio. But apparently, there are no younger people out there nowadays who even remotely care to collect their own music.

CDs are all but a dead market now. The mp3 market is dying (if not dead already), and now I am told that when my iPod Classic dies, chances are I won't be able to find anything comparable to hold all of my music collection of 10,000+ songs. People automatically mention Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Google Music... Ok, so there are options out there.... but wait a minute. Why should I have to PAY a subscription TO LISTEN TO MY OWN MUSIC, which I've ALREADY PAID FOR years ago? A friend of mine said that Google Music was free to upload your own library. Oh yeah? I went to the site, and it won't let you do anything WITHOUT entering a CREDIT CARD number. I'm sure some of you out there have seen the credit rating commercial where the girl talks to the website saying "You want my credit card info so you can charge me on the down low later on." Yeah. I feel her pain.

Any good news, guys?
 

DeeInKY

Well-Known Member
Yeah, we're kind of being nickled and dimed to death. I have an iTunes account but keep it loaded with gift cards so I don't have to enter a credit card. I haven't gone the streaming music route. Formats do change (hopefully for the better) but after going thru records, 8 tracks, cassettes, CDs, mp3s, and now back to a combo of vinyl, CDs, and digital, I'm not thrilled with streaming. There are some artists and/or albums that I have had in all or most of these formats, but I want to pick what I like and not have something foisted upon me.
 

toeknee4bz

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I don't mind having an iTunes account, and I've bought a song or two here and there for about a decade now. Naturally, my purchases have been steadily declining over the years. But those songs are mine now, and I can listen to them any time I want, at no additional cost. With streaming, they own everything... and they control everything... and you get to pay for it.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
The real kicker is that streaming services pay little if anything to the artists.

For me, the sound quality of some streaming is so poor that I can't even listen to it at length. Spotify was horrible. At least Pandora One (the paid version) streams a little better than the free version, but it's more like your own customized radio station--it is not an on-demand feature where you can play a specific album or track. (And I've gotten so many new recordings as a result of my Pandora stations that there are way more than I could ever keep up with buying!)

Amazon has its own Prime streaming also, and your purchases are automatically added to your library at no charge (available without Prime, for free, essentially forever). Tidal is the only service that offers streaming in lossless (CD-quality); if Oppo would create an application for it on my BDP-105, I'd subscribe right away. Google has never asked me to give a credit card number for any of my accounts I have with uploaded music.

There are still plenty of music players out there, though, even more so than in the past, with higher capacities and sound qualities. Sony even sells a high-resolution player (the NWZ-A17) that will play your tracks downloaded from HD Tracks or others. And with many, they do not require any proprietary software to foul up a computer--the means to load tracks is already built into Windows, OSX, Linux, etc., or easily added for free. As for CDs, there are plenty on Amazon, and more new releases still coming along regularly, especially on indie labels. Nothing's dying off in that respect, although overall sales of physical units have dropped. Getting away from "proprietary" also lets us play most popular formats, not one or two in an attempt to lock us into the vicious upgrade/replacement cycle from one company.

If anything, we have more options now than in the past. Players are now flash-memory based so a crashed hard drive won't obliterate everything on the player. Some phones now have enough memory to load up at least a few dozen albums. On my bicycle, I use an old HTC Thunderbolt with a 32GB Micro SD card to carry dozens of albums, and can also stream Pandora or TuneIn Radio if I turn on WiFi and use my active phone (stashed in my bike bag) as a WiFi hotspot. The old phone goes into a Philips Shoqbox portable, rechargeable speaker either via Bluetooth or wired Aux input (so I could use either of my old Zune players with it if I wanted).

Nobody is forcing streaming on any of us, and while music downloads are growing (it makes sense for the labels for low-selling albums), there are now more ways than ever to play it back via portable means. Streaming is just an option--it is not replacing anything. Other than data usage while on the cellular network, it can come in handy for an album I might have at home which I did not load onto a portable device, or for times I want to sample music without making a purchase. It has its uses but nobody has claimed it is replacing our collections. So, no worries.

BTW, I keep my entire library in two forms on my server. I have all digital files stored as FLAC files, but also have a concurrent directory where all the same files are stored as WMA files (as WMA and AAC files are superior to MP3, at the same bitrate, by a longshot). That way, I can quickly load up any portable device (USB drive for the car, the phones or tablets, the Zune players, etc.) just by dragging the files over.
 

toeknee4bz

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
For me, the sound quality of some streaming is so poor that I can't even listen to it at length. Spotify was horrible.

