So last year, I did a video blog (vlog, I believe the kids call them) about Spotify. This year, I’m on a new service, and figured I’d share my thoughts for continuity. Plus, I get to go to bed earlier by starting earlier. (Note: I started this and it took 3 days to write. Turns out I had to do some thinking…)

Here’s the old one, just FYI.

What’s all this noise about?

So - ‘All you can eat’ music services are great. I mean, you pay a negligible monthly fee and get access to millions of tracks to listen to. That’s great. Really great. Buying music, we all know, can get expensive if you’re not a mean bargain bin hunter at the 2 remaining record stores, so these fill the gap nicely. They also cater to, and possibly feed, the growing popular way of consuming music - randomly, all the time.
Music is no longer an event - It has evolved from going to a concert to see an orchestra, going to a bar to see a singer or sharing folk music with your neighbours to being someone’s constant soundtrack.
We run with headphones in, we drive with music playing, many workplaces are constantly buzzing with tunes or workers have headphones in. It’s absolutely everywhere. I’m just as guilty - I rarely have music not on ( Above and Beyond - Group Therapy now if you’re curious) - when doing all of the above and more. I use it as a mood modifier, as a background to thought, as a way to clear my head. Constant. Everywhere. Always. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not complaining, I love it.

Feeding the addiction.

So - I’ve now informed you that everyone loves music all the time. You agree. “How do we actuate that infatuation?” You ask - because you think in funny words like I do. Well - There’s two ways. One’s legal, one’s not and one’s another way I didn’t think of when I wrote the last sentence. Actually, let’s call it four. Nope five. I should plan my discussions better.

  • All you can eat music
  • Pirating music
  • Buying music
  • Youtube
  • Podcasts

I’ve done all of the above. Okay, there’s definitely more ways coming into my head as time goes on, but I don’t care any more. You get the idea, and those are the key paths I’ve got music through. It’s been pretty great, really. Today, I do four of five with varying regularity - 1 and 4 are daily - at work and at home. Channels I watch, or exploring Google music. 5 is weekly - subscriptions get updated and I listen to music. 3 is monthly - I find something/someone I’m excited by and pay money. It’s a good system - I’m exploring and discovering more than I was a year ago, but I’ve found that youtube’s a bit transient in terms of discovery - I find, I become excited and 99% of the time I move on.
What I love, though, is having a collection of everything I’ve ever liked. It says an awful lot about me as a person, and I love being able to escape back to the boy that first discovered 65 Days of Static and relive those feelings once more, or just sneak round to Elton John for the pure pleasure he gives me. If I don’t see these artists, I forget about them and lose a bit of what I love - my breadth and depth of musical taste, and sheer excitement that sounds give me.
Right, I’m rambling. Here’s the bit you came for:

Google Music

(Change of pace: Paul Simon - Graceland is on now)
So, Hibby, how does it stack up against Spotify?
I’m glad you asked. As it turns out, for me, night and day. First and foremost, it has a Library!
Oh, god - I’ve missed you so much, Library mode. It’s not just any library, though - It’s a library of my tracks. Once upon a time I uploaded about 10000 tracks to the Google servers, and they created me an instantly accessible, online collection of my music, available on computer or phone or tablet when I wanted it, free of charge. That’s pretty cool, for starters.
This new service takes it a step further, though - The whole ‘millions of tracks everywhere’ joy of Spotify is still there, but not in that downright frustrating playlist-driven environment, full of friendly suggestions of what my friends are listening to. If I find an album I like, I can add it to my library. That’s great - it means I’m less likely to lose it in a fit of enthusiasm over something else, or I’ll remember to listen again. Say Graceland, up there - I was listening to that. As it turns out, I have it on tape in my car. (I both really like Graceland and have a really shitty car), but I’ve not got a digitised copy in my virtual library.
Thanks to Google Music, Paul Simon now appears when I scan my list of artists. Never again shall I forget to listen to the fantastically significant piece of art that he put out until I’m stressed and need a break from a spaceships or linux or similar podcast. It ticks that box for me - it reminds me what I like by presenting me with a collection.
Anything else I have to say isn’t important really - outside of that, it’s functionally the same as Spotify. Download the app/go to the website, push butan, play music. It does that competently. The web app, sadly, doesn’t natively scrobble but I’m using LastFM Scrobbler to navigate around that, and it works. That covers me on Youtube as well, conveniently.

Yeah. Give google music a bash - it’s really, very good. It’s replaced Spotify for me, entirely. It’s a much more polished, self-centred form of consuming music. That’s what I want in my streaming service. I don’t want to see what my friends are listening to and have suggestions derived from that.

I’m sure your music taste is great guys, but if I want a suggestion, I’ll just come and ask, k?