Google Music vs. Apple iCloud

So, you were asking about what the benefit is to using Apple’s match vs. Google Music. I think I have a pretty good list of pros and cons. Being the pseudo-Apple-Fanboi that  I’ve been accused of being in the past, I’ll list the pros and cons of Apple first.

PROS

  • Cost. At $25 a year for unlimited cloud storage, I’ll take that.
  • Match. Doesn’t matter what low bit-rate your file is in: if Apple finds a match, your song is automatically converted to 44Khz/256kbps. Now … if your file is 320Kbps/48000Khz, I don’t know what they do. I imagine your song would be down-converted on their server, but then again, it’s just a match—it’s not like your file on your computer is going to be downgraded, just whatever Apple can match.
  • Unlimited storage. Seriously. I guess they can do that because they’re really just maintaining a database of what songs you “own.” One song can be proliferated to thousands of users since it’s just matching the actual song file to what’s loaded in your database.

CONS

  • User experience. This, in my mind, is THE BIGGEST drawback. You don’t stream your tunes to any device. In order to use them, you have to have them physically on your device. In my mind, that’s not actual cloud service. Cloud storage, sure, but not actual use. If I’m in the middle of Yellowstone, and I have a real jones-on to listen to Cranes’ Loved  CD and I don’t have it on my phone already, I have to open iTunes and download it. Free to do so, sure, but it’s still not playing FROM the cloud.
  • Device storage size still does matter. If your collection is 500GB (which isn’t surprising by any stretch), and your phone/device holds a maximum of 64-160GB, HOW can you have access to your entire collection at any one time? Simple answer: you can’t. You get to pick and choose what you want to listen to. Even then, if you grow bored with what’s on your phone, you have to delete what you currently have to make way for the new material you want to download. Currently, in iOS iTunes, you CANNOT delete songs from your device without connecting to desktop iTunes. Lame. Very, very lame. This will change when iOS 5 is released, though as of whatever iOS 5 beta release was current as of June 2011, you could only delete one track at a time. Boo. I would hope that the option to delete an album at a time will be integrated in future betas or the final release.

Okay, those are my major hypes/gripes about Apple’s cloud system for now. To date, I haven’t really had a chance to test drive Google’s music system much, but at a cap of 20,000 songs, I really don’t see where I *need* to test drive it much beyond that. Like I said, I have close to 40,000 songs. At a 20,000 song  cap, I’d need multiple accounts just to store all my music. That’s retarded. However, to Google’s credit and Apple’s discredit, Google’s service is actual streaming. Fair enough.

Anyway, I’m sold on the Apple option, if for no other reason than I have ALL my music in one cloud-based storage. And yah—truthfully, I’m not going to be interetsed in listening to all 500GB at once, so … whatever. ‘sides, I have a feeling that Apple will be offering a stremaing service soon enough.

CD Review: St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

I love days like today. New music abounds, blu-ray releases are all over the place … and I get to listen to the new St. Vincent CD. Sweet lemonade in ice form–the girl’s gone and done it again.

When last we left our ravenous NYC brunette, she had left us reeling from her at-the-time most recent release of Actor. A venerable tour de force of layered electronica and pscyho-blazing instrumentation, mixed with her searing and smoldering vocals.

2 months shy of 2.5 years have come and gone. The Packers have returned to the top of the NFL, the Bruins, Blackhawks and Penguins all won Stanely Cups, I got a new 58″ plasma TV, and I have worked in 3 different positions. In relative terms, it’s only been a short while. However, when it comes to music of Annie’s quality and talent, 2 and third years might as well seem like  an entire millenium.

Usher in the newest epoch of St. Vincent music. We may now add to her illustrious timeline a new achievment–Strange Mercy. Feel free to thank your lucky stars. Or, better yet, thank her yourself. Of course, this is just my opinion, and you’re welcome to agree or disagree, but I think this is her strongest work. Very personal, very emotionally evocative.

One of the stand-out tracks for me is “Cruel.” The juxtaposition of up-beat, dancy music with the depressing lyrics caught me really off-guard. Reminds me of 9o% of The Smiths discography. 🙂  “Hi, I’m alive. Does anyone notice? Care?” Apparently not–not even with flares waving. Yah. Upbeat music, tragic lyrics. Sad.

The next track immediately after “Cruel” is “Cheerleader.” It kind of grabs me as someone who loves her land, but is tired of trying to play the apologist. On a more “in the weeds” analysis, it also strikes me as someone who is tired of people milking tragedy for everything they can, be that sympathy, financial gain, or whatever. But musically, it’s just great. “I-I-I-I-I don’t want to be a cheerleader no more …” which repeats a couple of times. On each “I,” there’s this off-key keyboard sound that’s absolutely beautiful in its dissonance. Great.

Big fan of “Champagne Year,” too. A little more minimalist start on this track. Some bass drum samples, some synth, and Ms. St. Vincente’s sultry intoxicating vocals dangling on the edge of sadness. The track evolves into some very Sarah Fimm-style music and vocals. For anyone who’s read my take on Sarah Fimm’s music, See what I mean?

