Spotify Alternatives

CarolinaBeerGuy

Don't know him from Adam
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Mar 14, 2006
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Kernersville, NC
I know a lot of us are contemplating other music streaming options after the Rogan/Alex Jones fiasco this week. I'm reading conflicting things and figured this is as good a place as any to do some crowdsourcing. The leading options seem to be YouTube Premium, Apple Music and maybe Amazon Prime Music. My biggest reservation with leaving Spotify is their recommendation engine is just so robust and good. I find new music all the time through the DIscover Weekly feature. Apple seems to be the frontrunner, for now, because of the soon to be release Apple One Family Plan bundle which includes Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and 200GB of iCloud storage in addition to the music. Thoughts? Prayers?
 

Caspir

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Jul 16, 2005
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I said in the Rogan thread that I switched to Apple Music yesterday. I am like you and find a TON of new music, but mostly from the suggestions at the bottom of each playlist. That is going to be a big adjustment unless I'm missing something. Apple Music's interface is also shit.

I was likely to make the switch when Apple One dropped anyways. Music, TV and I guess the storage (I sue Google Photos which I like way more).
 

Light-Tower-Power

ask me about My Pillow
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Jun 14, 2013
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I'd give YouTube Music a whirl. Like I said in the Rogan thread, I think the interface is very user-friendly and I found it to learn my music preferences a lot better than Spotify did. There is an explore feature that seems to be pretty robust. I don't use it and don't know if it'll suit your needs the way Spotify does, but it does exist and it might be worth checking out. I think they do a one month free trial.
 

Leather

given himself a skunk spot
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Jul 18, 2005
26,663
Is there a way to find out the various music catalogs for these services? I tried to look up youtube's but I couldn't figure it out (googling anything with "youtube" is a disaster).

I'd be willing to switch, but only if the catalogs are comparable.
 

Soxy

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Dec 1, 2008
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I’ve used Spotify, Google/YouTube, and now Apple, since I have a few free months of that. I would rank them: 1. Google/YouTube; 2. Spotify; 3. Apple.

I hate that Spotify has a limit on how many songs you can add to your library. Does not make any sense. Plus you can’t upload your own music.

Apple requires using iTunes, at least on a Windows PC. Forcing someone to use iTunes should probably be a criminal offense at this point, so I absolutely will be canceling this the second my free trial ends.

YouTube is fine and has the fewest pain points for me, so it mostly wins by default. Ymmv.
 

gtmtnbiker

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Jul 15, 2005
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Apple seems to be the frontrunner, for now, because of the soon to be release Apple One Family Plan bundle which includes Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and 200GB of iCloud storage in addition to the music.
I'm very interested in Apple One Family Plan and would like to know when it will be available. The only info I see is that it is Fall 2020. Hopefully soon. I'm an iCloud/Music subscriber and currently pay around $15/month.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Aug 1, 2001
14,308
I am now realizing that I am going to have to dump Spotify soon, as they are a horrible company. They pay 90 million to that scumbag Joe Rogan but basically nothing to all the musicians whose work they've exploited for profit. I've got to dump them, and soon.

It is going to be hard for me to do, because I use it every day and have created dozens and dozens of playlists that I use all the time. Creating these playlists is the best part of using the service, along with instant access to so much music, lots of it obscure.

Questions:
1. Do all these other services let you create playlists in a similar way?
2. Do any of them pay musicians significantly more than Spotify does?
3. Do you have to use iTunes to use Apple Music? That is the worst music interface I've ever seen, it's like it's designed specifically to antagonize me personally.
4. What about Amazon music, is that even a thing anymore?

Thanks for any help.
 

Dollar

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May 5, 2006
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Thanks for posting about this, as I never would have even opened the Joe Rogan thread to learn about that crap. I went ahead and cancelled Spotify (making sure to let them know the reason in the comments section of the cancellation), and signed up for Youtube Premium (which includes YT Music Premium). I usually just listen to music on my Google Nest/Hub/Home/whatever-it's-called using voice controls so I shouldn't notice much of a difference between the two. The IPhone app seems to be very similar to Spotify's, I just hope it's not missing a lot of artists/albums that I'm looking for.
 
Last edited:

milfordsoxfan

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Jan 26, 2006
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Connecticut
If you're considering YTM, and have no experience with Google Play Music, you'll probably think it is fine. If you're a casual user, you'll also think it is fine. That said, many of us who were forced to switch from GPM to YTM are profoundly pissed at how shitty it is compared to GPM. I absolutely hate it, and cancelled all my Google services as a result of the forced switch. Google Fi is gone and I will ditch my Pixel for an iPhone whenever they are readily available in the store. Google does not stand behind their products, with a few core exceptions.