Google has never asked me to give a credit card number for any of my accounts I have with uploaded music.

There are still plenty of music players out there, though, even more so than in the past, with higher capacities and sound qualities. Sony even sells a high-resolution player (the NWZ-A17) that will play your tracks downloaded from HD Tracks or others. And with many, they do not require any proprietary software to foul up a computer--the means to load tracks is already built into Windows, OSX, Linux, etc., or easily added for free.
Players are now flash-memory based so a crashed hard drive won't obliterate everything on the player. Some phones now have enough memory to load up at least a few dozen albums.

Nobody is forcing streaming on any of us, and while music downloads are growing (it makes sense for the labels for low-selling albums), there are now more ways than ever to play it back via portable means. Streaming is just an option--it is not replacing anything. Other than data usage while on the cellular network, it can come in handy...

Agreed, Spotify IS "horrible". And I'm not really wild about what I've heard from Pandora either. Which, again, is just another reason why I think streaming services are, ultimately, a ripoff. With the current economy, most folks don't even think much about music anymore, much less buy it. They don't care about choosing their own. They want someone else to. Hence, the reason for all of this streaming service trend. But my main gripe, besides the fact that all of this spells 'SPEND MORE MONEY', is that [for instance] if I type up "Dan Fogelberg", I don't want to hear other artists who sound LIKE Dan Fogelberg. I want to hear DAN FREAKIN' FOGELBERG! In the end, it just doesn't work for me at all.

On my iPod Classic, I have playlists, such as my Fogelberg playlist, or my Herb Alpert playlist, among others, which are as much as 11 or 12 hours long. If I'm busy at work or whatever, I can put on a playlist of a favorite artist, and hear my favorite songs from their respective albums, in the chronological order (which I prefer), and I don't have to touch it for the rest of the working day until I turn it off. I could never do this with any other medium whatsoever. I do realize, however, that not everybody is as artist-oriented as I am. And for those folks who can afford to take on yet another monthly bill, I say 'whatever floats their boat...'

Not sure if you're right about music downloads 'growing' though. I'll have to take your word on that one, because each region of the country is a bit different. And I live in a small rural community, which may not be indicative of the market as a whole.

I would be interested, if nothing more than for the sake of open-mindedness, to find out how to upload my library to Google Music WITHOUT entering a credit card number. Mainly because I realize that one day my iPod Classic will eventually die, as the others have... and there may not be a comparable replacement. But then again, even if this option presents itself without the credit card stumbling block, then [as you've said already] there's the charge for data usage. Again, no matter how you slice it or dice it, this stuff all goes back to SPEND MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY, MORE MONEY.

On a positive note: The options you referenced above, such as the Sony product, sound at least compelling enough to check out.
But even this gives me trepidation. Back about ten years ago, I tried the Philips 'Go Gear' mp3 player, and it was absolutely horrible. However, the real problem was that it relied upon Windows Media Player, which fights you every step of the way when trying to compile a playlist. For instance, I tried to create a playlist of my favorite Herb Alpert tracks from the solo era on up, and instead of having each album in chronological order (i.e. the RISE album, then BEYOND, then MAGIC MAN, and so forth), it grouped all of the 01 tracks, then all of the 02 tracks, the 03 tracks, and so on. VERY frustrating. I hated it so much that I took it back and sprang for my first iPod Classic. Now, I've had several iPod Classics, and eventually I got smart and started replacing them with refurbished or used units (I bought the last two for $50 each and they still work) which have lasted me every bit as long, sometimes longer... but nothing lasts forever.
Hence, my dilemma.
 
Last edited:

DeeInKY

Well-Known Member
Ahhh, the old playlist struggle. The devices seem to figure that we carbon based forms are not capable of rendering a list in a coherent fashion.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
We easily do playlists here with an older Sony MP3 player and Windows Media Player--there is a little known way to do it. The Zune was even easier, but you had to use their software to do it.

Most guys I know get rid of the crappy software on the ipod and install Rockbox. :wink:

With flash drives, the key is to properly arrange things in folders, and name the tracks properly to get a playback sequence without needing to use a playlist. For the car, I have artist folders, with the albums in folders beneath those, and tracks are named with numbers starting as 01, 02, etc.

