When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.
As some of you know, I’ve been doing monthly mixes for 12+ years. I have some thoughts I’ve been wanting to get out about why streaming services aren’t the best fit for people that spend a lot of time discovering or curating music online. If you’d just like to skip the thoughts, you can sign up to get the monthly mixes delivered to your inbox every month or just download the October mix.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how these mixes should continue. I’ll most definitely continue doing them in some form or another. There’s more good music out there than I can keep track of, but I keep on trying. I get more recommendations from friends that I ever have (no, I’m not talking about the Spotify notices on Facebook). The trouble is, I don’t really use iTunes much anymore and I don’t see that changing any time in the near future. If you know me, you know I love all things Apple, but I don’t really buy digital music anymore. I barely even download MP3s anymore either. And I’m not really sure why anyone would when you can pay $10 per month to MOG, listen to anything you want on your computer or phone. Trouble is there’s a lot of music that you won’t find on the streaming services. In my case, it’s usually because it’s pre-release, promo or perhaps only available though music blogs. If I could just have the mixes live on MOG, I would, especially now that it’s free for on-demand streaming.
I still buy physical music when I like something enough, but I just don’t want a bunch of mediocre music taking up shelf space. I have a collection of around 3000 – 4000 CDs that have been sitting in storage for 5+ years collecting dust and before the end of the year I will get rid of 95% of them. In order to keep these mixes in downloadable MP3 format, I have to use iTunes and it also means I purchase the songs that aren’t available as legal MP3 downloads on blogs just to put the mixes together. It’s a pain, which is why I haven’t done it in a while. The bummer is, I miss having the record of what music I’m listening to and I really miss sharing that with you all.
These days (and for the past several months), I’ve been using MOG, Rdio and Spotify. I would imagine most of you have heard of at least Spotify. I’ve tried them all and I always come back to MOG. The truth is they’re all basically the same, but MOG has two big things that the others fall short on – editorial and fidelity. If you’ve tried a streaming music service one of the things that you’ll immediatley find is that you miss someone suggesting music to you. It’s the reason that people love the passive experience of Pandora. MOG has radio too, by the way. They also do a fantastic job of keeping me posted on new releases and their awesome editors are always introducing me to new and old stuff. I love it because they have impecible taste. You just can’t beat a human recommendation. Even the best music recommendation algorithms fall short. Audio quality matters to me. It matters a lot. If I’m going to listen to streaming music or download music for offline listening from a mobile app, it better sound good. MOG sounds awesome. So there’s my recommendation to you. Try MOG. I cannot recommend it enough. If you use my affilate link it will help me out a little. No one asked me to pimp MOG, in case you’re wondering. I just figured you all might dig it as much as I do. Full disclosure: MOG CEO, David Hyman is a personal friend of mine.
Since we’re on the subject of tools to help with music consumption, the only other tool I use is ex.fm. It’s an absolutely brilliant tool that lets you play and make note of music you come across on the web. It’s so easy to use and the interface is absolutely amazing. They recently added an iPhone app too, which is awesome.
When you talk to people you don’t know on Tumblr it’s awesome, but you can’t do this on Facebook, it’s really creepy.
[H]aving a touchscreen doesn’t preclude you from also adding a hardware button that makes the one single thing people do the most often with your device as easy and seamless as possible.
Last night when I looked at this video for the sixth time, there were just over 300,000 views. This morning there are over 2,000,000. It’s an emotional video and I most definitely got caught up in that. One of my greatest fears in life is losing my hearing, so this struck a nerve. The other nerve it struck is how absolutely amazing technology is. We are living in an excitingly mind-blowing time in history. Feels good to be alive.