That said, I have not found a single competitor that does all of what GPM used to do. I may end up building a Plex server or something for my own music and using Apple Music for streaming random stuff. I haven't figured it out yet.

I have exactly two good things to say about YTM:

-Ad-free Youtube is bundled with it. I'll miss this.
-It doesn't put a dime in Joe Rogan's pocket (to my knowledge).
 

jtn46

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Oct 10, 2004
8,377
Norwalk, CT
One knock on YouTube is that it doesn’t work with Alexa. I use Apple because it’s easy and elegant on everything but I never use iTunes on a PC, if I did I probably would hate it. I pay for YouTube Premium so do technically have a subscription to their music service but the Alexa issue is too big a roadblock so mostly I just use it for some odd things that YouTube does well (concerts for example).

I doubt any pay artists better but in YouTube’s case at least they sort of help artists by aggressively scouring YouTube proper in order to pay artists at all and have sort of for better or worse reigned in content creators that tried to profit off music they didn’t ask to use.

It blows my mind that Spotify are throwing all this cash at podcasts and still bury podcasts in a music app, they really should have a separate app. I used to be really jealous of all the playlists Spotify threw at my friends but Apple has plenty of that now, I do wish they did the year end summaries Spotify does though.
 

Soxy

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Is there a way to find out the various music catalogs for these services? I tried to look up youtube's but I couldn't figure it out (googling anything with "youtube" is a disaster).

I'd be willing to switch, but only if the catalogs are comparable.
If you have Windows, I'm pretty sure you can download the YouTube Music app and use it for free on a computer, even if you're not a subscriber. It's only the mobile apps that require a subscription. I canceled my YT Music subscription because I had these free months of Apple Music and have still been able to use the YT Music PC app on my desktop without issue. If I try to use the mobile app, it tells me my subscription isn't active. So you could probably use the PC app to preview the music library. As far as I can tell, it's the same on both.
 

canderson

Mr. Brightside
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Jul 16, 2005
27,699
Harrisburg, Pa.
I'm very interested in Apple One Family Plan and would like to know when it will be available. The only info I see is that it is Fall 2020. Hopefully soon. I'm an iCloud/Music subscriber and currently pay around $15/month.
It’s available starting tomorrow.

 

flymrfreakjar

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Jun 30, 2006
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Brooklyn
As a professional musician, this chart is a good place to start:

35435

Of the big streaming services with massive libraries and good curation/interfaces, Tidal is the most artist-friendly by a wide margin. Apple also supports artists in a variety of ways and has the best playlist curation in the business imo, exposing fantastic lesser known artists at a much higher rate.

Of course the absolute best is Bandcamp, they pay artists more by several orders of magnitude and are an amazing company in general, but they’re kind of their own thing. Love them though.
 

canderson

Mr. Brightside
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Jul 16, 2005
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Harrisburg, Pa.
I tried Apple Music when it launched and found it entirely unintuitive and confusing. Spotify is clean, relatively simple and greatat curating and finding playlists.

Has Apple Music improved?
 

Soxy

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As a professional musician, this chart is a good place to start:

View attachment 35435

Of the big streaming services with massive libraries and good curation/interfaces, Tidal is the most artist-friendly by a wide margin. Apple also supports artists in a variety of ways and has the best playlist curation in the business imo, exposing fantastic lesser known artists at a much higher rate.
Since both YouTube and Google Play are included, I'm assuming that's for playing songs/videos through YouTube and not the YouTube Music streaming service, which has replaced Google Play?

Amazon being even cheaper than Spotify is hilarious to me. Of course they are.

Of course the absolute best is Bandcamp, they pay artists more by several orders of magnitude and are an amazing company in general, but they’re kind of their own thing. Love them though.
I'm just a consumer of music with some friends and family members in bands, but everybody that I know in the music business praises the shit out of Bandcamp, and says that it is far and away the best place to support musicians. When my favorite artists put out an album (or even just some songs) that I know I will be listening to again and again, I buy it through Bandcamp to throw them some dough, even if it's available on streaming platforms.
 

gtmtnbiker

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Jul 15, 2005
848
I tried Apple Music when it launched and found it entirely unintuitive and confusing. Spotify is clean, relatively simple and greatat curating and finding playlists.

Has Apple Music improved?
I find the interface to be ok but I’m no expert. The only issue I have is that you have to do a few steps to “like” a song. I like how it auto plays when I get into the car which is something that Spotify does not do.

