Cord-cutting (& Music) Revisited

It's been something like a year since I posted my thoughts about whether or not I could cut the cable cord. One of the considerations was my interest in music, how I was getting it from cable TV, and how I might get it from internet services. I'd like to follow-up on that topic and let you know how things are working now.

I first tried a subscription to CalmRadio. I liked that they had streaming stations that fit my interests, such as classical music and soundtracks. However, it wasn't long before I started seeing a problem with listening to these stations. The streams would cut out after about an hour or so. It wasn't one station, it was every one I listened to. It didn't happen once or twice, but just about every time I tried to listen, especially at night.

My guess is this will happen with a less popular streaming service. They don't have the servers to keep up with demand. Demand surges at night, and streaming connections get dropped. In the end I had to terminate my subscription due to this problem.

The next streaming service I tried was Rdio. They'd just introduced a new $5 a month plan. They also had the ability to locate your music on your hard drive, and you could create playlists with that music, as well as what they were streaming.

The downside was that for this budget plan, you were hamstrung with what you could add from their streaming catalog. You had to download tracks to listen to them. You could add tracks to playlists, but it seemed that you'd have to download them under the budget plan to listen to them as part of a playlist.

Something else that drove me nuts about Rdio was that the app would favorite every track you owned in your collection. That skewed the recommendation engine, which meant I had to unfavorite everything. That included multiple versions of tracks, since it couldn't always figure out which was which. It was also buggy, in that unfavoriting tracks on the mobile app didn't always work, but doing so on the website usually did.

Suffice it to say I canceled my membership before the free trial ended. (This story from iMore in November reports that Rdio will be shutting down.)

The other motivation to cancel was the announcement of Apple Music. This has been working out well for me. It's already linked to what I've bought at iTunes. Nothing interferes with what I have, and any skewing of recommendations can be ignored easily. The streams hardly cut out. The service can be buggy at times, but most of the time it just works.

That's where things stand for me as far as cord-cutting and music goes. If I have any other thoughts about other aspects of cord-cutting and how I consume media, I'll put up another post. I hope posting my thoughts gets you thinking about whether you'd cut the cord and how you'd get your media.

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