Local vs Streamed

I commented on a survey last week about streaming vs locally stored music. My answer (150gb of music, of which about 70% can’t readily be streamed and definitely not from one provider i.e. no chance of set-and-forget) seemed to annoy people. The replies I’ve been getting have mostly been frustrating to understand and they really do highlight the vast differences in people’s relationships with both music and emerging technologies.

You could use Google Play Music as a backup.

I could, but I already have backups because the nature of this collection means it is not readily replaceable. Not having looked into GPM’s specific provision, I can’t say if their storage is like-for-like or reprocessed like SoundCloud, and as a free service, their T&C, provision and availability can change at any time.

Having it stored on your phone is fine and all, but if it’s on GPM you can play it from everywhere.

Define “everywhere”! On the contrary, if I am somewhere without internet or a connected device of some kind, I’ll still have my phone and its contents.

What if you upgrade to a phone or player without SD slots?

If SD cards become obsolete on near-flagship models, it will be because internal storage provision has matched or exceeded the capacity/cost benefits.

If the cost of phone bills and connectivity is an issue, why not upload to GPM and cache over wi-fi of you need to listen on the go or something?

Uploading my local files to a 3rd party then selecting a subset of those files to a cache on my phone seems about 3x more complicated and about ¼ as reliable as simply connecting a USB cable and copying a folder from my computer to my phone. It’s still easier and faster to suffer the unspeakable hassle of swapping the SD card to & from the phone.

And this underlines another part of my relationship with music for listening: my music collection is curated in that it contains only things I’ve listened to and decided are worth keeping. Sometimes I want to listen to a specific thing, sitting down to listen to an album is a very specific experience, but my usual use-case is random access. For me the greatest aspect of digital music is the ability to effortlessly shuffle-play an entire collection and that requires constant access to that entire collection through an interface that can provide that functionality.

Once setup, Google play and services a like cut down the amount of “effort” you need to manage your library.

Well for a start, why are you discounting the effort involved in the set-up process? And what effort is involved in managing a local file library that isn’t involved in managing that same library online?

GPM would allow you to download those songs on any of your devices, or stream from a computer via the web interface. Plus it would allow you to re-download them if you need to reset your phone or get a new phone.

Through a lot of the comments there is a curious thread of insistence that all devices should do all things. People seem happy to carry a phone and laptop and a charger or two and possibly even an tablet, so why does it seem so alien to use one single device for music when not at your main device?

And seriously, why the fuck would you delete your own files? Are you an idiot?

My personal favourite: “Not available to stream? What kind of music is that?”

Ever tried grinding your teeth and laughing out loud at the same time? I wanted to make a crayon drawing for the guy who made this comment and post it entitled “With the greatest of respect…” or “No harm ’til ye, but…”.
So I made this:

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mysterioso

I play bass, I cook, I look out the window. Sometimes I prefer wondering what's out there to going out and looking. But not all the time. I only recently learned that leaving two spaces after a full stop is obsolete.

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