Google Play Music ➡ ?

A little more than half a year has passed since I naively wrote this (here):

As of 2 days ago, the “holdout” Google services on my phone are:

  • Google Music (won’t go in the foreseeable future)

Oh, to be young and ignorant! With Google’s decision to send Google Music to the ever growing Google Graveyard, it will be time for me to look for an alternative.

I actually didn’t have a problem with Google Play Music.

Yes, I was that guy, the one that was actually a satisfied customer. (Apart from that one time when I changed country of residence and I had to cancel, then resubscribe, to Google Play Music because DRM, after which I only had access to Bryan Adams stuff in French. Yes, in French.)

I had (still have) my old music collection  (Pearl Jam all, Soundgarden all, etc.) uploaded to Google Play Music (can I just call Google Music from now on in this blog?) I had some music purchased there, and I had my monthly subscription that enabled me to have my playlists: the one for working; the one for running; the one for driving; the one for driving with my kids; the one for driving he Saab 900 Cabrio specifically (yes, the one that contains Crockett’s Theme from Miami Vice by Jan Hammer); the one for when I have one of my moods… oh and the one to sleep to, which is just all the content Neil MacGregor ever created for BBC Radio 4. Neil MacGregor is awesome.

But Google isn’t, for killing off Google Music. I do have Youtube Music downloaded to my phone, but I just don’t like it. To me, there is a big difference in how I want to listen to music and how I want to consume whatever content is that I usually consume on Youtube… and Youtube Music basically took the ux from Youtube and fitted it to music. It does not work for me. I need more control.

So I’ll have to move.

And I’ll have to move all my music, too: purchases, playlists… a timely reminder of “there’s no cloud, it’s just someone else’s computer”, eggs in baskets and all. Luckily I still have my original MP3/FLAC collection on my home server – at least there’s no data transfer to do there. I’ll also have to cancel my Google Music monthly subscription, which I guess is fine – Youtube Premium (or whatever it is called) never worked for me anyway.

What would be a good successor, I wonder.

Amazon is out I guess, on antitrust grounds. Spotify is a candidate, but I can’t store my own music there (if that matters). A combination of Spotify (stream) and my Nextcloud (store) maybe? It would be also nice to switch to, or at least converge towards, a more ethical alternative. I also have to think about the family, I’ll need something they can use too. As getting access to mainstream music nowadays is growingly (if not completely) impossible outside the collective walled garden that is Apple/Google/Amazon/Spotify/Tidal/Deezer, I’m thinking more and more towards a hybrid solution, trying to identify and move whatever is possible out of this realm, and keep a minimal set for streaming within.

We’ll see, I’ll keep you, little blog, posted — no answers in this post; just the problem statement.

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