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    I’m really starting to develop a “Take Back Your Data” mentality in recent years and this post really hits the nail on the head in The Theory paragraph. I’ve already started to hoard archive movies and tv shows, but music is something I haven’t started on yet.

    I honestly think in the next 10 years we’re going to see a renaissance of online creativity. More and more people are going to start taking back their own content and self hosting it as regulatory bodies begin to tighten their grips on Big Tech.

    Getting a simple page online today is as simple as posting to Facebook or , and the price is about as much as a cup of coffee. There are even free platforms that exist to get you started.

    prepper-style anything is a good way to look at this.

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      Me too although I like to have my cake and eat it too :) I have a Spotify membership, I love being able to try an infinite number of bands at no cost, but when a piece of music is something I realize I’d be sad if I lost access to, I buy it and put it in Plex on my NAS.

      I’m rather heartened by the number of bands who will now just sell you the bits through platforms like Bandcamp.

      I hate the CD format and all the environmental waste it represents. My wife and I are currently in the midst of a project to eliminate the 2000 CD jewel cases we have and just store our media in binders or the like.

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        I love CDs, love albums (vinyl) even more. Mostly just as a “I own this, and I can convert it to any format I want forever” thing. I particularly like really well-designed albums with thoughtful liner notes that tell me all the things about who played on an album or produced it, and double-bonus points for any albums that include lyrics.

        Bandcamp is super for buying vinyl because you get a digital copy to go with.

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      Prepper? I consider it normal to keep my stuff on my disks and my backup servers.

      There Is No Cloud …just other people’s computers.

      ;-)

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        Yeah, I was kinda let down by this article. I buy most of my music on CDs (and some of it digital) and have it on a samba share. And on the go I can connect to Subsonic and play stuff.

        I am kinda glad that I don’t have a lot of requirements for mobile play, I just sync down a few albums from time to time, manually. But I have enough that it doesn’t get boring for me.

        On Windows I use foobar2000, on Linux I use Clementine, and on Android I use mortplayer.

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        I tend to fall somewhere between the practices outlined in the blog post and utter reliance on streaming. I subscribe to, and like a streaming service. I use it quite a lot, and really enjoy being able to pull up most any song I want to hear right away to satisfy an ear worm or show something to a friend.

        But for music I am attached to, I buy tracks much the same way the poster does. I’d just been using itunes and clementine, but like the suggestions in the post and plan to try them.

        This tidbit:

        In another insult to this way of living, Amazon usually sells physical CDs for less than the equivalent MP3s.

        really resonated. I’ve noticed several times that the physical CDs with “Autorip” were cheaper than the equivalent MP3s. So more than once, I’ve ordered a CD from Amazon, gotten the MP3s immediately, then a few days later had a physical CD arrive to go onto my shelf, still in its shrink wrap.

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          This tidbit:

          In another insult to this way of living, Amazon usually sells physical CDs for less than the equivalent MP3s.
          

          really resonated. I’ve noticed several times that the physical CDs with “Autorip” were cheaper than the equivalent MP3s. So more than once, I’ve ordered a CD from Amazon, gotten the MP3s immediately, then a few days later had a physical CD arrive to go onto my shelf, still in its shrink wrap.

          That’s a REALLY good point. I’ll use some of the internal feedback mechanisms I have access to to see if we can’t change that.

          I’d also like it if the music were available as FLAC or something :) I’m an audio snob and dislike MP3.

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            I’d love it if Amazon downloads were available in some lossless form. I’m with you on the snobbery front.

            Strange aside that’s more likely to be appreciated here than anywhere else… that snobbery actually drove one of my very earliest patch submissions ever. Sometime around the second half of 1999, I was hacking on LAME to get it to be usable from within Code Warrior for Mac. I didn’t send any metrowerks-related patches because I had the distinct impression those were not welcome. But as I was testing my stuff, I noticed that the drums in “Come On Eileen” sounded like they were being played underwater when I ripped that song using LAME’s VBR encoder. Wanting that fixed was enough to motivate sending a my changes to the project’s maintainers.

            (I honestly don’t recall whether my patch got any traction, was accepted/rejected, etc. I didn’t understand how to participate in an open project back then, and I don’t think they really had a well formed idea of how to handle outside contributions, exactly, either.)

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          No joke, I’m terrified that some major player in online music like Spotify, CD Baby, or Bandcamp will go out of business, and that thousands of bands will instantly vanish as if they never existed.

          I was foolishly ready to just go all-in on Spotify, until one day Dashboard Confessional’s entire back catalog vanished, with no explanation. That music was foundational to my childhood! Not being able to listen to it was completely unacceptable. It eventually returned, still with no explanation, but my trust did not. It’s one thing if a band never makes it onto Spotify for some reason, like Tool was missing for years, but it’s quite another thing when e.g. Lizzo’s early songs disappear without a trace from my playlists that I’ve carefully curated. Why can’t you listen to early Lizzo? It’s not like she’s unpopular! Where is Batches & Cookies? What do I do with this hole in my mix?