It’s available starting tomorrow.

great timing. thanks!
 

flymrfreakjar

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Jun 30, 2006
2,751
Brooklyn
Since both YouTube and Google Play are included, I'm assuming that's for playing songs/videos through YouTube and not the YouTube Music streaming service, which has replaced Google Play?

Amazon being even cheaper than Spotify is hilarious to me. Of course they are.



I'm just a consumer of music with some friends and family members in bands, but everybody that I know in the music business praises the shit out of Bandcamp, and says that it is far and away the best place to support musicians. When my favorite artists put out an album (or even just some songs) that I know I will be listening to again and again, I buy it through Bandcamp to throw them some dough, even if it's available on streaming platforms.
Thanks for doing that, truly. If just 1% of everyone who streamed my music bought my record it would take care of literally all of my expenses.

Yes I believe those are “video” numbers for YT.
 

candylandriots

unkempt
Lifetime Member
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Mar 30, 2004
9,546
Berlin
As a professional musician, this chart is a good place to start:

View attachment 35435

Of the big streaming services with massive libraries and good curation/interfaces, Tidal is the most artist-friendly by a wide margin. Apple also supports artists in a variety of ways and has the best playlist curation in the business imo, exposing fantastic lesser known artists at a much higher rate.

Of course the absolute best is Bandcamp, they pay artists more by several orders of magnitude and are an amazing company in general, but they’re kind of their own thing. Love them though.
Since both YouTube and Google Play are included, I'm assuming that's for playing songs/videos through YouTube and not the YouTube Music streaming service, which has replaced Google Play?

Amazon being even cheaper than Spotify is hilarious to me. Of course they are.



I'm just a consumer of music with some friends and family members in bands, but everybody that I know in the music business praises the shit out of Bandcamp, and says that it is far and away the best place to support musicians. When my favorite artists put out an album (or even just some songs) that I know I will be listening to again and again, I buy it through Bandcamp to throw them some dough, even if it's available on streaming platforms.
Bandcamp is far and away the best way to go if you want to support the artists that you care about. If you're listening to any meaningful amount of independent music, please try and avoid the streaming services if you can and support them by buying their music. Between not being able to tour right now, and the pittance than streaming services pay the artists, we really are in danger of losing the bands that can't fill a giant arena or who aren't already getting top 40 airtime.

A friend of mine used to be in a reasonably successful band. He works for a video game company now. Here's what they wrote when they called it quits back in 2016:

″Stick a fork in us, we’re done. We’ve been quiet for a while now. We’ve had a lot of thinking and talking to do. We’d be here all year if we started listing the people we wanted to thank, so we’ll just do that in our own time. You’ll see us all again under different musical guises but, these 3 shows will be Fight Like Apes’ last. We want to call it a day while we’re all still pals and are proud of what we’ve done. And we are very, very proud. It’s a deadly time in so many ways to be in a band; you can have so much control over your work if you’re clever; you can release it how and when you like and in our opinion, right now, Ireland is the healthiest it’s ever been in terms of talent and diversity. But, there are massive challenges for a lot of bands, mostly financial, that make this a tough job and sadly, those obstacles have become too big for us. I think we all know that we're going to hear announcements like this more often. A lot of people don’t seem to understand that we can’t keep producing records if you keep not paying for them. Bands are having to sell beautiful albums for €2.99, labels can’t give you as much support since they’re losing income too and our alternative radio stations* are practically non existent now, meaning so many wonderful bands will not get a chance to get played on radio as they’ll be competing with huge pop acts. Please buy your music in independent record stores or directly from the band. Don’t fool yourself in to thinking that your £10 subscription to Deezer and Spotify helps us at all. It does not. Look how many bands are on there and do the maths. Please go to gigs. Please buy merch. Thanks to all you entirely crazy, wonderful people who have supported us and danced and screamed with us over the past 10 years. We could never thank you enough. I still can’t believe some of the amazing things we’ve done together and how far we came.
I'm afraid there will be a lot more stories like this in 2021-22. The Pearl Jams and the Taylor Swifts will be fine. But we are on the verge of losing a lot of other musical talent due to the economics of COVID. Streaming isn't the answer for those kinds of artists, at least.
 

wilked

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Jul 17, 2005
2,347
I am waiting for rhe YouTube TV/Music / No ads on YouTube package. $75/month, and I’m buying
 

mikeford

woolwich!
SoSH Member
Aug 6, 2006
26,158
Toronto, ON
If you're considering YTM, and have no experience with Google Play Music, you'll probably think it is fine. If you're a casual user, you'll also think it is fine. That said, many of us who were forced to switch from GPM to YTM are profoundly pissed at how shitty it is compared to GPM. I absolutely hate it, and cancelled all my Google services as a result of the forced switch. Google Fi is gone and I will ditch my Pixel for an iPhone whenever they are readily available in the store. Google does not stand behind their products, with a few core exceptions.

