Working in a home office, I often like having music playing softly (or sometimes loudly!) in the background. In the interest of hearing more music than just what I have in my own collection, I've been trying various streaming services and a while back started paying the $10/month for Spotify Premium. I've been generally rather pleased and have enjoyed discovering some new artists through both what friends are listening to as well as Spotify's "Discover" tab. (And yes, I've actually purchasedsome music via iTunes as a result of hearing it on Spotify.)
With Apple promoting their new "iTunes Radio" I naturally had to try it out. I listened to a couple of the default "stations" and was pleased by what I heard.
And then this...
My nice stream of background music was interrupted by an ad for a new album available for purchase in the iTunes Store.
It's not this particular album being advertised that annoyed me... it was that there was an advertisement. I have background music playing that is, well, music, not people speaking. Music fades into the background and I find it strangely helps me concentrate. Speaking interrupts my concentration.
Looking into iTunes Radio more I noticed that the option to go "ad-free" is there if I want to subscribe to iTunes Match. Now at $25/year this is chaeper than Spotify Premium, but requires that I give Apple access to my entire iTunes library to store it up in "iCloud".
I'm not sure I really want to do this.
The paranoid-about-privacy side of me is leery of what information I'm giving to the big corporations out there, and I'm not sure I'm ready to embrace the convenience of having "all my music with me everywhere" while sacrificing the privacy of the info about all my music.
Of course, who knows... I may have already done this some time in the past with some various iTunes terms of service that perhaps said all my data would be sent to Apple. I don't honestly know.
In some digging around online, though, it appears that even if I gave Apple access to all my music, I'd still have a less-than-stellar user experience. As Alex Heath writes over at Cult of Mac about his disappointment with the service:
Apple still told me what station I was listening to over and over. I know I’m listening to the “Pure Pop” station, Apple. You don’t need to play a 9-second clip in between songs telling me so. What purpose does that serve the listener when they already know what station they chose?
When Katy Perry’s new “Dark Horse” single (which isn’t that good, by the way) came on for the first time, a 3-second chime played telling me that it was an official iTunes Radio “pick.” Okay. Why not just put that information in text form next to the album artwork? Do I really need my listening experience interrupted with that audio blurb?
I’ve been a Spotify Premium subscriber for over a year now, and I love it because it I hear nothing but the music I want playing.
That's it in a nutshell.
I want music... pure, uninterrupted music.
(And obviously I'm willing to pay for it.)
So for now I'll stick with Spotify... maybe in some future release I'll give iTunes Radio another try if they ever get to more of an "all music" experience.
What has your experience been? Obviously, based on stats from Apple's recent event that said over 1 billion songs have been played on iTunes Radio, people are using the service!
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