          Now I’m trying to back up all of my old CDs before they expire: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/mg9pdv/the-hidden-phenomenon-that-could-ruin-your-old-discs Unfortunately, some of them already have scratches. I was trying to back up some of my LPs too, but that was much more of a chore and the recordings didn’t turn out that great.

          I’m trying to buy copies of the new music I care about, but it’s getting hard these days. Big names don’t have their music on Bandcamp, and there aren’t many other options for buying lossless files (which I insist upon, since preservation is my goal). Sometimes it’s still possible to buy CDs, but small bands don’t print them because the economics don’t make sense anymore. My insignificant band made the mistake of printing 1000 CDs in 2010, since that was the minimum amount to get a reasonable price on “real CDs”, and the odds that we ever sell them all is essentially zero. A run of 100 CD-Rs is doable, but those aren’t nearly as durable as pressed CDs, so why bother, if longevity is a priority?

          People need to own the books, music and other art that is an important part of their inner lives.

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            No joke, I’m terrified that some major player in online music like Spotify, CD Baby, or Bandcamp will go out of business, and that thousands of bands will instantly vanish as if they never existed.

            A key point here is that Bandcamp at least sells you the totally unencumbered bits in whatever format you want. I download all my purchases in lossless. BIG fan of that platform.

            If they ever go away, you at least don’t lose the music you’ve already bought!

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              Big names don’t have their music on Bandcamp

              This is mostly true, but I was delighted recently to realize that Death Cab for Cutie is on there. Some of the older Decemberists albums, too. If you’re looking for a big-name band, it’s a reasonable assumption that they aren’t on Bandcamp, but it never hurts to check.

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                I think more and more artists are starting to see the benefits of Bandcamp.

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                one day Dashboard Confessional’s entire back catalog vanished, with no explanation. That music was foundational to my childhood! Not being able to listen to it was completely unacceptable. It eventually returned, still with no explanation, but my trust did not. It’s one thing if a band never makes it onto Spotify for some reason, like Tool was missing for years, but it’s quite another thing when e.g. Lizzo’s early songs disappear without a trace from my playlists that I’ve carefully curated. Why can’t you listen to early Lizzo? It’s not like she’s unpopular! Where is Batches & Cookies? What do I do with this hole in my mix?

                It’s no consolation, but the internet is on position that songs disappearing from streaming services are only fault of the record companies that upload them in the first place.

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                  But there’s no transparency! There’s no changelog of “Oh yeah, here we had to take down old Lizzo songs b/c her previous record company hates her now, but they’ll be back once her old contract runs out.” It could be the record company, or it could be technical difficulties, or it could be Lizzo doesn’t like the way she used to sound and doesn’t want you to hear her old stuff. It’s a total mystery. I think that bothers me at least as much as the music disappearing.

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                    It’s no consolation, but the internet is on position that songs disappearing from streaming services are only fault of the record companies that upload them in the first place.

                    Very true. Don’t kill the messenger and get angry at the streaming service, BUT it still does highlight the fact that music you care about could easily sink beneath the waves and become inaccessible to you.

                    So the question then is “How much do you care?”

                    For a lot of people the answer is “Not enough” but for some of us it’s worth the few hundred dollars and man days to fix the problem in a sustainable way.

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                  But before we even get to the failure state of streaming services, we’ll notice the chipping-away of ownership expectations. Bands and artists will remove their work from the platform, or silently replace songs with updated tracks. The pool of music still looks and feels infinite, but random items disappear without warning.

                  This is already happening. At least on Spotify, older or less popular bands and tracks have vanished through the years when a record label sours on their Spotify deal.

                  My CD collection has scores of CDs from local bands, musicians I saw years ago when I was in college, and mix CDs friends made me. You’ll never find those on Spotify.

                  Streaming will also encourage us to think of music as only coming from official sources. Your band’s old demo tracks will never make it onto Spotify and neither will the impromptu recordings your friend sent you in an email a few years ago. Those are MP3s - music is what’s on Spotify.

                  That’s an important point that also feeds into a larger trend I see - the de-valuing of music in general. When music cost money and had to be bought, stored and maintained, we thought about it a LOT differently from people who’ve only ever known it to be a bottomless cup of whatever Spotify has on offer.

                  I now keep my music collection in Plex. I love it and the bits are MINE and always will be. Even if the commercial piece of Plex dies, or the software somehow goes away, I still own the bits. They live on a Synology NAS (love that thing :)

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                    PAR2 feels like it fits the prepper aesthetic.

