More Predictions of 2012 Being the Year of Music Streaming

On one of my computers in the office, I’m set up with Rdio and Slacker.  I also have a trial account of Spotify (Don’t ask how I got it.  Suffice it to say that it’s completely legal, unspoofed and granted to me by Spotify UK.)  I like all of them.  A lot.

I’ve been preaching about how the world is moving away from possessing music to being able to access it. If you can get whatever song you want, whenever you want it from wherever you are on whatever device you happen to have, it’s not necessary to own the files or the physical goods, is it?  

Yes, yes, many people will still buy CDs and tracks from iTunes or wherever.  I certainly will.  But I won’t have to buy ALL the music I want to hear.  I’ll purchase the stuff I really like from artists I really want to support.  The rest can be accessed under my subscription plans.  For ten dollars a month, it’s all I can eat. That’s less than the price I pay for most of my CDs.  And I buy a dozen or more CDs a month.

There’s more streaming coming, too.  Deezer has yet to make its way into North America and HMV will launch a streaming service in March.  Combine tandem growth in smartphone penetration and in-dash connectivity in cars and you’ve got way of access pretty much all the world’s music on your terms anywhere and anytime.

Take a look at this webinar.  It’s pretty good.

 

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “More Predictions of 2012 Being the Year of Music Streaming

  • January 4, 2012 at 8:26 pm
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    I apologise for being long-winded…this is the short version, where I've cut out many of the annoying steps and things I'd tried in between.

    —–

    I'd been using last.fm merrily for a long time at $3/mth. I liked the radio format, customised selection and recommendations it would provide for me. It also played nicely with the various clients I had … desktop web browser, my old xbox running XBMC, Foobar2000, etc. I was a little miffed that they'd pulled the BlackBerry app, but I didn't really want to run up a bill mobile streaming anyway.

    Then I got an Android phone. I knew I had a long walk coming up and my ipod battery was dead, so I threw the last.fm app onto it. Once on the walk I just could not figure out how to make the damn thing play music. When I got home and Google'd it, I discovered that last.fm isn't licensed to stream music to mobile devices in Canada.

    First there's the constant "Canada" factor screwing up our media consumption, but worse, why the hell is there a legal distinction between streaming to my PC or to my phone? They're bloody IP packets one way or the other. Totally absurd.

    So I started looking into alternatives. One was rdio because of your frequent mentions. Okay, $5/mth not so bad for access to anything… but that suddenly doubles to $10 for "mobile streaming" for chrissakes. Okay, $120 a year isn't terrible if it meant I wasn't buying any more music, but in reality that wasn't going to happen. (The remastered Smashing Pumpkins albums are effing fantastic by the way.)

    Then finally I discovered SubSonic. This is a little server I can run on my computer, and it mostly sets itself up automatically. (I had to change the port is uses by default because Rogers/TekSavvy apparently block port 80).

    With SubSonic I can access my entire music collection from anywhere, both to stream or download if necessary. I listen to random albums on my work computer with the web player. I have an app that streams it to my phone. It will also automatically transcode the music to keep bandwidth use low on mobile data. It's clever enough to preload however many tracks I set so that I can start it at home over wifi, walk to the subway, and music continues playing while I'm underground on the way to work.

    I like last.fm for exposing me to different music, but frankly I get far better recommendations from word of mouth. I have a massive ripped music collection and it's far more useful to me this way.

    The only caveat I'll add though is that I've started reripping my albums in FLAC because of it. MP3 sounds good enough to me usually, but MP3s transcoded to lower bitrates sound far worse to me than FLAC to MP3.

    Reply
  • January 5, 2012 at 1:30 am
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    @Mark A. thanks for the tip, think I'm going to try this out. Hoping it will work well from a dynamic IP, but if it works well enough, it might be worth paying my ISP the $5 a month for a static IP.

    Reply
  • January 5, 2012 at 1:51 am
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    Yes! Great tip. Thanks.

    Reply
  • January 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm
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    @Aaron You can actually experiment with a custom URL to work with your dynamic IP in the form of http://username.subsonic.org, and if you make a one-time donation it will be permanent.

    You should never have to pay for a static IP though. There are all sorts of services out there that will give you a free domain name that always points to your changing IP. I use this one personally: http://www.no-ip.com. You should see what your router supports updating automatically if you know how to configure it. (Look for a "DDNS" section or something like that. Also note that dyndns.com used to be the most popular, but now only offers a paid service.)

    Reply

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