We just ran an article espousing the benefits of Apple Music over Spotify and I get where a lot of people would prefer Apple Music for the ease of integration across Apple products. But that’s not me. Let me explain. Musically I come from a time before streaming, I used to ride my bike to the mall to buy LP’s, and it really is difficult carrying albums while riding a Sting Ray. I also liked video games. From Pong to Donkey Kong to Asteroids and on up to Assassins Creed, Call of Duty and Far Cry now. When PC’s started to be prevalent (and relatively affordable) I got a Windows machine. My brother got a Macintosh. I was able to buy games for my computer but had a really difficult time finding games that would work on an Apple as birthday or Christmas gifts. That had to do with the way Apple keeps tight control over what software gets onto their platform.
That was the first thing that soured me on Apple. That strategy seemed to work for them as they are the biggest company in the world. I got really good at working with a PC, but anytime I had to work with an Apple computer I was confused by the different icons and the weird mouse with no buttons. It was all just too foreign to me. My Apple using friends (including most of the PCTV staff) loved them and sang their praises when we discussed them and I will admit to being envious of how thin a MacBook is. I’ve found that photo editors and writers really like them too. Maybe if I had to use one professionally I would too, but I haven’t and I don’t. I did end up getting an iPod when they first came out and did buy some songs on iTunes but it was still just not comfortable for me, I never did figure out how to transfer my iTunes library when I changed computers so I would end up burning a disc of anything I bought online anyway. I like to listen to albums all the way through.
That, in itself, puts me outside of the demographic of the typical streamer.
I don’t make playlists for every occasion, I don’t make playlists of the “one good song” on each album, I get the reasoning but it’s not who I am. I pick an album that either fits the mood or a band I want to hear more of, and listen to it all the way through. I want to know what the band was thinking at that point in time. I happened to see The Black Angels on Austin City Limits last night so now I am listening to their newest album “Death Song” on Spotify. If I really like it and want it I will physically buy it. Then I will have it and can transfer it to any device I want. Sure that’s less convenient than having it all in the “cloud” but when the network is down I can still hear it. That’s just me, like I said, I get the appeal of Apple Music, for others. I have just always has a less than stellar relationship with Apple, and I have 2 iPods, an iPhone and an iPad. They all serve a purpose, I can blue tooth music on my phone to my car stereo, I basically use the iPad to web surf while watching TV, but as far as steaming goes I find that Spotify works better for me. I use it to hear things that I need to listen to while doing my job here at Power Chord TV. We listen to a lot of music in the course of doing this and it is very convenient to just be able to access the music at my desk while working. And since I don’t use streaming for the reasons most people do, the Spotify free tier works fine for me.
Apple, get a free tier and you would have many more listeners, I’m just saying.
I Googled the number of subscribers for each streaming service thinking I would add some stats but that doesn’t matter, Just because more people use Spotify than Apple Music doesn’t make it better, just different. It’s about how it makes your music listening experience better. Do I wish there was just one all-encompassing streaming service? Sure, I hate that no one service has all music. Will that ever happen? Probably not. In a free market economy there will always be somebody who wants to compete (and that is usually a good thing, but aggravating when you want everything in one place). For me streaming is about hearing new things. An unintended side benefit of listening to albums on Spotify is that after an album is over it plays something it feels is similar. I have heard some pretty cool stuff just by letting it run. I don’t know if Apple Music can do that or not. That you can listen for free also helps us here at PCTV create playlists of tunes to accompany our articles so that you can hear what we are talking about and also hear things that you may never have heard before for free as well. I’m still listening to the Swedish Psychedelia playlist we did for an article back in October.
What does the future hold? Who knows, physical media seems to be becoming a niche market, streaming may become the preferred method of delivery for all audio and visual media. If and when that happens I will consider buying a Spotify subscription. If Apple Music does what you want good for you, I will stick with Spotify.