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                      Talk about exaggeration… Prepper-style? Not being beholden to some commercial service which can and will change their terms at their (and others’) whim, which charges monthly rates, which depends on yet another commercial service (connectivity) to even be available is not ‘prepper-style’ but ‘common sense’. It is the way the world worked before people let themselves be lured by this promise of a brave new always-connected world populated by nothing but benevolent cloud vendors.

                      Anyway, welcome back to the real world where the bird in your hand is better than those 10 up in the sky. You might want to have a look at something like Airsonic [1] to make your music collection more accessible - i.e. your media, on your hardware, on your terms. It takes care of any format conversions needed to make your media playable on whatever device you happen to want to use. It is free software. It is not tied to anything Apple or Android or whatever which is a good thing - now that you’ve found there is freedom beyond the cloud it is time to find the freedom outside of those walls. All you need is some place to host it, a Raspberry Pi with an external drive or an old laptop (no screen needed) can do the trick just nicely. Get yourself a domain, host the thing in a subdomain (media.yourdomain.org comes to mind) and you’re set for the forthcoming years. It will keep on working once you wean yourself of your Apple dependency. If Airsonic does not do it for you there are alternatives out there - you have the media so you’re in control…

                      [1] https://airsonic.github.io/

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                        I use Plex to do the same thing. I know it’s fallen out of favor because they dared to spawn a commercial venture on top of their open source, but it works really well for me and makes my media accessible anywhere I want it. Mobile devices, computer or my TV which has a very nice Plex app.

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                          Plex, Kodi, Subsonic, Ampache, Funkwhale, Jellyfin, the list is long, take your pick. The essential part is that it runs on your own hardware under your own control.

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                        I was drifting away from physical media and maintaining a curated collection of files, but two things snapped me back:

                        1. Spotify disappears things with frightening regularity. Even their own playlists have gaps where the songs are greyed out for no apparent reason. (Presumably licensing, but no explanation given.)
                        2. One of my favorite artists re-released an album with a track missing an instrument because they couldn’t find the original masters. The song sounds neutered. But it’s the only version that exists on streaming now.
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                          Fun! I have an iPod Classic around, for similar reasons; I’ve long since modified it with much more space than my phone. I have a workflow for listening to and rating new music. There’s no monthly fee, and no ads.

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                            I used to have an RDIO, then a spotify subscription. I thought it was great that I didn’t have to store music, and the exploration was pretty good.

                            Unfortunately a lot of the time the edits for older songs are different to the album releases I heard, or songs had been mastered and compressed to hell (I remember a particularly laughable version of Bohemian Rhapsody where the volume stayed the same no matter what).

                            I started rebuilding and automating my music collection, first with MP3s and now solely with FLACs. It’s not all there yet, but I use airsonic on a mirrored remote server for delivery to my phones, and have acquisition from various sources including CDs. I run my own musicbrainz server for tagging and it’s also hooked into plex and on my main NAS.

                            I now have decent versions of Queen and Pink Floyd instead of bland remasters, along with everything from modern electronica to balkan folk music.

                            Own your shit. It’s worth it.

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                              This workflow is quite similar to my own, just with an android phone instead of an iPhone.

                              I also second that Bandcamp is superb.

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                                I use Bandcamp and Swinsian too! Some of my tech friends insist I use iTunes Match but no.The iPhone app I use for music is Doppler 2. I haven’t finished porting my music to it, only about 30% of my library but I am most pleased with it.

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                                  iTunes Match is HORRIBLE please consider avoiding it at all costs.

                                  When the launched it, they weren’t clear at all about the fact that you’re not actually uploading music to their cloud, freeing you from maintaining your collection - the music is still reliant on the bits on your disk so if anything goes wrong, you lose the music.

                                  After losing a full 1/4 of my ripped collection this way I gave up on the Apple media tire fire and went with Plex which I’ve been super delighted with so far.

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                                    My friends seem to believe your music is uploaded. I just can’t part with the obscure tracks in my collection.

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                                      It does upload your music, however it’s a one way door. If your disk blows up you can’t re-download it again, just stream it from the iTunes Match service.

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                                        That sounds like a curse. A curse upon one’s entertainment.

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                                  I’ve started buying used CDs (and DVDs) for these same reasons. I have enough storage in my laptop to carry everything with me, but I’ve wanted a phone solution, are there similar apps for Android?

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                                    I use an Android music player called Odyssey. It’s not quite the same thing as the iOS app in the article, because it doesn’t automatically sync music from cloud services, but because it’s Android you can just have a bunch of music on your SD card — stick the card in your PC’s SD card reader, or connect the phone to your PC via USB, or sync music over the network with something like Dropbox or SyncThing.

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                                      Most android music players will offer up anything the music indexer finds on the internal storage or SD card. They just may take a while to appear.

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                                      For Android I really like Musicolet