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by Brian Schrader

Why I'm switching back to iTunes

Posted on Mon, 12 Oct 2015 at 02:55 PM

Last week I decided to leave Spotify. I've been using the service for almost 2 years now, and overall I've really liked it. Their selection is great, their ability to stream audio over even the slowest connection is constantly impressive, and while the app's UI isn't perfect, it has gotten much better. As I said, I've really liked having Spotify, so why am I leaving?

Cancelling spotify

Like another service that I used to pay for but just cancelled, Spotify hasn't sat well with me over the last few months. It's hard to explain why, but I guess I feel apprehensive about Spotify being in control of how and where I listen to music in ways I haven't been before. An example of my frustration happened last week when I was trying to AirPlay some music from the Spotify app on my iPhone to my media center running OSMC. When I went looking in the AirPlay settings for a destination, my media center showed up, but it wasn't playing. Originally I thought it might be a bug between OSMC's AirPlay implementation and iOS 9, but when I tried streaming from the music app it worked fine. It also worked fine from iTunes on my Mac, but not from Spotify. This was extremely frustrating at the time, and it helped me reconcile the feelings that I'd been having toward Spotify in the recent months. Spotify is a great service, but like all proprietary services, it gets to decide how/why/where you can use it's material. This wasn't the first time I'd felt stuck because of Spotify's imposed limitations, it was just the last straw. I decided to resurrect my old music library, give iTunes a new icon, purchase the music I wanted outright, and cancel Spotify. 1

Getting a new icon

Now I know that iTunes is proprietary software with it's own set of limitations and hurdles, but the music I've purchased from it is mine. I have access to the raw audio files, and I can convert, burn, and AirPlay them anywhere I want. As long as it is technically possible to AirPlay to a device it should work, and that's becoming more and more important to me.

iTunes is not a great piece of software; it's overcrowded with features, and begging for a redesign and simplification, but with it's latest release it has gotten better. Once I cleaned out my old music library and basically started from scratch, I've really enjoyed using it, and with iCloud music library, I get the my-music-is-always-on-whatever-device-I'm-using benefit of a streaming service. Although I now have to go back and purchase my favorite albums again, overall I'm happy with my decision.

1. Another reason I've wanted to switch away from Spotify that is less relevant to this discussion is that since I don't usually listen to a new album every month, the cost of paying for a streaming service monthly is a little hard to justify.
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