Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of music on streaming services.
Ever since I was banned from using my personal computer at the job, I’ve had to rely on other means for getting my music fix on.
You see, I have a
massive sizeable music library, far too big for an iPod or portable music player.
And as I am loathe to allocate precious memory space on my phone to music, I’ve had to rely on alternate means to soothe my inner savage beast.
Back in the day, I used to rock Pandora hard.
I made a few stations based on artists I liked and was content for a hot second.
But when I realized that was listening to the same 15-20 songs over and over again, it quickly lost is luster.
Then there was last.fm.
Same difference as Pandora – except you could scrobble.
Someone suggested 365 Live as an alternative, and for a while I was content.
I’d primarily listen to their Classical or Jazz stations, and every once in a while stray to their Reggae offering (mistake).
I came across Spotify one day, and decided to give it a try.
In addition to their genres, you could create your own playlist or listen to radio stations built around artists or songs you like.
The problem with Spotify, aside from the annoying ads every three songs, is the repetitious nature of its playlists.
If you listen for more than an hour or to the same station multiple times, invariably you’re going to hear the same songs over and over again.
Now there’s one thing I don’t understand, each of these services claims to have millions of songs, but all of them suffer from repetition.
They all have ads (in the free versions) that pop up more frequently than terrestrial radio, and although they don’t last nearly as long, they’re annoying nonetheless.
For all that, I might as well simply listen to the actual radio.
At least then I’m under no delusion that I’ll experience variety.
But a few weeks ago, after I got my iPhone 5s, I noticed something new in iTunes.
Do my eyes deceive me?
I don’t remember iTunes having a radio.
Scanning my memory banks, I did recall some mention of iTunes Radio at the WWDC.
But it was buried in the iOS 7 hoopla, and quickly faded from memory.
Having discovered the radio button in my dock, I decided to give it a go, and quickly created several stations.
The good thing about iTunes Radio is the absence of a learning curve.
Hit any one of the preset stations and you’re off.
Making a new station is as simple as pressing a “+” button and typing in the name of the artist or song you want to create a station around.
iTunes Radio does the rest.
Initially, I was pleased.
iTunes Radio seemed robust and the music was varied and (at first blush) non-repetitious.
But then it happened.
The random song unrelated to the artist or genre I had selected.
Worse than that though, was the spotty service.
Streaming iTunes Radio seemed to be worse than the other streaming services I used.
Now, to be fair, all streaming services suffer from some defect in playback.
But iTunes Radio seems to drop at an inordinately higher rate than Spotify, Pandora, Live365 or last.fm.
Waiting for iTunes Radio to connect (or reconnect as was often the case) was like Chinese Water Torture.
The anticipation was unbearable, especially when you were in the groove.
Despite my initial enthusiasm, iTunes Radio was no better than the rest.
It does provide you with the ability to purchase songs you hear on the fly, but so what?!
In the final analysis, streaming music apps are often more trouble than they’re worth.
I resign myself to the fact that I just have to devote some of my device’s precious memory to storing music.
Because streaming is for the birds!