What Music Streaming Service Will Work for My Weird Project?
November 23, 2021 2:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm working on a project inventorying the recorded output of several influential musicians, whose careers can span from the 1920's up through the present day. I want to produce playlists to accompany the resulting documents. What music streaming service would be best for me to use?

A couple of details that may help. I started this project on Google Music when that was still a thing, and I migrated it over to YouTube Music after that was shut down. Because a fair amount of this music hasn't appeared on any streaming platform, I rely pretty extensively on being able to upload stuff that's missing to my personal library. YouTube music has a weird method of separating stuff that I've uploaded away from everything else in search results that I'm not crazy about.

Beyond that, I'd like to be able to share the playlists publicly, and I don't think many people are using YouTube Music. I'd also prefer not have to worry too much about the lists "decaying", by which I mean having songs drop off from availability. That's already happened a couple of times...songs that I was able to find previously were removed from the service, leaving gaps in the playlists. And I've been working on this only for a couple of years, which would seem to indicate that the content on YouTube Music is pretty unstable.

Here is a link the Google Drive folder where I'm keeping my notes, and here is a fairly typical example of a playlist made to match the notes for a given year.
posted by Ipsifendus to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Best answer: other than literally hosting all the files yourself (and whatever licensing that entails), you will not have any success.

mixcloud is the closest legal option. it's a fully-licensed, advertising supported 'web radio' model where you could upload a stream of your playlist with timestamps. do to the way web-radio operates they can't show the playlist in advance and you can't include more than four tracks by a single artist or three tracks from a single album.

other issues:

none of the streaming services let you share stuff you've uploaded

any streaming service will have decay, albums rights will transfer to new owners or even just listing with a new company creates new album listings.

you can upload stuff to youtube (illegal but unenforced) but even youtube is going to fall to bitrot.
posted by noloveforned at 2:39 PM on November 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

Depending on the age of the tracks some of them might be out of copyright, and you'd be able to do whatever you wanted with them, though good luck untangling the specifics for anything recorded post-1926 (95 years ago). For everything else unless the streaming service has the tracks in their library you won't be able to legally share the actual music absent a special license from the rightsholders.

If this is for educational purposes, you may be able to provide short samples of copyrighted recordings under Fair Use, though it isn't a panacea and is fairly subjective.

You can, of course, provide a textual listing of track/album/artist names without issues, potentially with a link to where they can listen to it if it is available somewhere. This is likely the easiest approach here.
posted by Aleyn at 3:18 PM on November 23, 2021

Best answer: btw- your youtube music playlist suggests it has 10 tracks but shows as empty for other users (screenshot)
posted by noloveforned at 3:26 PM on November 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: btw- your youtube music playlist suggests it has 10 tracks but shows as empty for other users

Argh! See, this is why I asked the question. Stuff that I haven't been able to find online I've been acquiring CD's for, and then uploading the tracks. But if the tracks I upload that way aren't shareable, that leaves the value of doing it at all in doubt. Thanks for checking it, though.
posted by Ipsifendus at 4:15 PM on November 23, 2021

Best answer: Back when I was using Plex extensively they advertised that they let you intermingle your Plex hosted files with Tidal streaming more closely than any other streaming service. Might be worth looking into.
posted by COD at 4:36 PM on November 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

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