Most people nowadays, including me, maintain MP3 collections. These collections may contain songs that have been ripped from CDs, LPs, cassettes (I’ve done it!) they or their friends own or that have been downloaded from the internet. During the last months, considering the constant growth of those MP3 collections and realizing that many of the songs exist in almost all collections made me wonder how this thing is going to end. Will people keep buying storage space in the form of HDDs to fit all those MP3s? How many MP3s are enough? Very difficult questions to answer. After giving it some thought, I realized that it is not very likely people to keep maintaining all the MP3s they listen to in the future. So, either those collections will be shared between groups of people using some kind of peer-to-peer software or (the most likely scenario) all released music will be available for a fee as a customizable radio service. About a month ago, taking into account all these things, I decided to become a bit radical and I… deleted all my MP3s.
Of course I kept backups before deleting. Anyway, the size was about 40-45GB maximum, so not a big issue. Instead of keeping the music locally, I decided to use Lastfm, an online service, as the sole source for music. I know this service had one limitation: I could not listen to the track I wished at a given time. But, I thought that having the music delivered in the form of an unpredicted radio stream was a fine opportunity to explore some new genres and bands. I was so excited about the idea of an internet radio on which I could define the genre or the band name and then let it deliver the related music that I also became a subscriber, although I wouldn’t be able to use any of the subscriber-only features like listening to my playlists, since I hadn’t had any at that time. I know that this service is mostly based on scrobbling (if you do not know what this means, please refer to the Lastfm support), but I didn’t have any MP3s to scrobble, so I only cared about their radio service.
But, Lastfm turned out to be one great disappointment. The management team decided to treat us, the customers, differently according to the country we live in. There are times that people leave me speechless with their decisions… Long story short, the management team of Lastfm decided that users who live outside US/UK/Germany will have to pay a subscription fee to get access to the radio stations, while at the same time users from the aforementioned counties, not only would have free access to the same radios, but also enjoy content-on-demand for free, a feature which would let them listen to any song in its entirety for the first 3 times. It’s not about the 3 EUR of the subscription fee I do not agree with. It is the stupidity I cannot support. Well, I could use a proxy to trick the system, but then again that would mean I would continue to support such idiotic decisions. So, it was about time to wave bye-bye to Lastfm; for good.
Despite all this, there is still something positive that came out of this mess. Since I in no way could return back to the old-fashioned local music collection, I… visited Jamendo. A source for free music, published under the Creative Commons license. If the Lastfm management team hadn’t screwed up that bad, I would have never thought of giving free music a shot. I’ve been there for a day or so and I’ve already listened to some of the finest music I’ve ever listened to. Impressive! A talented musician is always a talented musician. It is not the contracts that can produce good music. It’s the talent. And Jamendo contains a serious amount of it! Not to mention that you can download the music for use on your MP3 player.
If you haven’t visited Jamendo, I strongly suggest that you do.
My Music by George Notaras is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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