That newer Sony can be loaded via itunes, BTW. (I'd have to read up to be certain, but I'm pretty sure it's a feature.) Unlike the ipod classics which use a spinning hard disk, there are no moving parts in the Sony player to wear out. And the lack of a spinning disc also means that power consumption is greatly reduced.

I think part of the dislike of Pandora is that most users do not understand what it is. It is not a "buffet" of album choices like Spotify, Google Music, etc. It is customizable radio, where you pick the type of music you want to listen to. Pandora is the end result of the Music Genome Project, where their database of music is broken down into the individual characteristics of the music, which has nothing to do with the artist (directly). The idea is not to play our same favorite artist--it is more like a musical discovery tool to introduce us to similar-sounding music and artists. If you like "A", here is "B" and "C"--see if you like these also!

So no, it's not a traditional streaming service. It was never meant to be. That is why Spotify and others have taken a different route by letting users pick artists and albums.

When I created my "fusion" channel, I started with Jean-Luc Ponty as the artist. It located a lot of other music that was similar to his style. I can name off at least two dozen artists I'd never heard of, or listened to before, thanks to using his recordings as the jumping-off point. Without that, I never would have discovered some of the more obscure artists like Praful, or never would have bothered to listen to older fusion groups like Return To Forever, Mahavisnhu Orchestra, etc. More directly, I never would have discovered fellow French violinist Didier Lockwood without Pandora's help. By constantly upvoting or downvoting songs, and adding a few more artists as "seeds," I have a really nice channel going now.

My 80s channel has done the same, but in a more roundabout way. I originally seeded it with Hall & Oates, but wanted more of the 80s sounds, so I seeded Tears For Fears and Depeche Mode. NOW I'm getting what I wanted all along, and again, I'm either discovering more artists I never bothered listening to before, or in this case, after decades, finally discovering the artists and titles of songs that radio played but never announced.

Since I often use Pandora as a background, it's easy to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down with the app running all the time (tablet's always on when it's charging). It's nice to have my own customized channels with the ability to chase off the unwanted music by "voting it off the island" so to speak...

The disadvantage is that now I have way too many things on my want list. :wink: But that's good. I'm always looking for new sounds, and can't stay in one place (musically) for long. Pandora has been about the only thing since satellite radio (the OLD XM, not the recent XM that Sirius destroyed) that has been able to introduce me to anything new.

Terrestrial radio hasn't done that for me since the mid 80s...
 

toeknee4bz

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
We easily do playlists here with an older Sony MP3 player and Windows Media Player--there is a little known way to do it. The Zune was even easier, but you had to use their software to do it.

Most guys I know get rid of the crappy software on the ipod and install Rockbox. :wink:

With flash drives, the key is to properly arrange things in folders, and name the tracks properly to get a playback sequence without needing to use a playlist. For the car, I have artist folders, with the albums in folders beneath those, and tracks are named with numbers starting as 01, 02, etc.

That newer Sony can be loaded via itunes, BTW. (I'd have to read up to be certain, but I'm pretty sure it's a feature.) Unlike the ipod classics which use a spinning hard disk, there are no moving parts in the Sony player to wear out. And the lack of a spinning disc also means that power consumption is greatly reduced.


When I created my "fusion" channel, I started with Jean-Luc Ponty as the artist.

The Jean-Luc Ponty album which grabs me still to this day: COSMIC MESSENGER, from 1978.

I get the idea behind Pandora: Exactly as you described. But for folks like myself, who own 842 CDs, 217 vinyl lps and several hundred downloads, it's just not worth my time. I already have just about everything I ever wanted or liked, and hardly anything new appeals to me. Not that I've closed my mind to it, but every time I hear something new these days I either say "What kind of crap is that?" or "Eh." Aside from Herb Alpert's last two CD releases, I think the only album-length CDs I've bought for myself were LIFE ON A ROCK and WELCOME TO THE FISHBOWL by Kenny Chesney.

As for the iPod, I have no problem whatsoever creating playlists. I had problems before I bought the Apple product. Now the hard drive is a different story.... and is why I've owned five iPod Classics in the past decade (As I indicated earlier, I started buying used ones for far cheaper after the first two). Disposable technology.
 

