Apple Music – A Fresh Look

With the shifting allegiances in streaming music, I found myself re-enabling my Apple Music subscription. There are some benefits, and some less desirable aspects.

This is relevant as I again ponder the mix of music that I have in my collection, as well as the convenience of streaming. In the following post, I lay out the pro’s and con’s of Apple’s Music subscription plan. $9.99 a month, it is in the ballpark of the offers, between Amazon and Spotify. All three of them also offer family plans for the same price (alas, my Wife isn’t interested in sharing a plan.) Continue reading →

More notes on Music

When we last checked in, we had come to the conclusion that the two “winners,” Spotify and Amazon, were the two services I kept subscriptions to. Both offered excellent coverage, deep catalogs (more on this later), and quality apps for computers and my iPhone (presumably for Android too).

I will admit that I have been listening more to Spotify. Their “Daily Mix,” personalized for my tastes, are outstanding. 6 playlists, that are fresh, and quite appropriate to my preferences. Spot on. Continue reading →

Aryeon: Universe Live

I have mentioned a few times that I am a sucker for ambitious music projects. A few months ago, Amazon Music turned me onto Arjen Lucassen, and then I found his projects, Ayreon. I bought the latest, The Source on vinyl, and holy hell, it was amazing. I bought a few more of the Aryeon project albums (on CD, as the vinyl versions had sold out, and the offered sale versions were for more than $200). Continue reading →

The new king of Streaming – Spotify

Throughout 2015 and into 2016, I was evaluating the streaming music services, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, and Apple. The result of that initial evaluation was that the then new Apple Music plan was the winner. The combination of all my music collection in their cloud, plus the access to their enormous library, and arguably at the time, the best streaming over wifi at home and on cellular data. I ended up keeping Apple, and ditching Spotify, when

Fast forward to today, late 2017. I dropped my Spotify account in early 2016 due to a stretch of unemployment, and grooved on Apple. But lately, I am souring on the Apple ecosystem. Not enough to ditch my Mac and my iPhone, but having experienced iTunes on windows (that is truly a trying experience) I knew I needed an alternative for general use. Continue reading →

Music Appreciation: The Nice

Before Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Keith Emerson was a member of a British band, The Nice.

Having started my Progressive Rock trip in the late 1970’s and really by the fascination of the ELP song Karn Evil #9, 1st Impression, Part 2, that got a lot of airplay. If you click the link, I suspect that you will recognize the song.

After this initial introduction to the rabbit hole of Prog Rock, I chased many of the other big names. Pink Floyd, Camel, Yes, Jethro Tull, and so on. This accelerated when I got my driver’s license and began trekking to Santa Cruz, and the used record stores on Pacific Grove Avenue. My collection grew and grew. Continue reading →

Music Mess

My music collection is a mess. They say that the first step is admitting you have a problem. And boy do I have a problem.

I have nobody to blame but myself.

How did I get here?

I first started collecting music back in high school. Of course, back then, the state of the art was dragging a rock along a jagged groove and then amplifying the signal through loud speakers. But, while that might be the start of my collection, that isn’t the root cause of my chaos today. Continue reading →

If I knew then – Guitar

I was late to learning to play a musical instrument, not being subjugated to lessons when I was a tike, but instead developing a desire to learn when I was in high school. I didn’t really have the funds to pursue this until I graduated, but then I got into playing guitar.

Fast forward 33 years or so, and here I am. Recently, I joined a closed Facebook group called “Everything Guitars”, and I enjoy it, but it seems somewhat harsh. That is a topic for another post, as this one had its genesis in a post on this group that asked: “If you could go back to your just starting out self, what would you say?” Continue reading →

Music, on Vinyl, and cheap sleeves

I am going to admit that I am mostly streaming my music (and I pay for Apple Music and Pandora), so when I come across something I really like, I go out of my way to buy it.

Being an old fart, and having inherited a decent stereo with turntable when my Father in-law passed, I try to buy on vinyl. I know that it isn’t as crisp as a good digital copy, and that in a blind hearing, I probably can’t tell the difference, but I don’t care. I like the tactile feeling of pulling an LP down from the shelf, removing it, putting it on the turntable, using the Discwasher to remove the dust, blowing the dust off the stylus, and dropping the needle on the disc. Continue reading →

Amazon Music – A review

I have in the past blogged extensively around the streaming music services, and my waffling back and forth until I chose my current preferences – Apple Music for the on demand streaming, and Pandora for ‘radio’. Both have a place in my dock, and I don’t mind paying for them.

Along the way, I compared Google Play, Amazon, Spotify (a former winner) as well as the two I settled on.

Amazon’s music offering was not chosen because it had a less than satisfactory web app, and the iOS app was weak. A benefit was access to much free music just due to my Prime subscription, but again, that list and roster kept changing (and it still does). This was before their plan to give access to their whole library “Unlimited Music” (for $7.99 a month – prime subscriber price, or $14.99 for all members of a family). A latecomer, they are entering a crowded market, but have made a solid entry. (Launched on October 12, 2016) Continue reading →