That said, I have not found a single competitor that does all of what GPM used to do. I may end up building a Plex server or something for my own music and using Apple Music for streaming random stuff. I haven't figured it out yet.

I have exactly two good things to say about YTM:

-Ad-free Youtube is bundled with it. I'll miss this.
-It doesn't put a dime in Joe Rogan's pocket (to my knowledge).
What are you using instead of YTM after the forced GPM switch?

I am very much in the same boat as you but I'm not willing to budge on having my 157GB music collection uploaded to the cloud for nothing so I feel like I'm forced to just use this shitty YTM interface and hope they fix it later.
 

SumnerH

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Dope
Jul 18, 2005
27,571
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Bandcamp is far and away the best way to go if you want to support the artists that you care about. If you're listening to any meaningful amount of independent music, please try and avoid the streaming services if you can and support them by buying their music. Between not being able to tour right now, and the pittance than streaming services pay the artists, we really are in danger of losing the bands that can't fill a giant arena or who aren't already getting top 40 airtime.
Also if buy music and keep it locally:
  • You'll always have it available.
  • You're not limited to one services' catalog, you can mix and match.
  • Losing connectivity doesn't lose your music, whether it's a power outage, going through a tunnel, or being way out in the boonies.
  • Playlists are all local and you don't have to worry about migrating them from service to service or whether they're locking down this or that API.
  • You're not at the mercy of bands appearing/disappearing from particular services.
  • Third parties aren't tracking your listening habits.
  • There's no advertising and no ongoing fees after the purchase.
  • Pretty much every music player supports all major formats, so you can pick the interface(s) you like best.
 

milfordsoxfan

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Jan 26, 2006
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What are you using instead of YTM after the forced GPM switch?

I am very much in the same boat as you but I'm not willing to budge on having my 157GB music collection uploaded to the cloud for nothing so I feel like I'm forced to just use this shitty YTM interface and hope they fix it later.

Honestly, I do not know. I transferred it to YTM, but as you note, YTM's interface is complete garbage. Particularly in the car. Google has failed me so many times now that I have no real hope that they will improve the product. There's a GPM subreddit where people are exploring alternatives: https://www.reddit.com/r/googleplaymusic/

I have 136 GB of music. I know this because I went to download it and Google very conveniently sent it to me in sixty-eight 2GB zip files, with songs from different albums spread randomly across the zip files. Luckily, I downloaded my music using the desktop download tool (which they disabled sometime in the past few months) about a year ago. That tool actually worked. So I have most of my music arranged in neat folders, but some portion of it is spread across a bunch of goddamned zip files, and trying to figure out what is where would be an absolute nightmare.

Dumping it all into a single folder and sorting A-Z would seem like the most logical way to try to re-order it, but then I realized that a huge amount of my collection is formatted in a manner where the first track on something will start with the number 1. So upon sorting, I'll just get a list of the first file from a ton of albums, etc. It doesn't help that probably 40GB of this music is Bob Dylan bootlegs so figuring out which version of "Like a Rolling Stone" matches with which concert would be a project unto itself.

I'm beyond irate with Google. Their customer service more or less told me to pound sand. I may just go ahead and pirate the stuff that I know I bought so I can have it neatly ordered. But there doesn't appear to be service that does the things that GPM did and I may have to Frankenstein something together.
 

SumnerH

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Dope
Jul 18, 2005
27,571
Alexandria, VA
Honestly, I do not know. I transferred it to YTM, but as you note, YTM's interface is complete garbage. Particularly in the car. Google has failed me so many times now that I have no real hope that they will improve the product. There's a GPM subreddit where people are exploring alternatives: https://www.reddit.com/r/googleplaymusic/

I have 136 GB of music. I know this because I went to download it and Google very conveniently sent it to me in sixty-eight 2GB zip files, with songs from different albums spread randomly across the zip files. Luckily, I downloaded my music using the desktop download tool (which they disabled sometime in the past few months) about a year ago. That tool actually worked. So I have most of my music arranged in neat folders, but some portion of it is spread across a bunch of goddamned zip files, and trying to figure out what is where would be an absolute nightmare.

