Ditching music streaming services was the best thing I ever did

About 5 months ago, Spotify made a very controversial change to the way their library function worked, wherein that in order for an artist or album to appear as “in your collection”, you have to actually like (as in, akin to a Facebook like) the album or artists, even those one-offs. I didn’t like this, as it flies in the face of literally every piece of music management software out there. If I pull up iTunes/WMP/what have you, even if I only have one song by an artist it’s going to show that artist in my library if I look at a list of artists.

When Spotify came out and told people to essentially get bent over the UI change, I canceled my subscription and gave Apple Music another go. Don’t get me wrong, I like Apple Music on the surface, but where the dealbreaker comes is that Apple Music wants complete control over your library. Yes, that means local files, too. On paper, this is a really good idea, because I can load my music onto one computer and any other computer/device signed into my Apple Music account gets those changes automatically pushed, but the reality was that I had random files getting flagged as non-playable, and worse, unless I was at home at the master computer, there was no way to fix this.

The damage Apple Music did to my local library was also quite extensive, replacing songs with the wrong copies, matching the wrong data, so on and so forth. I ended up having to wipe the whole thing and start over from a backup.

I briefly considered Google’s streaming offerings, but we all know what Google can’t really be trusted to maintain any sort of product these days.

I finally arrived at the conclusion that I should just go back to the good days, where I just purchased music and kept it all local rather than relying on streaming services. I don’t buy music terribly often anyway, and when I do? Albums are usually around $10, or well under it at used record shops.

This also comes with the benefit that you own the music. You can play it on whatever the hell you want and you don’t have to pray and hope that Spotify or Apple Music have an app on the platform of your choice. Which for me personally is a good thing, because I’m delving back into messing with older iPods that can’t actually do anything with Apple Music let alone Spotify.

I also feel like I appreciate the music I have that much more, because I’m not just paying $10 a month to have access to a catalogue of music, I’m paying money to have that specific song/album. Because it means something to me.

Record shops are even better because now you’re paying to have a physical copy of that album on hand. It feels stupid, I know, but there’s something to be said for still having the physical media in your hands.

In short, I feel like dropping streaming was a net positive for me. I appreciate my music more and I am the master of my destiny. I don’t have to worry about Spotify making stupid changes or Apple Music completely destroying my local files. It’s great.