No, no they can't take that away from me!
June 17, 2016 9:22 AM   Subscribe

In light of iTunes "disappearing" chunks of my playlist (several selections of which I bought from them), I'm switching allegiance to Pandora. I much prefer the variety, and honestly, I was getting wearing of the same ol' 500-plus tunes on my playlist.

The only way I can guarantee that my playlist won't vaporize is by downloading from my own collection, and that of the public library's. I would like to download all of my music c.d.s onto my computer (and thus, onto my playlist) so between that and Pandora I should be musically satisfied. I want to then sell or give away my music c.d.s which are taking up space.
My fear:
Pandora is owned by men in suits, so what's my assurance that they can't screw with my stations and, in the future, decide that I can no longer have access to certain artists? Anything can happen, I know, but assure me as best you can.
posted by BostonTerrier to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
Sorry, can't assure you there. This is streaming music we're talking about. If you want to guarantee that you can listen to your music, you need it on your hard drive somewhere - you need to manage the files yourself.
posted by destructive cactus at 9:26 AM on June 17, 2016 [15 favorites]

If you're looking for a way to access actual files of your music that you own and store locally to have access to any time you want, Pandora is not what you want.

(Frankly, even your vision of not being limited to x number of songs over and over forever is a bit misguided with Pandora, because there is a limited selection of music available, you can't decide what specific song or album you feel like listening to right now, and, yeah, when you set up a playlist you do eventually tend to get the same songs over and over. Not to mention that the "men in suits" at Pandora can 100% mess with your stations, because they're the ones that created your stations in the first place and if George Clinton disappears from the Funk rotation forever, that's just what it is.)

I think Spotify might be more like what you're looking for, but it's still streaming music ultimately beholden to business deals with different artists and now owned by you in a local file sense.
posted by Sara C. at 9:40 AM on June 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you want to listen to whatever song whenever you want, you want Spotify or Google Play Music (I personally prefer the latter) but all of the caveats that the other posters have pointed out apply there as well.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:42 AM on June 17, 2016

(Pandora is more like radio on the Internet, you pick a station but not which songs you want within that station)
posted by Itaxpica at 9:58 AM on June 17, 2016

Given that no independent streaming music service is profitable you should probably be just as concerned that they will simply cease to exist. Also, if you happen to be an Amazon Prime member you are already paying for Prime Music, which as a free add-on isn't too bad. More choice and control than Pandora, less breadth of coverage than Spotify.
posted by COD at 10:05 AM on June 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

It does sound like you might like Google Music - you can upload the music you already own to their service (I'd go ahead and rip your CDs to your computer to do this) and then stream it wherever/re-download it. That's free. There's also a Spotify-esque subscription service (Google Play Music), so you can play tracks you didn't already own for a flat monthly fee. Both integrate and offer radio-type options, as well.
posted by R a c h e l at 10:09 AM on June 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you bought something from iTunes and it is no longer on your computer, you should be able to download it again for free.
posted by soelo at 10:18 AM on June 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

Also there's an acknowledged problem with missing content that may be resolved by restoring a previous version of the library file.
posted by fedward at 10:41 AM on June 17, 2016

I know you know this, but it helps to remember that "the cloud" is just other people's computers. Anything you store there is vulnerable to being messed with or deleted, even if it's encrypted. Similarly, any proprietary file format or scheme is perpetually at the mercy of whoever owns it.

My approach is that I generally still buy CDs, rip them to my hard drive in lossless format, and back that up to an external hard drive. That's pretty secure overall, and I keep the CDs stored in boxes as backup backup. (Technically, you're not supposed to keep your backups after you sell the physical media, but lots of people do.) I put some of it on the cloud, but not as my primary form of storage.

Ultimately, if you want to make sure the music you want is always there, you need to store it yourself in a format that's not tied to a specific service or device, whether you buy it in digital format or on physical media.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:08 AM on June 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

> iTunes "disappearing" chunks of my playlist (several selections of which I bought from them)

This is a problem, absolutely, and it shouldn't have happened. But there are ways to fix it. If you've bought the music from Apple, as long as you can sign into the buyer Apple ID, you can always re-download the tracks and have them on your hard drive.

> I'm switching allegiance to Pandora.

This is not a solution to your problem! You are only buying the right to listen to whatever selection Pandora chooses (or has available) to stream to you, and they can't make any guarantees about content.

> I much prefer the variety.

Ok, sure, that's fine. But that has nothing to do with iTunes or Apple Music.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:50 PM on June 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you bought something from iTunes and it is no longer on your computer, you should be able to download it again for free.

In my experience, this hasn't always been proven to be true. Especially for music purchased during the DMCA era.
posted by missmerrymack at 7:11 PM on June 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think you would be happy with Spotify. For $10/mo you get unlimited streaming of damn near any song or album that you've ever - or never -heard, and you can also download as many to your phone as will fit for listening offline, plus playlist and radio features. It's kind of amazing, and almost certainly too good to last but for now I find it totally worth it. I believe you can try it free for a month.
posted by STFUDonnie at 7:51 PM on June 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

(Just as a side note, the DMCA has been in force for the entire iTunes era, and is unrelated to the TOS that govern your relationship with Apple and your ability to redownload music.)
posted by mercredi at 8:06 PM on June 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

To clarify Spotify's download feature, those tracks are, in fact, available offline, but they are still tied to your account and can disappear at any time due to licensing restrictions, cancellation of your account, Spotify going belly-up, among other reasons.
posted by anathema at 4:03 PM on June 18, 2016

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