I really liked a recent article about Ben Sisario, the New York Times reporter who covers the music industry. He is talking about what he uses to listen to music, and this quote jumped out at me, especially the part I put in bold.
(I) try to keep an eye on all the major platforms out there, which means regularly poking around on about a dozen apps. My go-to sources are Spotify, SoundCloud, Bandcamp and Mixcloud, which has excellent D.J.-style mixes and to me feels more human than most.
At home I have a Sonos Play:5 speaker, which plays streaming music and podcasts, and is a piece of cake to use. I also have Google Chromecast Audio, a little plug-in device (now discontinued) that allows me to send high-fidelity streams to my stereo. It sounds better that way, but it’s not nearly as easy to use as the Sonos.
To be honest, my preferred way to listen to music is on CD, as unfashionable as that might be. You push a button, the music plays, and then it’s over — no ads, no privacy terrors, no algorithms!
Like Ben, I started to listen to music on CDs again too. For a number of reasons:
- I have some great old CDs from labels like Deutsche Grammphon that I am never going to download again and which I don’t even want to listen to on Spotify.
- I find it satisfying to put on a CD, listen to it, and then it be over. I don’t want to listen to an infinite playlist all the time.
- I always worry that some day services like Spotify will simply trim their catalog and I will never be able to listen to that music easily again. For music I love, I want to own it outright.
- I worry about how what I listen to on Spotify is constantly fed into their analytic software – what people like to call their algorithm – to determine what I want to listen to. Some times I just want to listen to music in a different direction. I don’t want Spotify to start suggesting new music based on a whim.
- I don’t want Spotify or others to know everything about my listening choices. I think we all need a stealth mode for any services we use online.
I still love Spotify, but I don’t want to depend on Spotify to enjoy music.
That’s my two cents. For more on Ben, see: Why Play a Music CD? ‘No Ads, No Privacy Terrors, No Algorithms’ – The New York Times