Entries in netflix (1)


Streaming thoughts

I had a really large CD collection but went digital a few years back (yes, I know that CD are "digital", but you know what I mean; someday I'll reflect on the massive ripping project that consumed my life for a few months). With so many music files, it took me a while to embrace streaming music services. But the convenience of being able to listen most anywhere drew me in.

The service I like most is Concert Vault. It's relatively cheap at under $4 a month, and gives access to a ton of classic rock concerts. Sure, you're not going to find any studio albums here, but if you want to check out Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from Madison Square Gardens circa 1979 on your phone, you got it. Jimi Hendrix at the Fillmore in 1968 on your office computer? Done. In addition to streaming, some shows are available for download, and there are concert videos to watch as well. If you like classic rock, this is a must.

I'm also into Spotify. There are several levels, but to get ad-free music on your computer(s) and mobile devices, it cost about $10 a month. What I like about Spotify is that I can check out music that I might not be ready/willing to purchase. Admittedly, I like old music, and there's not a ton of new stuff I want to buy. But for $10 a month I can check out anything I want. The off-line feature is nice, so that one can save songs for a set amount of time on your phone, and then you don't need a pervasive internet collection (i.e., for travel). One thing that is maddening about Spotify, though, is that sometimes only some of the songs on a particular album are available to stream. The mobile app is a bit flakey and prone to crashing too. But overall, it's a nice way to satisfy my musical curiosity.

Although it's not a subscription service, the Amazon Cloud Player is mightly convenient. I haven't purchased a ton of MP3s from Amazon, but those are there to stream. The better part is the "autorip" feature; many of the CDs I've purchased from them also show up automatically in the app, ready to stream. No additional costs, and some of my music collection is there, ready to go.

Most of my music is in Apple lossless format, and it used to be the case that you couldn't upload files in that format to the Amazon Cloud Player. But it looks like now it will attempt to match those files (i.e., you wouldn't be listening to "your" file, but you stream from Amazon's music collection instead). For $25 a year, you can upload/match up to 250k songs, which would easily accommodate my music library (as opposed to the Apple iTunes match, which is limited to 25k songs and wouldn't "hold" all my tracks). I might have to look into this more as a way to have streaming acccess to the vast majority of my music...

Update 1 (Wednesday night): I just signed-up for Cloud Player Premium and am scanning my music library now. Wonder how long that will take? And once that's done, how long it will take to match/upload?

Update 2 (Thursday morning): I left it scanning and went to bed...By morning it had found 68k songs and was ready to import. We'll see how long that takes. It seems to be importing at a rate of about 1000-1200 an hour, so this will likely take 2-3 days. Hopefully my computer doesn't crash in the meantime.

Update 3 (Thursday night): It's been importing for about 16 hours, and has done about 18k songs (out of 58k). 40k to go...Check back in on Sunday and maybe we'll be done! I did play songs via my iPhone on the Cloud Player app today (from what had already been uploaded) and it worked fine.

Update 4 (Friday morning): 29k down (of 53K). Not sure why the total number of songs keeps dropping. More than halfway there.

Update 5 (Friday late-afternoon): 36k down (of 45k). Hopefully will be done by tomorrow morning.

Update 6 (Saturday morning): Progress bar says 42k of 43k songs imported, but that the time estimated to completion is "0 hours and 0 mintues". It also notes that 32k were 'matched and imported" but 25K songs "couldn't be imported." Note sure why there's a discrepancy between 43k and 34k songs to import, and clearly the importer is buggy, but even if a ton of stuff wasn't available/imported, having streaming access to 35k+ songs is worth the $25 a year. The clould player notes 44k songs available to play, so that seems better than what the import tool is reporting.

Update 7 (August 2014...about 10 months later): I'm finding I never use this service because the upload was so spotty. Some albums are completely there, others only have a few tracks (yes, I still think in terms of albums). This is pretty maddening, so I'm not going to renew. I should still have access to my autoripped and downloaded music for free, so that's good enough for me.

Although it's not streaming music, we also have a Netflix streaming account. Other than binging on a particular show (e.g., Arrested Development, House of Cards, MI5, etc.), this doesn't get used much. The selection of movies is relatively weak. I'm definitely not getting my money's worth with Netflix.