Dumping it all into a single folder and sorting A-Z would seem like the most logical way to try to re-order it, but then I realized that a huge amount of my collection is formatted in a manner where the first track on something will start with the number 1. So upon sorting, I'll just get a list of the first file from a ton of albums, etc. It doesn't help that probably 40GB of this music is Bob Dylan bootlegs so figuring out which version of "Like a Rolling Stone" matches with which concert would be a project unto itself.

I'm beyond irate with Google. Their customer service more or less told me to pound sand. I may just go ahead and pirate the stuff that I know I bought so I can have it neatly ordered. But there doesn't appear to be service that does the things that GPM did and I may have to Frankenstein something together.
1. Check to see if there are tags (id3 or the equivalent) in the files that you can use to reorganize.
2. MusicBrainz Picard is extremely handy here; it'll often tease out which files are from which albums/concerts and tag them appropriately so you can sort them.
 

milfordsoxfan

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Jan 26, 2006
390
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1. Check to see if there are tags (id3 or the equivalent) in the files that you can use to reorganize.
2. MusicBrainz Picard is extremely handy here; it'll often tease out which files are from which albums/concerts and tag them appropriately so you can sort them.
Thank you - I will take a look at this tool. The weird thing is that the meta-data for each song appears to have been dumped into a random corresponding CSV file. Here is a view of what the inside of one of these zip files looks like:

35472

If I open that particular CSV file, the information contained thererin is this:

Title,Album,Artist,Duration (ms),Rating,Play Count,Removed
"Blowing Down That Old Dusty Road","Disc 4 Asch Recordings","Woody Guthrie","184000","0","0",""

If I right click one of the MP3s and look at the properties, there is no information other than the name of the song, size of the file, etc. I don't really see any other corresponding information - is there somewhere else I should be looking?

Appreciate it.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

Don't know him from Adam
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Mar 14, 2006
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SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
Jul 18, 2005
27,571
Alexandria, VA
Thank you - I will take a look at this tool. The weird thing is that the meta-data for each song appears to have been dumped into a random corresponding CSV file. Here is a view of what the inside of one of these zip files looks like:

View attachment 35472

If I open that particular CSV file, the information contained thererin is this:

Title,Album,Artist,Duration (ms),Rating,Play Count,Removed
"Blowing Down That Old Dusty Road","Disc 4 Asch Recordings","Woody Guthrie","184000","0","0",""
But there's no mapping from the mp3 file to the CSV? Without that, the CSVs are kind of useless.

If I right click one of the MP3s and look at the properties, there is no information other than the name of the song, size of the file, etc. I don't really see any other corresponding information - is there somewhere else I should be looking?
Open in something like https://www.mp3tag.de/ and see if it has metadata tags in it.
 

milfordsoxfan

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But there's no mapping from the mp3 file to the CSV? Without that, the CSVs are kind of useless.



Open in something like https://www.mp3tag.de/ and see if it has metadata tags in it.

Yeah, no mapping to the CSVs at all. Just an extraordinarily obnoxious thing for Google to do. The CSV for a particular song is not even in the same folder as the song, in most cases.

Using that tool, some stuff has some tagging, and some stuff is completely lacking in tags. It looks like a useful tool if I ever undertake the project of untangling this mess. Appreciate your help!
 

SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
Jul 18, 2005
27,571
Alexandria, VA
Yeah, no mapping to the CSVs at all. Just an extraordinarily obnoxious thing for Google to do. The CSV for a particular song is not even in the same folder as the song, in most cases.

Using that tool, some stuff has some tagging, and some stuff is completely lacking in tags. It looks like a useful tool if I ever undertake the project of untangling this mess. Appreciate your help!
The one I mentioned earlier (MusicBrainz Picard) is better for that; it'll look up all your files in an online database, do acoustic fingerprinting, etc to try to automatically tag them all for you.
 

mikeford

woolwich!
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Aug 6, 2006
26,158
Toronto, ON
holy hell what a fuckin nightmare @milfordsoxfan. thank god i keep backups of my collection on physical solid state drives and aren't relying on trying to get it back from the GPM cloud because that sounds AWFUL.

if you need any assistance in moving to piracy, drop me a line and i'll help you out.

soulseek still exists and is your friend in the meantime.
 

Caspir

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Jul 16, 2005
5,844
Well, Apple Music isn’t compatible with Google Home/Chromecast which is my preferred listening method through my 1970’s vintage Sony receiver in our living room. Time to look at YouTube.
you can play it through Google home by using it as a Bluetooth speaker, but yea, same issue for me wrt seamlessly switching.