Mr Bill

Gentlemanly Curmudgeon
Staff member
Moderator
All of this makes those old late 70's early 80's "Home taping is killing the music business" labels (primarily seen in UK) seem rather quaint now. Oh, how I'd love to wake up and have it be 1980 again!

--Mr Bill
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Yeah, the 80s. I would go back and buy a crap-ton of all the IRS Records stuff I want now (including a few I stupidly sold, like two of the Cramps albums). I can still find a lot of it but prices can be insane for anything in playable condition, and even then, condition is questionable.

And if I had to redo it, I'd hold onto all of that vinyl I traded in or gave away. Getting it all back now is proving difficult.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
The Jean-Luc Ponty album which grabs me still to this day: COSMIC MESSENGER, from 1978.

I get the idea behind Pandora: Exactly as you described. But for folks like myself, who own 842 CDs, 217 vinyl lps and several hundred downloads, it's just not worth my time. I already have just about everything I ever wanted or liked, and hardly anything new appeals to me. Not that I've closed my mind to it, but every time I hear something new these days I either say "What kind of crap is that?" or "Eh." Aside from Herb Alpert's last two CD releases, I think the only album-length CDs I've bought for myself were LIFE ON A ROCK and WELCOME TO THE FISHBOWL by Kenny Chesney.

As for the iPod, I have no problem whatsoever creating playlists. I had problems before I bought the Apple product. Now the hard drive is a different story.... and is why I've owned five iPod Classics in the past decade (As I indicated earlier, I started buying used ones for far cheaper after the first two). Disposable technology.

They really need to get with this century and put SSDs or flash memory in those ipods. Other manufacturers go up to 128GB with flash memory--heck, I'd rather pay a premium for it, just to eliminate moving parts.

I don't go for new music either, not that much anyway. What's nice about Pandora for me is that I'm sometimes finding songs in my rotation that I heard on WJZZ back in the 70s and 80s, but were never back-announced. And a lot of fusion bands I otherwise overlooked. (Although I still dislike Weather Report, outside of just a couple of tunes.) Same with my 80s channel--we didn't have MTV in the house, and again, local radio never bothered to back-announce. So I'm buying a lot of music that is new to me now, in a sense, playing catch-up for stuff I missed earlier. XM's channels in the old days did the same, and having the song/artist/album title displayed all the time made it easier for me.

I don't think I've bought a CD in ages--I've purchased two the whole year. Both were long out of print and still cheap. Score! :D And there is nothing else out there on CD I want. But vinyl? Egads. Too much to count. I sort of do vinyl in binges though--I save up a bit or accumulate gift certificates, and then whittle down my want list over the course of a month or two. And I get in the stray preorder as well. Then I go through spells of a few months where I buy almost nothing.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
I still buy the occasional CD (most recently, the Doobie Brothers and America "Warner Bros. Years" box sets, but that was more for the packaging (mini LPs) than the music). I've bought a few downloads, mostly stuff that's out of print on CD and the occasional new single. But, it's sure not as fun listening to a new song freshly downloaded as it was to anticipate an LP's arrival, pull it out of the box, examine the cover and then open it up, examine the inside....then that "kaDUNK" sound when the needle it the vinyl. All that fun and we hadn't even gotten to the music yet!
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
To be honest, I've been a lot more excited in my purchases due to going back to vinyl. Didn't realize how much I missed it. And many others who have gotten back into it have been a bit amazed that even despite some of the vinyl issues, they find they are enjoying the music a lot more, since it sounds more natural.

The early CD era was a bit fun, seeing what new reissues were coming out or having to order new albums from favorite artists from Europe or Japan since they were not being released in the US for a few months to come.

On my bike rides, I either use an old phone loaded up with dozens of albums, or my newer phone with Pandora or TuneIn Radio running, as they both connect to the speaker via Bluetooth. It's nice they can run for hours, uninterrupted, as the last thing I want to do is stop constantly and switch songs or albums. (I use large playlists to keep the older phone going.) Some albums, too, are of a certain length that I try to gauge my progress by them. Pat Metheny's The Way Up is just over an hour, and I try to make it from one town to another in that amount of time.
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
I tried the free pandora service for a time it worked great until the music would stop after 4 songs and a message would appear saying " please confirm you are still listening we dont want to play to an empty room"! Believe it or not that is what happened. And after that i was done with streaming services and just stayed with my cd's. downloads etc.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom