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Apple Music is the last library focused music service (erdaltoprak.com)
175 points by erdaltoprak 52 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 238 comments

Google Play Music was extremely album-focused, but their move over to YouTube Music has basically scrapped that.

GPM even let you modify the metadata for albums; I had used this to strip out things like "(2020 Remaster Special Gold Edition)" from album names, and to cut "bonus" tracks off of albums (nothing as fun as playing an album and then getting a two hour long spoken word interview with Quincy Jones), and finally to reorganize my classical music so that the artist was the composer and the orchestra/performer name was just munged into the album title (obviously deeper nesting would have been better, but this worked well).

Now with YTM even browsing by artist is nearly impossible, and when you do, it doesn't display the albums by that artist that you've added to your collection, it just displays everything, so there's no real way to avoid seeing 20 copies of the same album remastered at different times mixed in with "pop rock of the 90s" collections. It's just dreadful.

All I want is a music service that lets me access an unlimited virtual store and bring whatever content I want and organize it recursively by tags (i.e. when I navigate to "artist" it presents me with the ability to narrow my search by "composer" or "album" or whatever). I stick with YTM mostly because it came with free ad-free YouTube. There is no public API to talk to the service, though, so I can't even build my own frontend (although there are numerous hacks, most of which involve checking your plaintext password into a git repository, which of course means compromising your gmail account which is essentially the end of the world).

The degradation of Google Play Music into YouTube Music has to be one of the most disappointing product merges in history. All of the power functionality disappeared. I can't even find the music I want anymore without great effort.

As a consequence, I'm listening to my favorite artists less frequently, and haven't even thought about concerts, festivals, albums, etc.

A dumb but rich tabular music + metadata store would be a game changer. Add in tags and multi-dimensional ranking, and I'd be in heaven. Add an API, and I'll gladly pay $50/mo.

I want iTunes 1.0, but with the ability to sync between the cloud and all of my devices. With smart playlists that can operate over my tags and ratings.

That's it. No music videos, no real need for album art or lyrics, but certainly no UI removed for simplicity or dumbing down the product.

I want to index and traverse my music in my own way.

I miss GPM so much. No one I know in person knew it existed, yet they still get to listen to my rants about Google killing the one true music service.

I too have been finding music discovery difficult since GPM shutdown. YouTube Music is getting better at discovery fortunately, but I'm not finding multiple new albums/artists per week, more like 1-2 new albums or artists every couple weeks.

One of my favorite GPM features was the "concerts in your area", that is the only way I knew that some artists were coming through my city. It was one of the last features they added. The new album release feature was fantastic as well, although YTM has it now and it works pretty well.

Also, GPM would cache music locally on your device as you played it. If you were offline, you could just display explicitly downloaded music along with the cached music, it was the best for driving through the mountains or flights. If you were playing a playlist, it would cache multiple songs ahead of the current song, sometimes I'd get 30 minutes out of service before the music would stop.

I'll probably complain about the death of GPM for many more years.

> One of my favorite GPM features was the "concerts in your area", that is the only way I knew that some artists were coming through my city.

SongKick and Last.fm have solved this problem for me for years. I haven't used them for concerts since before COVID, so I don't know if they're still good for shows.

YTM supports caching music locally much like GPM did, although I believe you have to explicitly specify what you want to cache on your device.

Seems like something similar happened to Google Pay[1] as well. With a few exceptions Google seems to suck at discerning between good and bad products. It'll shelve the likes of Reader or neuter Google Play Music, but insist on pushing garbage like G+.

[1] https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/03/the-new-google-pay-r...

This one boggles my mind. To take something that worked resonably well and degrade it into...whatever it is now is such a bad feeling. I guess Resume Driven Development is alive and well there.

To be fair, Reader and Google Play Music did both outlast G+, so it's not like the garbage fairs any better.

I'm glad I'm not alone in lamenting the demise of Google Play Music.

itunes match is what you want.

You can upload your own music to the cloud, and whatever matches existing ones just matches to the itunes store so you dont actually have to upload everything - this is the 'match' in the 'itunes match'.

And it's $25/year.

With the caveat that matching process might mis-match things when the same song exists in subtly different versions and there isn't a good way to manually override it when that happens.

I really loved GPM too and them merging it with YouTube Music pushed me to Spotify

Like several other comments here, I had the same experience as you and decided to go with plex. What no one mentioned is that plex allows you to add a tidal library in addition to your self hosted content. It's not a perfectly seamless experience because you have to mark tidal albums one at a time to add to your self hosted library and I don't think you can cache them offline on plexamp (for android at least), but it's the best I've found.

I'm hoping to give Roon a try someday, but plex works well enough that I haven't quite gotten up the activation energy: https://roonlabs.com/downloads

Roon is great, both for personal listening and for parties. I've discovered great music by leaving a cheap tablet with the Roon UI open at parties, and hearing what people come up with. Several times we've had groups passing the tablet back and forth with comments like "Well, if you like that, then try this..."

I found Plex fairly useless for managing my music library but throwing everything into my Synology's Audio Station and connecting via DS Audio has been amazing.

The new PlexAmp music player from Plex has revitalised my music library on Plex. I would have agreed with your statement prior to using PlexAmp, but I now listen to way more of my old music library than before.

I somehow have completely missed the announcement on PlexAmp. I’ve just been using their standard ‘Plex’ iOS app all this time. I just now downloaded PlexAmp and it looks great. I love to rate and add tags to my music while listening so I hope this app provides a good UX for that (in addition to the obvious needs like sorting and organizing). In terms of initial impression it looks waaaay shinier than their standard app I’ve been using all this time. Excited to start using it more.

Plex can also handle audiobooks reasonably well if you play them with the app Prologue.


Google Play was ideal because I could upload any of my own music and it was part of my library, accessible anywhere in the world.

Does any service like that still exist? I'm stuck with Spotify, which lacks dozens and dozens of albums that are important to me, and it won't let me upload them myself.

Spotify actually lets you do that, so you're in luck. Add local files on your desktop to a playlist, download the playlist on your mobile device, done. I'm using the feature, it works. Though it does not work with my "Spotify remote play" (or whatever they're calling it) kitchen radio.

The feature is so niche, I half expect them to drop it without a word in any given update.



I was trying to explain that in the blog post too, in Apple Music your own added songs are uploaded and act as any other streaming song and I think it’s pretty amazing, also the fact that your song now has all the inherited features like Siri/Spotlight search!

I don't use Apple music myself, but I've heard that it doesn't actually use your songs but uses song name matching which sometimes gives you censored versions of explicit songs. Is this true?

I remember when I used Google Play Music and it kept the AOL sound in "my" copy of a certain Tatu song, so that was definitely streaming the uploaded song.

Well, I'm pretty sure GPM did some level of acoustic matching nonsense to optimise storage or bandwidth, because it changed a bunch of songs that I'd uploaded into a different language version of song.

It does that if it can match them, and uploads them if it can't. Downloads on other devices might be 256 kbps AAC either way, so not a backup service.

You cannot officially force an upload, but I would expect there to be some kind of hack for it. If I remember correctly, calling the album "Red Album (sorejan's Version)" actually does the trick.

I haven't tried this myself, but from what I read about it, it's basically a manual sync you have to do which isn't what he was asking about. GPM had a music locker feature, where you'd just upload it once to your account and then you could stream it from anywhere like anything else on the service.

YouTube Music and Apple Music have similar features but they're not nearly as intuitive or convenient as GPM's was.

I believe this also only works if your devices are on the same LAN at some point in time to sync locally.

I've been keeping an eye on https://ibroadcast.com

It fills my use case precisely and has replaced GPM. They host my own library (various upload/sync clients), with a reasonable web/app+offline experience.

it has chromecast support, tag editing and all sorts.

I'm a little concerned how slow they've been to monetise. Free version transcodes to 128kbps, eventual paid offering ("around $3.99 USD per month", currently free) offers original-quality streaming. Not aware of any library or bandwith limitations.

Edit: avert your eyes - their landing page is atrocious but once logged in things are much better

Spotify is actually the only one of the big 3 (Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music) that doesn't have a cloud music locker feature, and it's basically the entire reason I can't use it.

However, both YouTube Music and Apple Music treat your uploaded stuff as second-class citizens to the stuff streamed from their music collection. Which is one of the biggest reasons I miss GPM, since it was much better for that.

YouTube Music has a pretty intuitive music uploading system, though it comes with all the previously mentioned baggage of YTM. With Apple Music you have to upload through Apple Music on a Mac or iTunes on a PC, and it's a real clunky system that usually takes me a bunch of finagling and forcing syncs over and over again until it finally works. So pick your poison

In what way are they second class? I actually feel the opposite way, because I can use only uploaded/matched tracks in apps like Djay, Capo or GarageBand.

First things that come to mind is they don't come up in the default search (you have to manually toggle to a separate search of your library), and also they don't show up in the web player at all.

My only lament is lack of family sharing, other than that it's been seamless for me.

Oh that's unfortunate. I remember when you used to be able to share your whole iTunes library with people over the network, possibly even over the internet?

Apple offers iTunes Match [1], a service that is separate from Apple Music. It is something like $25 a year and does more or less what you're asking for here, especially in conjunction with Apple Music.

[1]: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204146

also itunes match is included in apple music and you can mix and match apple music and match (or local songs and if they are not local), you can also sync these with any device

That’s exactly what Apple Music does, and the article even mentioned.

I switched from GPM to Apple Music and not Spotify because I have a lot of tracks that don’t exist on streaming services. I can have playlists consisting of apple Music songs and my own songs, and get full Siri integration, play on HomePods etc

Hmm around 18-24 months ago I gave Apple Music a try but found there were TONS of tracks from my personal library that the service would not play. Perhaps they’ve improved things since then? I went all-in using Plex as a personal media server since then and while the UI isn’t as nice, it lets me steam my personal library anywhere from any device.

You may have chosen not to subscribe to iTunes Match which is the feature which gives you access to Apple's servers to host all your songs instead of keeping them strictly local. At least that is how I understand it.

I’m pretty positive I did this actually as I recall the ‘match’ service being an additional fee. I was stoked to have a cloud option for my library as I’d been maintaining it for 10+ years and always griping about backups. I recall it working great for tunes I’d purchased from Bandcamp but when it came to tracks which had been in my library for many years (originating from many different sources), they simply didn’t show up in my library. Again- this was around 2 years ago so it’s possible this is no longer an issue.

I’ve since setup a Synology NAS with Plex and it’s mostly great.

You don’t need to subscribe to Match if you’re an Apple Music subscriber.

Why not just run your own streaming service? You're here on hn, so standing up a webserver (or even a Raspberry Pi) is hardly beyond your means presumably. Subsonic [0] appears to be well polished. I've used a FOSS fork called Airsonic [1] previously, though I've played with (and liked) Polaris [2] in the past.

All three would meet your (possibly only) requirement of using your own music, and I wouldn't consider any too difficult to set up.

[0] http://www.subsonic.org/pages/index.jsp

[1] https://airsonic.github.io/

[2] https://github.com/agersant/polaris

+1 for Subsonic, it's nice. I haven't used it extensively, but have had it running now for 1-2 months listening casually without issues.

I operate a service that does this: https://asti.ga/

Happy to answer any questions.

I also wrote up some other example services a while back:

- https://www.blisshq.com/music-library-management-blog/2021/0... (these integrate storage)

- https://www.blisshq.com/music-library-management-blog/2021/0... (these are bring-your-own storage)

You can still upload your own music to Youtube Music. The UI sucks (you have to use entirely separate search boxes to search for uploaded vs. Youtube tracks, and AFAIK you can't edit metadata without downloading and re-uploading files) but it gets the job done.

I put my personal collection on Dropbox and use an app (iOS) called TuneBox that presents it as a streaming music player

Youtube music subscription was supposed to do this, with your previous Google Play library, if you made the transition. Using Google Home devices. I plan to pony up for that someday when things settle a bit for me, so hope I do get this service.

Just checked and they still have my music "stored" waiting for me.

>Does any service like that still exist?


The article mentions this as one the key differentiators between AM and other big music services.

Apple Music does.

It's really a weird merge, I browse youtube and I see the music I like from Youtube Music there because musics are somehow fetched from YT and not from a different place ( like it was on Google music ).

It seems that if the music is officialy available on Youtube, Youtube Music fetch the music from there, if not it's using an internal catalog.

I still pay for it... but only barely. It's a sad shadow of GPM, which was much more to my liking.

If you want to avoid their awful YTMusic web UI there are options. There's a decent, standalone, GUI YTM application for KDE [0] which I've used (sadly it doesn't support logins, but if you just want a player it works well enough).

There's also a plugin for Mopidy [1] that lets you listen through your MPD / snapcast [2] server, but that's more fiddly.

[0] https://apps.kde.org/audiotube/

[1] https://github.com/OzymandiasTheGreat/mopidy-ytmusic

[2] https://github.com/badaix/snapcast

In my experience you can open most all videos categorized as 'music' from YPP creators, but the 'songs' section of search results is effectively the Google Play Music/actually-published songs index.

And vice versa - I'll try to look through my playlists, and I get a mix of my music ones, and my YouTube ones. Just a baffling design choice.

Everything is worse under Youtube Music. Embarrassing product.

I have to disagree. One of the reasons I use YouTube Music is because their search includes all the random music uploaded to youtube.com. This means that a lot of really rare tracks that YTM never received officially from the labels can be integrated into your library. I guess YTM then tries to sort out the royalty issues as they do through youtube.com.

YTM is objectively inferior to GPM in every way except library size and some details that only YouTube/Google have to worry about. The apps are buggy as fuck and have little more than "radio" features and a (crappy) search bar. Playlists are intermingled with youtube video playlists and have no search and only rudimentary sorting, viewing albums is a pain, finding your own music is a minimum of 3 button clicks, and the app flat out does not work half of the time.

I was very happy with GPM, and was a long time user since the beta (7.99/mo intro pricing was also nice). Then they stopped updating GPM and started pushing YTM. It was terrible so I went to Apple Music (at the time it had recently come out), and have been there ever since.

I've been on the same journey. My plan is to self host plex. Cache the music I want, VPN/stream when I want to add more to the cache.

I have Qobuz combined with mpd (there's a plugin). It's not the cheapest but it's decent for what you get and the UI is simple and doesn't get in your way. My only regret is that it doesn't have lyrics AFAIK.

This is what the article is about anyway but I suppose you don't use apple devices so you are not in a position to use Apple Music fully?

It sounds like you might like it, because it can do all that.

I'm not sure about your exact navigation idea but Apple Music has a JS api for web applications as well as "local" OS level API on iOS, so there are blessed third party interfaces. On iOS, there are really polished and customizable full alternative clients like Marvis Pro. On iOS and macOS, you can also "end user program" Apple Music via Shortcuts. I have accomplished a lot with that, building an interface for browsing playlists as album collections, grouping those playlists and workflows for moving stuff between them. On the web it looks more like some toy projects (still full clients tho).

There is the official web app and an android app, but I think you can only get to the full metadata management power on a Mac (because it still caries most of the iTunes legacy there).

Remember Grooveshark?

Grooveshark was better than any other service - including Pandora - at exposing me to music that I wasn't expecting to love but did anyway.

Grooveshark and later Rdio were my favorite music sites ever... best UI and easy to use

Grooveshark and the early years at Last.fm... Gosh I miss those.

YouTube Music is the reason I moved over to self-hosted Jellyfin to host my music collection.

To anyone else who still wants to own their own music, I highly recommend looking at Jriver Media Center. Not free, and it is a bit of a strange application at first. But I find it extremely capable and flexible, and because it is just a player, they have an interest in catering to you instead of the copyright rentiers.

I use it with my main stereo and stream music to network players in other rooms. (It does video stuff too, I don't use any of that.)

No connection to them other than as a happy customer. https://jriver.com/

Where do you source your originals? Bandcamp is my go to, but not all artists publish there. Amazon often has physical CDs and MP3s for artists, but I have not patronized them for such goods (yet).

My process for downloading from Bandcamp, extracting the files, and syncing them to the storage could be automated a bit more I think.

Bandcamp, and for old/obscure things I can't buy elsewhere, SoulSeek.

edit: forgot about discogs.com

Bandcamp and CDs, the best way to get music in proper formats.

Another option is Funkwhale. I've not tried it, but it seems cool.


This is a nice one, too. I just couldn't get it to play nicely with Docker Swarm.

Same here, except I went with a self-hosted Emby server. For me, one of the real valuable features of GPM was the ability to sync playlists and albums locally on my PC or phone. Emby lets me do that, but it infortunately doesn't sync playlists yet. I don't think Jellyfin has any local sync support, though.

Same here, except I went the Plex/Plexamp route. Terrific experience.

> an unlimited virtual store and bring whatever content I want and organize it recursively by tags

Isn't that what Spotify and Pandora are?

I've never used Pandora in a paid mode, so I can't speak to that.

Spotify has some features that map to this, but is way more artist focused than album focused. When you click on an artist, you get the artist's page, and navigating to the albums that you have added by that artist is nearly impossible. That is, there's no way to engage hierarchically -- to say "I want to listen to a Neil Young album that is in my collection". You have to either decide on the album from memory and just find it, or you have to go to the artist and hope that the album you like is one of the "recommended" or "hot" ones by Neil Young.

Create a playlist from the album so that it's in your "collection" (of playlists). That's only way I know how to accomplish.

Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Google Music or whatever now is called. I tried them all. They are all the same to me.

There is one big thing that all these streaming services are missing: *METADATA*

Give me all the album by this label, all the songs produced by X or all the songs where in Y plays drums. All the albums recorded at some studio in the year Z. With tools like this I will spend years (and whatever money) on your service. They will give me unexplored ways to find and listen to new music, totally new meaningful relationships!

Heck, 9 times out of 10 even the album year is all wrong with these services! (I know, all these "remastered" editions from the labels don't help at all).

And they don't even need to build those datasets, they are already there, just ask (or buy out) discogs.com!

I understand Spotify actually has an advanced search (including range queries, lyric match and metadata like labels) but it's not documented well and the app itself doesn't present any options to the user.


Interesting! I never heard about those advanced search tags, at least there's something.


please god, do not buy out discogs and leave it the hell alone.

i already stopped last.fm after CBS ruined it.

I've used every music service and quit for a multitude of reasons. Libraries that "have everything" but manage to be missing albums or have albums takne down all the time, "shuffle" functions that don't work (Spotify), apps that prioritize and shove music in your face that you have no interest in (Tidal), or just being unlucky enough to be owned by some of the shittiest corporations the world has seen since the robber barons (Apple/Google).

The more they get rid of digital music stores, the more i fall back to vinyl.

Streaming sucks.

Have you checked out MusicBrainz [1] as an alternative for Discogs?

They're run by a non-profit [2], which is worth supporting, and a bit hard to "buy out".

[1] https://musicbrainz.org/

[2] https://metabrainz.org/

I, mainly, use Discogs more as a trading platform for vinyl. The fact their meta-data db is phenomenal is an added bonus

I second this. Discogs is amazing in the way that only independent websites can be, and not just as a database (which would be locked up by the buyer, stripped of its more interesting and obscure data and turned into a feature for the buyer’s “platform”), but also as a marketplace.

> apps that prioritize and shove music in your face that you have no interest in (Tidal)

Tidal’s ML algorithm has a pretty strong prior probability set to match their owner’s taste.

However, their recommendations are excellent for other genres once their suggestion algorithm has had time to digest your library and listening habits (about a week or two for me).

Musicbrainz has the most of this kind of information. I often use it to find out where/year the songs from a compilation came from. Wikipedia as well, though it is unstructured.

There are such niche services for classical music. For instance, idagio.com is really excellent with metadata. You see e.g. all works by a performer or all performers of a work.

Hey man. Thanks, just subscribed. Classic music experience always sucked on modern apps. This is the first one that does it right.

Idagio is so good. I sub even though I'm not on it a lot to keep it afloat.

Check out Roon: https://roonlabs.com/features

You can use it with both Tidal and your own music files.

Listing who performed on the album would add so much more value to these services.

Like a song, why not show the performers so that users can what else they worked on. They'll probably like other projects the performer was involved in.

Apple does have little writeups about albums which I like. Nice to have context about what the album is and why it might be worth listening to.

You may enjoy Quod Libet: https://quodlibet.readthedocs.io/en/latest/

Additionally, you might enjoy Jellyfin. While they're not streaming "services", they do have a high focus on metadata driven library exploration.

Much of that data is in these services, in some form, for billing

Too bad that exposing it is likely too “niche” for them to prioritize

I would love to see more of this.

Since this is the "did you know Apple Music actually..." thread: You can at least browse by record label nowadays and it's pretty nice.

The product referred to as "Apple Music" isn't library focused. The app now known as Music and the service known as "iTunes Match" is.

Apple Music is the music as a service subscription that keeps pushing adverts in app and keeps turning itself back on even if you're not subscribed and have turned it off.

All the features of "iTunes Match" are included in Apple Music as long as you have "Sync Library" turned on.

For a while there was a subtle difference in that music uploaded to Apple Music would have DRM applied to it, and iTunes Match would not, but this is no longer the case.

Are you sure? I can’t remember why but I’m subscribed to both. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t play my own music without iTunes match.

I was scared of turning the subscription off, but no, it's fine. My own library is still there. They used to have a terrible matching algorithm for Apple Music, different to iTunes Match, but switched it pretty early on. I've had no issues for a number of years now.

Is DRM applied to iTunes Match too now? That's unfortunate.

No. Just drag a matched track out of the music app or import it in various iOS apps, it's a DRM free AAC file.

Oh wow… If it is, I will probably rethink my subscription. I have uploaded a lot of music I bought in other services or ripped legally from CDs I physically own, adding DRM to things I own feels immoral to me.

Wish there were more alternative mobile OSs and platforms. Apple is getting on my nerves too much lately.

Likewise. IIRC Apple Music is a lot more (3x?) expensive than iTunes Match so not sure if the price increase would be worth it to me. But my thinking it wouldn't track my library was what made Apple Music a nonstarter for me.

lol no, the other way around. Music you upload remains DRM-free.

iTunes Match is a subscription service, right?

Buying individual tracks or entire albums from the iTunes Store gets you DRM-free music files. No?

Yes to both.

I just checked - not so far as I can see.

That's not correct.

iTunes Match, which the author mentions, is responsible for exactly 1 of the features listed:

> Uploading your music to the cloud and streaming them as any other song

Everything else is part of Apple Music, the streaming service: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Music

Since all the apps are just called "Music" anyway (remember the iPod app?) I think it's a difficult distinction to make. It's the Music app by Apple, which has an optional subscription that is also called "Apple Music" verbatim.

Match is just hidden legacy, because the standard subscription includes it's features anyway.

Apps != Services. The Music app is the main front end of Apple Music and iTunes Match, but you absolutely do not require a subscription to them in order to benefit from the app, and vice-versa.

Edit: I think I understand your point better now. I've just learned that Match is not necessary if you already subscribe to Apple Music. I still wouldn't call it legacy though, since you might just want to sync music you own between devices and don't need the rest of the service. In this case, Match is a lot cheaper than Music.

Music-as-a-Service is fantastic as a convenience, and I too have discovered a lot of great music this way, but (a) I all the time want to listen to a record and find it missing from their catalogs; and (b) as with so much else on the web, I'm so over the constant minor psychological drag of knowing that my interactions are being tracked, logged, and gamed.

Music is probably one of the only services where I get value out of being tracked and logged; I listen to enough different artists that it's very easy to lose track of something, and to find myself in a rut of listening to the same 10 artists for weeks on end. One thing Apple Music does pretty well is providing a bunch of different gradually-learning thingies that keep the rotation fresh.

> psychological drag of knowing that my interactions are being tracked, logged

Remember last.fm? We used to track music listens very deliberately to share with the public… Back in the day I had a "minor psychological drag" whenever I listened to something without scrobbling :D

Seems no one else has brought up scrobbling. Especially with Apple Music and some other things brought up not supporting scrobbling.

I still feel this way. Though I also still use Foursquare/Swarm to check in. I also scrobble most of my TV and Youtube. All my podcast listening. I love scrobbling!

(a) was the breaking point for me. I pirated my entire Apple Music library from Soulseek and switched to Plex + Plexamp. Not as convenient for discovery but otherwise superior for me in every way.

I have started switching away from streaming services as well. Thanks for recommending Plexamp. It's awesome.

I had a large enough digital music library pre-streaming services that I've elected to (mostly) keep maintaining my own library/playlists/etc. But I'm honestly not sure what I'd do if I were starting from Square 1. Would I really spend thousands of dollars to purchase songs/albums? Well I'd almost certainly pirate a lot--and TBH a fair bit of my library is Napster copies of previously owned vinyl--but there's still all the organizational effort.

And also TBH for files (and email) in general I used to spend a fair amount of effort filing into hierarchical structures. These days I do a bit of rudimentary sending to an archive folder or tag, delete older stuff (or not), and figure I can find something with search if I really need it. And, if I can't, it probably wasn't worth the effort to do the upfront librarian work anyway.

> all the organizational effort.

Musicbrainz Picard helps a lot with that.

Minor conveniences will destroy the world.

Recently, I found a bunch of mp3 files on an old flash-drive. I copied them to my laptop and played them. After using music services (Pandora, Amazon, Spotify, Google Play, YT Music, etc.), I found the experience to be amazing. I forgot what responsiveness was like when listening to music. I pressed "Next" and, instantly, the next song started playing; no short, but annoying delay. I scrolled through songs to my favorite part, and once again, no delays. There were no commercials. No terrible "suggestions". I didn't feel like someone was watching my every click, every song choice. It was just music, like the good old days of 2009. :)

Reminds me of my WinAmp playlist

Apple is also the only service to get gapless playback right, near as I can tell. Since adding lossless (I care less about "high-res" or "spatial"), they are far and away my favorite.

EDIT: In case anyone is wondering why gapless playback is important, the entire genre of classical music pretty much demands it. Also, anyone who listens to popular music where one track seamlessly leads into another will know how frustrating it is to not be able to stream an album as the artist intended it to be heard.

I've stumbled across some instances where the tracks as uploaded by the recording company had been improperly cut, though, so you can't get the correct playback no matter which service you use or even if you'd actually buy and download the tracks outright.

E.g. the between-tracks material on quite a number of live tracks of Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series (which on the physical CDs is part of the pregap, so it's skipped if you directly navigate to a track, but it's definitively played if you just listen to the album straight through) is currently missing from all official digital releases, even though those bits are definitively part of the appeal of those albums.

I get proper gapless playback in Spotify and have had it for years. To be honest I can't remember a time it didn't work. I listen to quite a lot of classical music and avant-garde music where albums are basically one song divided in multiple tracks, they work seamlessly.

Alas, it still fails to loop Nonagon Infinity seamlessly

Hadn’t heard of that, and I also didn’t know that CDs could reference back to a previous track that way. Also interesting music… cheers!

They can't, it's the music that loops if you play it back with no gaps, which not all CD players will be able to do (it needs to be buffered because of seeking latency). Easy to achieve with local playback from files though.

- Custom Music Artworks

- Custom Artists / Producer / Lyrics description

- Custom rules to ignore songs on random selection

- Custom rules to select equalizer per song

- Folder based navigation

- Smart Folder based playlists

- Uploading your music to the cloud and streaming them as any other song

Nails my reasoning for having stuck to it all this time as well. way easier to include my own (un-published) music, mixtapes/etc that never made it to streaming but that I have mp3s for, album art that I want to swap out, etc.

I do fear that these might all be incidental features and they eventually re-orient to mimic Spotify's approach more closely.

I'm also glad that on Windows I haven't (yet?) been subjected to the splitting up of iTunes into separate music and podcast apps, because I've manually reclassified my collection of various radio comedy show episodes as podcasts in iTunes in order to get the listened/not listened and listening position tracking [1], and from a quick search it seems that on a Mac this is no longer as easily possible with the new Podcast app.

[1] Yes, the latter can be enabled for any track in iTunes, but unfortunately it doesn't work with the solution I'm using for syncing my library to an Android phone, plus I also want the listened/not listened display, which is definitively a Podcast-only feature anyway.

Downloading flac audio files and syncing them to wherever has been working fine for the last 15+N years. I've never felt the need to subscribe to any music service. All the less so if you want a 'library-focused' experience. My method doesn't have shitty UI downgrades, it doesn't remove albums randomly, it doesn't play ads, it doesn't collect my data, it doesn't have compatibility issues, it doesn't have downtime, it doesn't require internet connection, you have full control over all aspects.

The game changer for me: at any point in time if I like the music I’m hearing I pull up my phone, launch shazam, get the music from apple music directly into my library. It’s seamless enough that I don’t see myself going back.

I have used to download mp3s. But it so much easier now to upload my music to YandexMusic and able to listen offline not only uploaded, but any other also.

This is exactly why I started using Apple Music. Some of my music collection isn’t on streaming platforms but Apple Music let’s me host it and stream it in a library right alongside music I don’t “own”.

I also generally like the paradigm of being able to collect streamed music into a library so I can come back to things again and again. Back when I last used Spotify around 2015 I used the starred playlist to do this but it was no substitute for just being able to see a collection of albums. I’m not sure if Spotify’s UX around having a “library” of music had improved since then.

This is why I use Bandcamp.

I don’t trust apple not to change the deal at some point.

Where as with band camp I actually own things.

I mean, I'm 100% with you on Bandcamp being absolutely awesome. But I'm not sure what you mean by this?:

>I don’t trust apple not to change the deal at some point. Where as with band camp I actually own things.

The whole point here though is that the "deal" if you're just doing your own library sync is that it's your own library. Yeah you can listen to Apple Music's streaming stuff too and in that case it could indeed presumably vanish at some point (I don't think it'd be at all about Apple though, it'd be about the actual rights holders, Apple doesn't own the copyright on most[any?] of this stuff). But if one chooses to make their own library the core source of truth, the worst that could happen there would be Apple throwing in the towel on the cloud match stuff. There'd be no more seamless easy sync of libraries between devices in that case (unless they astonished by enabling a selfhost/LAN version of that again) but it's not like you'd lose anything at all. Everything you own you'd still own.

What I love most about Bandcamp is that you can download your music in lossless compression (ALAC/FLAC). It beats lossy compressions every time with the headphones I use.

This is why I find it extremely irritating when non apple users can’t understand why I use apple stuff. On many levels, not just music, they offer things others don’t.

There's something sad to me about the verge article that's linked inside of the hn post (https://www.theverge.com/22684730/students-file-folder-direc...)

There's often a trope that young people are good with computers, but I think this is mostly false. Here some (maybe significant percentage) of college freshman don't know how to save a file?

I keep a copy of my entire music library on my phone and don't use any music service at all. I have over 13,000 songs across over 1200 albums and 500 artists. I don't need to find any more music; there's plenty of good songs in my library that I haven't fully absorbed yet.

iOS or Android? What do you use to listen?

you can't do this on iOS. Even if you could get a phone with a large enough SDcard, natively ... transfering that much to the phone would be prohibitively painful. And one might be tempted to go through that once, but to go through it every time you get a new phone would drive you mad.

I have a 500GB card in my android and have 70% of my digital collection on it. I, also, make the card the primary destination for my photo/videos from my camera. I have my own home-grown backup solution. A mix of my own backup solution combined with the SDcard means i never have to rely on cloud services to my music, nor to backup my valuable files.

But this chapter in my life is coming to a close as phones increasingly take away sdcards.

Eventually my phone will fall back to just being my phone again. Because i refuse to use their services to replace functionality they took away.

I use PowerAmp music player. It's the most full features player out there that's got a good deal of polish to it, IMHO.

> you can't do this on iOS

I beg your pardon?

First of all, a nitpick:

> Even if you could get a phone with a large enough SDcard, natively

...iPhones don't use SD cards for storage. They never have. They have internal flash storage.


With that out of the way: I have a 10,000 song collection that I sync to my iPhone. It's only about 60GB of music. iPhones come with up to 512GB of internal storage, and there's an option when syncing your music to convert higher-bitrate music to 128kbps (or 192 or 256kbps, your preference) AAC files. I guarantee you, a library the size of hasbot's will fit on an iPhone with no problem.

I have no idea where you get the idea that you can't fit a decent-sized music library on an iPhone. Maybe you're one of those who believes that only lossless audio is worth listening to, and didn't consider that that's a niche opinion...?

> I have a 10,000 song collection that I sync to my iPhone. It's only about 60GB of music.

How exactly do you sync to your phone? I've been using an iPhone for the last 3 or 4 years and I entirely gave up on the concept of having my own music on my iPhone as I used to do on Android.

First issue: I have to deal with iTunes to sync and organize my music on my iPhone. I still haven't drink the full kool-aid of apple and thus still use windows as my personal PC. I refuse to use iTunes, I have a powerful pc that can run the latest games and this absolute piece of crap of a software still manage to freeze syncing large quantities of files.

Second issue: I have tons of FLACs that I need to convert to whatever the hell iOS wants as the default file AAC, ALAC, I can't even remember. So now I have to duplicate my music library to fit iOS / Everybody else.

Third issue: My ridiculously expensive iPhone still manage to transfer files using USB 2.0 speeds. Whereas my 4(?) years old android had USB-C and happily managed to transfer my entire library in no time.

Sorry for the rant but this issue is my biggest regret from buying an iPhone.

There’s an option in iTunes to sync entire library, in the phone music page.

It takes a while to tx 100+ gb, sure, but you do it once when you get the phone and after that you just move diffs.

It’s not perfect - I get errors from time to time saying music I have isn’t available in my region. Fix is a resync of those songs that got lost.

This is one of those go with the flow situations… the cost is dealing with iTunes, the benefit is carrying around all the music you’ve collected over the years in your pocket.

There may be some non iTunes methods that work as well, I’ve never looked into it.

>and after that you just move diffs.

Until you get a new phone.

>the cost is dealing with iTunes, the benefit is carrying around all the music you’ve collected over the years in your pocket.

I have this benefit without iTunes. I get to keep the 30% or so of my collection that is in FLAC, don't have to use 3rd party software for transfer (as any OS's file manager will do) and when i get a new phone i merely swap the SDcard.

>512GB of internal storage

That you have to share with photos/videos, apps, downloads, and everything else.

>syncing your music to convert higher-bitrate music to 128kbps (or 192 or 256kbps, your preference) AAC files.

Yeah, see - this isn't really your music collection then but reliance on Apple's Library and them "matching it" with what they have. I could never sync from their library b/c their library wouldn't have huge chunks of my actual digital collection.

I have hip hop mixtapes, Grateful Dead livesets, local artists who never had a major record deals (Fighting Gravity and a variety of punk bands), EDM live sets, and tons of stuff not in the Apple/iTunes Library they could never do anything with.

Secondly, like 30% of my collection is in FLAC, which Apple doesn't even support.

>I have no idea where you get the idea that you can't fit a decent-sized music library on an iPhone.

Because my music library is:

Server: $ du -sh Music/

905G Music/

Phone: 305GB ( i recently purged a ton to make space for videos/pictures )

Even if i was dealing with 60GB and even if i could rely on what was in their library - pulling down 60GB to a phone is painful. It takes me literal SECONDS to swap and SDcard from one phone to another as opposed to hours over WiFi.

Nevermind on android i can move files via ftp, smb, or any number of protocols. Even over the wire - it's plug and play. Copy and paste through any Windows, Mac or Linux file manager.

Thus, I don't have to rely on apple's crappy proprietary music apps to move files over a network or even a USB/lightning cable.

>Maybe you're one of those who believes that only lossless audio is worth listening to, and didn't consider that that's a niche opinion...?

No. I have a lot that's 320K mp3s. In fact, the grand majority of it is. Maybe 5-10% of my collection is worse quality than that. Virtually nothing is at 128k or worse. I typically stay away from Apple specific formats, lossless or not, regardless of their benefits.

> Yeah, see - this isn't really your music collection then but reliance on Apple's Library and them "matching it" with what they have.

What? You just transfer your files directly, exactly as you could with an ancient iPod or whatever.

if i bought files from 7Digital or HDTracks - then how do i sync FLAC files to devices?

If there's no "file matching" service - how does the OP i'm responding to "upgrade" the sound quality of the files on the device?

> Yeah, see - this isn't really your music collection then but reliance on Apple's Library and them "matching it" with what they have. I could never sync from their library b/c their library wouldn't have huge chunks of my actual digital collection.

Nope. This is 100% false. You may be mixing up "sync your library from your computer to your iPhone" with "sync your library from your computer to iCloud," which are completely separate things.

I have a local music library the core of which goes back to about 1997. I have never subscribed to Apple Music, iTunes Match, or any of the other music subscription services. I synced portions of it to various iPods and early iPhones, and several years ago when iPhones with large enough internal storage to affordably sync the whole thing, I've kept it all on my iPhone as well.

> I typically stay away from Apple specific formats, lossless or not, regardless of their benefits.

AAC is not an Apple-specific format. It's an industry standard (MP4 audio); it just never gained quite as wide acceptance as MP3.

Does PowerAmp have any streaming ability? Seems simple enough to drop that library onto a cheap home server and be your own streaming service once SD cards are completely gone.

It has a "streams" function. I've never used it.

I've heard good things about airsonic (https://airsonic.github.io/). I used SubSonic before and i just didn't like the clients that connected to it. AirSonic is based on SubSonic but there's supposedly a bunch of improvements.

Android. I use GoneMAD Music Player 2.3.2 (the rewritten 3.0.X version is a buggy mess with no new useful features), but really any music player will do.

Apple Music is library focused if you have very simple requirements and if your "library" was created, or coincident with, the iTunes ecosystem.

The OP notes "Folder based navigation" and "... Folder based playlists" but note the use of the word "folder" and not "directory".

Take a look at this dialog box:


... and note all of the fine-grained ways to sort by ... but also note that the most basic attribute of all (filename) is missing.

I am not sure for whom iTunes and its interface is optimized for but I do know that any sane way I could imagine of moving my music onto an iPhone is totally impossible.

I don't think it's fair to say that it only works for simple library situations. I happily tend to a large and intricate library with it.

You just need to give up on real files and folders. If you want the fusion of library focus and streaming service, they don't make sense anyway. iTunes is going to take over all management of the filesystem. You just have to surrender all that, than it can be very powerful.

If you actually wanted to migrate, you could copy the filename into the comment tag on the way in, but that seems dirty.

Help me understand how filename is useful in a way that other metadata doesn’t already cover, please.

Somewhat niche, but in the electronic music genre (house, techno, trance etc.) albums and single tracks are a rare thing. People mostly listen and consume DJ livesets/-mixes, and using filenames & folders to organize is basically the way to go. It is very difficult to come up with any sane metadata system, let alone that all music players are unable to cope with that kind of music collection. Public metadata databases like Musicbrainz etc. are not a thing there, and sets are usually not commercially sold - so all metadata would also have to be manually entered.

In case anybody wonders about the (legal) sourcing, in most parts of Europe it is still perfectly legal to record radio stations, locally download from Youtube/Soundcloud etc. and even share/copy with close friends and family. And the market for livemixes is huge in the youtube era, see productions from Cercle, Boiler Room etc.

I don't understand, why can't the DJ be the artist and the filename be the track title? Isn't that roughly how SoundCloud works?

Well as said, you mostly will have to do the metadata assignments - and what is it good for, if DJ name + title are already in the filename? If you do exactly as you suggest, Apple Music i.e. would always show a single album for the same DJ, even if you have 50+ sets. Also way more important is the year of the set, often you want them ordered by date of recording.

"Help me understand how filename is useful in a way that other metadata doesn’t already cover, please."

If your "music library" is post-iTunes then it isn't that useful - you have compressed media files with metadata embedded in them.

However if your music library is older than itunes and consists of lossless WAV/PCM files there is no metadata. There is only the filename.

> However if your music library is older than itunes and consists of lossless WAV/PCM files there is no metadata. There is only the filename.

So putting your music on an iPhone isn't impossible. It just means that you would have to take the time to add metadata to the existing files (and possibly first converting them to a lossless format that supports metadata--I'm guessing PCM does not).

That sounds like a situation iTunes/Apple Music is completely unfit for. I think foobar2000 was able to manage that kind of thing? You gotta see that it's a niche situation, not something that even most people who seriously care about their library do.

What happens when you drag one of those files into Music? It doesn’t use the filename as the track name? That’s my recollection of how iTunes used to work with naked music files, but I haven’t tried it with the Music app.

isn't "sort name" exactly what you're looking for? I would assume it's the title of the track (or file) but with "the" and the like stripped out.

Yes, it's the title - but not the filename.

WAV/PCM files don't have metadata.

There is no id3/tag data. They do not have a "title" nor do they have anything else. That's a problem if your music library predates iTunes and iDevices.

Your WAV files don't have metadata, but WAV absolutely supports metadata.


> WAV files can be tagged with metadata in the INFO chunk. In addition, WAV files can embed any kind of metadata, including but not limited to Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) data[25] or ID3 tags[26] in extra chunks.

That aside: why are you using WAV when there are mature, open lossless compression formats like FLAC?

FLAC is supported in iOS since v11, in Android since Honeycomb, and I'm able to listen to FLAC on a Mac running the now-ancient High Sierra release via the finder's quicklook, or iTunes. I don't think I installed a plugin, but I could be wrong.

This. Funny how "WAVs don't have metadata" has become such a meme. What is really meant is "software doesn't support WAV metadata". This has changed over the past five years or so, though.

I prefer to buy, not rent music. Bandcamp is good for it and they sell FLAC. This is also fitting comparison to cassettes library a lot more than Apple Music where it's not your library, but Apple's.

Other stores like 7digital are also good.

You can buy DRM free files from Apple. So the file is yours, transferrable, but you also can always go back and get another copy from Apple.

The combination of the iTunes Store, Apple Music, and iTunes Match is the most expansive music service offering I can think of.

iTunes won't even play FLAC files, so it's rather inconvenient for people with existing libraries. Yes I know I could convert it all to some proprietary Apple format, but it's easier to just not buy an iPhone.

Not from Apple Music though? I thought it's rent only. iTunes sells files, yes.

I still prefer stores that sell FLAC. Apple's aversion to common open audio formats always irritated me.

Apple Music is the streaming service.

The iTunes Store is the "purchase the file" store.

The iTunes Store sells M4A, which is a common open audio format.

The iTunes Store does not, however, sell lossless files, as far as I know. Apple Lossless (ALAC) is only available when streaming from Apple Music.

I prefer to buy lossless formats. For playback I can encode them in Opus. M4A is not a proper open format, it's patent encumbered.

The patents on AAC-LC (which is all that really matters when encoding at medium to high bitrates, and that very much applies to the files sold by the iTunes store, too) should have expired by now, given that it dates from 1997, and indeed Fedora has been including an AAC-LC encoder since late 2017.

Apple Music is DRM yes (it can be de-DRMed though fairly easily), purchased music from iTunes is DRM free.

I guess it's not just me: It is confusing. I thought there were two ways to get music from Apple but apparently there are at least 3.

One of which gives you re-downloadable DRM-free files.

There's only two ways. Apple Music (streaming) and iTunes Store.

iTunes Match lets you "upload" your library to Apple. It matches your library against Apple's catalog. If they have the song, you get a copy of their version of the song. If it doesn't have a match, they retain your uploaded file.

I have a lot of random local music that isn't on iTunes, and which you can't easily find anymore. For years, I was paranoid about losing my ripped copies of the files, but iTunes Match has preserved them for me, in the cloud, for years now.

Thanks :)

From the article: > Uploading your music to the cloud and streaming them as any other song

You can purchase music from Bandcamp and upload it to your apple collection. I bought an album from Bandcamp today.

This one feature may get me to switch to Apple Music

I'm considering taking a break from spotify premium and I'm wondering what the cheapest way to buy music is these days. It seems like buying and ripping used cd's might actually be the way to go. Of course you don't get FLAC that way.

Ripping audio CDs would be equivalent to FLAC quality. Make sure to rip them to FLAC or any other lossless format of course.

There are a bunch of stores that sell FLAC that I use:

* https://bandcamp.com

* https://us.7digital.com

* https://store.tidal.com

* https://www.junodownload.com

* https://www.prestomusic.com

* https://www.prostudiomasters.com

Can't comment on prices, I didn't really do a comprehensive analysis.

What? Ripping CDs is one of the best ways to get a high-quality FLAC.

Oh, I guess I didn't really know what FLAC was lol. cool!

I ripped my Apple Music library and switched to Plex (listening via plexamp - also looked at Jellyfin with finamp) because I thought Apple music was pushing music completely outside of my tastes (and particularly American centric) and was becoming too antagonistic to personalization and libraries.

I think I prefer finding music and musicians 'the hard way'. When you have 'everything' the urge to find new things disappears at least in my opinion. I now buy a lot of music, mostly on bandcamp and I even subscribe to a few artists monthly. I find this experience far more rewarding but to each there own.

"Add to Library" is a joke, there's nothing stopping them from deleting things at will. Sometimes they stay around but wont play, other times the magically disappear forever.

It's insanity producing.

I've had so many of my favorite tracks disabled/gone this way. :(

I use Plex to stream my local music library. The "Plexamp" client player is, well, buggy as hell, but it mostly works, and will transcode on the fly if it needs to.

As a bonus it works for videos too.

As TFA mentions: Plex is a wonderful service, if obtaining your own music isn't a problem for you. It's actually gotten a lot better since the days when the UI would become unresponsive with a mere few thousand songs. And Plexamp's radio features are great, as is the Tidal integration for those songs that I don't yet have locally. I have mine configured to prefer local tags over Plex's data, and I tag/organize everything with MusicBrainz Picard to ensure accuracy.

The more I use a streaming music service like Spotify, the more new music I find, but the shorter my musical memory becomes.

I put music I like in playlists that I listen to in reverse order by date added. As a result, I form pretty strong associations between my playlist songs and times in my life, down to about the week.

It’s pretty cool being able to scroll through my playlists and essentially have a journal of memories.

I assume no one else does this, because relatively few services consistently enable that kind of sort, and none that I’m aware of allow you to edit the “date added” field in the playlist data.

(This is a disguised plea for help and/or for Apple Music engineers to enable editing of playlist data - I won’t switch services if it means losing my memory journal/playlist)

that's exactly how I used "Liked Songs" on Spotify, unfortunately Apple Music doesn't do this and I've had to create a playlist to achieve this.

I believe memory formation is aided by multi-sensory perceptions. The experience of going somewhere to buy a CD, unwrapping it, opening it, putting it in a specific player at a certain time of the day, getting up to hit the next track button… this is a much richer set of experiences that form a much tighter web of recollection than just the audio alone. These experiences may all be totally mundane or even tiresome, but they help cement the memory of the music.

This is why you remember something more if you write it down - you get not just the memory of a fact but also the tactile experience of holding a pencil, feeling the paper, of an aching wrist…

Passively streaming someone else’s (or an algorithm’s) choice of music in the background is probably the worst possible way to build music memory because you don’t even have the association of choosing or even reading the track title.

Ritual serves a purpose.

I don't know about all that - I can easily look back at my music library and browse through what I listened to 2 years ago. That is nearly impossible on Spotify (I assume on purpose).

If you consistently like/heart songs as you go along, put your Liked Songs list on shuffle sometime - you'll find great old gems!

This hardly works at all for me. Spotify will happily shuffle the most recent 75-100 songs on my Liked Songs list, but something from 2012? Forget about it.

I thought I was just imagining this behavior. Humans are bad at 'random', but I swear when I randomly play my 300+ song playlist, I tend to hear the same 20-40 songs over a couple hours.

I do this! It's great, but discoverability/brows-ability is lost.

Until they're not anymore. Let's get off this stupid ride, we don't need big centralized services to tell us how to consume the content we're ostensibly paying for.

Navidrome on a home server, hooked up to a big ol hardrive, ultrasonic on your phone connected to navidrome (offlining supported), support artists you really like by buying their shit off bandcamp, rip everything else cause let's be honest these artists aren't seeing stream money anyway.

People will gripe and complain about how much "work" it is to maintain these things, but let's be real: every single person in here has at least one friend who'd be willing to host something like this for them. What it comes down to is that we're in the habit of relying on big tech companies rather than the folks around us. But habits can be broken.

You're incredibly wrong, but in a very classic way: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9224

I'm a senior engineer, and a pretty technical geek. I'm also plenty social, and am that one techie friend for a lot of non-technical people and field regular "Hey what kind of <> should I buy", or "Can you help me configure <>".

I've never heard of Navidrome or Ultrasonic.

Could I figure it out in 30 minutes of googling or reading? Sure. But the point is that these concepts are not nearly as ubiquitous as you might think.

I'm also not interested in hosting a music server for my friends, and dealing with all the tech support concerns that would come with it.

I'm not sure what your link is supposed to demonstrate.

> I'm also not interested in hosting a music server for my friends, and dealing with all the tech support concerns that would come with it.

I didn't say _you_ are. I said someone you know is. We do exist, if you care to ask around.

What if you paid someone else to host the music server for you and all your friends? Oh... Wait.

Bandcamp all the way. Their revenue share is extremely fair, their site is tasteful and functional, and they've been blessing the world with flac since their beginning.

Apple Music isn't as library-focused as I would like it to be. Or perhaps the better term for what I'm talking about is "album-focused." I hate that when I add a playlist to my library, every single track in that playlist causes its album to show up in the Albums list and that artist to show up in the Artists list. This makes the Artists list essentially useless for browsing, because there are hundreds of artists that I've never heard of because they had a single track in some playlist that I added to my library. I can understand why it works this way, but boy is it frustrating. I would love to have a manually-curated set of albums (viewable by album name or by artist) totally separate from the ability to add playlists to my library.


I’m not sure if this solves your issue but you can uncheck ‘add songs to library’ then only songs/albums that you actually add to your library show up and others only live in playlists!

Oh, that’s super interesting! I see the setting and I’ll check if it solves my issue (it sounds like it does). I wonder if this setting got introduced or changed in the last year or two, because I don’t remember having the problem before that.

This setting is going to change your life (maybe hyperbole...). It's one of the things that makes me really appreciate Apple Music.

With this setting, and an interface that can group playlists by album and filter them by artist, you can get as many additional "virtual libraries" as you want, kinda like Twitter lists. Remember you can also put playlists themselves into folders and create dynamic playlists.

You can assemble music for various situations or events, manage things like "planning to check out" etc without polluting your core library.

If you want to go deep on this and use iOS, check out Marvis Pro also.

Yeah, this is great, although it’s going to be a big effort to go clean out my library from all this time I had the setting wrong!

How do you view a playlist organized by artist or album? Does that require Marvis Pro?

It‘s possible in the mac Music app. On iOS, it requires an app like that. Before I knew about Marvis, I had build out a system to navigate album playlist via Shortcuts.

Having recently upgraded to Catalina (I've been running Mojave for quite some time now!) I somehow completely missed the boat that iTunes is gone and has been replaced with Music. Apparently the functionality of iTunes has been split between Finder (sync iPhone, rip CDs) and Music.

Music had all my iTunes purchases (good), but none of my albums I'd legally ripped from my CDs. Long story short, I had to import the library. At least all the music is there and I can play everything. The frustrating thing is some of the album artwork has been lost - even though they're there in the library that was imported!

On my iPhone I use a music player called Plum. I love it. I wish something similar existed for MacOS.

Wow, that sounds super annoying. What version of macOS did you upgrade from?

As long as Music remains the only Mac app with "OK" and "Cancel" buttons on the Preferences window, iTunes lives!

And Podcasts have been split off into a different app, too, which no longer allows manually adding files as "podcasts", even though I find that very useful when adding episodes of radio shows in order to get the nice visual listened/not listened tracking of episodes. (Plus due to the way I'm syncing iTunes with my Android phone, classifying a track as a podcast is the only way the get the music player on my phone to remember the listening position for that track).

At least on Windows we've been spared this splitting up of iTunes so far, though I wonder for how much longer…

I run Plex (with plexamp) and buy music from:

- Basecamp

- Direct artist websites

- 7digital

- HDTracks

Almost everything I've bought (tens of albums) are FLAC and sound great. I also feel great supporting artists better than my Spotify subscription is able to.

I was tempted by this too, but the cost of buying everything I'd want would be in the thousands. If I only bought a core 20-30 albums then maybe a few hundred dollars.

Also I have Apple One for my wife and I, which comes with Apple Music, Fitness, 2TB iCloud, Apple TV, etc., for AUD$40/month (I think?) which is hard to ignore price wise.

I know that cancelling a subscription based music service and buying the albums would have a long term net saving of money, and I can easily afford to drop $4-5k on music right now, it seems counter intuitive.

Ah basecamp, I can collaborate with my team using music :p

I can't praise Plex enough. Life changing. I've accumulated so much media over the years it was becoming a hassle to manage.

Had been a die-hard Spotify user since it launced but was so aggrevated with podcasts being presented using the same method behind foie gras.

Apple Music stood out as the obvious choice (iPhone and OSX user) and I have not looked back since I migrated last summer. Their way of structuring also made more intuitive sense - can't really pin point why.

Also, a really nice plus that AM offers true lossless for free (yes, I have proper external equipment for listning and not just AirPods Pro lol).

Since I don't listen to much music on my phone, I've actually taken in a step further: my Apple Music local library music files are stored in a .sparsebundle on my NAS. I wrote a little Obj-C app to automatically mount and unmount that sparsebundle when I open and close Apple Music (née iTunes) on MacOS. This prevents the sparsebundle from becoming corrupted, as they tend to do.

Then, I use that same little Obj-C app to detect when I'm away from home and open a VPN connection to my NAS's network. So, wherever I am, I can stream music on my laptop from my local library.

After doing this for a few years instead of paying for Apple Music, it has already saved the cost of the NAS and its hard drives.

I salute all companies/services that have made managing music a thing of the past (Apple is up there as the catalyst back in early 2000s). For next to nothing, I can listen to any song ever recorded without having to worry about where to keep them, back them up, etc.

I used to have a 3K song collection in FLAC which I had curated and spent a gazzilion $$$ on. I `rm -Rf`ed it in a heartbeat when Apple introduced lossless streaming.

I have learnt that maintaining a music library (even on a cloud service) is an absolute, utter waste of time. YMMV.

For me, having a local music library is doubly as important because I am often out of reliable cell service. I usually rip CDs to my iPhone, but as of yet I have avoided paying for any music services. I generally prefer to own my music rather than rely on pulling it down from somebody's server, not to mention that streaming audio uses significant battery on a mobile device.

I use YT music when I have reliable internet and I want to listen to something I don't own.

I'm in my late 30s and nostalgic listening have taken up most of my listening time. turning into my dad basically. zero regrets though.

Apple Music is close to perfect. When you find the right Apple Music 1 show and show playlist for you it’s incredible.

I wish there was an API so I could write a DJ bot that would allow my Discord to queue and play tracks in an audio channel.


Maybe this MusicKit web api could help your Discord bot project!


It was a sad day when Rdio was bought by Pandora and shutdown. They were the best.

I wish apple music would directly support Sonos Streaming, i'd switch over from Spotify in a heartbeat if they did Sonos direct like Spotify does.

Not switching everything to apple play..

I did some research a while ago, and there was basically only Apple Music combined with iTunes Match that could work for me: lots of music in my library already.

>Uploading your music to the cloud and streaming them as any other song

This is the reason I switched from Spotify to Apple Music. It’s just such a convenient feature.

I don't think any of these things play my flacs either. Never been enamored of monthly payments as well so am unsurprisingly not a fan.

Is there a library-focused video streaming service?

Maybe Plex?

Plex and its father KODI are very good for local. There are plugins for external stuff. But the quality is kind of random and subject to the whims of whatever SaaS they are scraping.

Amazon Music has a library too.

It's an under represented service IMO and a top contender in the space of streaming.

edit: spelling.

no it's not, they are all the same

is OP trying to pump his portfolio? that's what he meant by "library focused"?

Plex is a great local service for a library focused approach.

> This article explains how students do not follow the same organization paradigm based on folders and local file management. This could be, in part, attributed to the new ways young students learn, which is on online first operating systems or tablets, where by default, the local system is hidden and also where everything is done through applications.

For me it was because I realized that the time I spent doing this had exactly zero benefit. At least to me.

This quote comes off as somewhat elitist. If someone hasn't developed the same workflow as you, that doesn't mean they are less informed or skilled.

I was recently at an office where there were a dozen or so student workers studying for a test that required them to print out some things to bring.

The buildings internet was out, and not a single one of them realized you could save a file (while connected to cellular data) and then connect to wifi and print it.

They had only ever been taught to print directly from apps.

Sometimes it does mean they're less informed and skilled.

> This quote comes off as somewhat elitist.

At least out of context, I don't see any judgement words in the quoted text to suggest one way is better than the other.

It's a bit like saying "people put food in their fridge and take it out, without ever stopping to check if the refrigerant is still working. This might be because they didn't grow up with having to refill the ice box."

It is not elitist. Really: it is just a guy trying to find an explanation to something that gets his attention. There is no adjective in it.


I’m sorry if it appeared that way, it was quite difficult for me to covey properly my thoughts on this subject.

I wanted to portray that it just makes sense that music software isn’t made that way anymore since a lot of people do not follow that kind of paradigm anymore.

I don’t think there is only one good answer about how to tackle music software.

I hope my answer cleared this up!

Hi op,

Based on some other comments I think the elitist remark is uncalled for in this situation. Looking again, you were neutral on it. I just assumed it was meant negatively.

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