The best news about this CD release is that she’s going on tour, with a date in SLC at the Urban Lounge on October 11th. Pretty good place to catch her live. Small, intimate place, no bad seat in the place … yah. That’ll be a great show.

So yah. Time to get out and buy this. Or sit at your desk and download it from iTunes. or … from your phone ….. sheesh. Is there any place left where you can’t get new music anymore?! Well whatever your outlet of choice is, go get this immediately and improve your quality of life. GO! NOW!!

 

3652 Days Later

I couldn’t sleep last night. I stayed up until about 1:30, scouring the net for September 11 videos–memorials, tributes, commentaries … anything I could click on. The effect was reflection on my memories of September 11, 2001.

It wasn’t until the night of September 12 that I realized just how petrified and scared I was. I feared for my family’s, friends’ and neighbors’ safety. I feared for the children I didn’t even have yet. I feared what kind of world they would be brought into. I shook with a fear that I had never known was possible. The more I thought about it, the more enraged I became at not knowing how to control my situation. I had always had some element of understanding and control of any surroundings. This feeling of utter helplessness was completely foreign to me.

I wrote an open letter to the terrorists in a journal entry about a week later. In it, I specifically called out that their attempt at striking fear and terror in at least my heart and mind as fleeting and over. I refused to modify my way of life to accommodate a modicum of fear.

My brother and I made a pact with our wives that, if there had been a draft, we would have gotten them situated, and we would have gone off to fight.

10 years later, I stare in the face of evil and rededicate myself to never letting that feeling overcome me again. I know how to handle the fear and confusion. In fact, the fear and confusion are gone. In their place, I find a renewed sense of purpose as an American citizen with each passing day.

As my buddy Russ put on his Facebook wall, “Terrorists can kiss my Mormon @$$.” Yes, terrorists. You may. You can kiss my ass because I allow you. But that is all I allow you to do. You will not frighten me. You will not disrupt my way of life. You can try to knock over our buildings; you can attempt to blow up our Navy ships. You will *NEVER* break our will. We’ve already beaten you because WE are the United States of America. WE defend truth and right. WE fight for freedom and liberty. WE provide nations the security and peace they deserve as human beings. And we do this in the name of our God.

YOU CANNOT WIN. We choose freedom over tyranny. We will find you. We will fight you. And we will win. Always.

Never forget.

Weekend Music Ripping, Part 2

To be fair, I’m just glad I posted something. I totally miss writing on a daily basis. I wish this were my full-time job, but alas–actual work gets in the way. However, actual work pays pretty damn well, so I’m not complaining. Especially when I’m working overtime. 🙂

Anyway, to continue the last post’s theme, I still have a stack of CDs to rip. So, backing up, I believe I mentioned that I had won a few eBay auctions a couple of months ago. The one auction “only” had about 50 CDs in it. The list read like a who’s who of current straight-up rock bands: AFI, Panic! at the Disco, Good Charlotte … bands that I’m familiar with in name, but not really musically. Seem like a lot of radio bands. Guess we’ll find out.

Here’s what I plan on working through today and tomorrow:

  • Unwritten Law – Self Titled
  • Panic! at the Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out
  • The Zutons – WHoo Killed … The Zutons
  • Converge – You Fail Me
  • Emme Packer – Dirty Street
  • Emme Packer – Better Luck Next Time
  • Liz Janes – Poison and Snakes
  • Todd Stedman – Burn
  • Liars Academy – No News Is Good News
  • Jennifer Gentle – Valende
  • Good Charlotte – Good Morning Revival

And of course, wife wants to watch “Psyche.” I can support that! More ripping later.

Weekend Music Ripping

I have a stack of CDs sitting behind me that I’m in the process of ripping. Two stacks, actually. Had to split it up cuz my daughters kept knocking over the one stack. Don’t ask how … they just did. I didn’t realize how much I had accumulated over the last couple of months until I started counting. Ha ha ha.

Skip ahead two weeks. No new stuff, other than a couple of iTunes purchases. While we were in Yellowstone, my wife had a hankering for They Might Be Flood CD, so I downloaded it for her. Yah–I’m that nice.

Anyway, so tonight is actually CD ripping night. It’s actually going to be CD-ripping weekend, but whatever.

I NEED NEW CD SHELVES IN THE WORST WAY.

Aaaaaand it’s Saturday now. I ripped through 11 CDs before getting dragged away, kicking and screaming voluntarily watching our kids while my wife went to bunco. Here’s the stack:

  • Rabbi – Bulla Ki Jaana
  • Trembling Blue Stars – Exploring the Shadows
  • Slick Shoes – Far From Nowhere
  • Abigail Washburn – City of Refuge
  • Sarah Jarosz – Follow Me Down
  • Feral Phantasms – Polar Goldie Cats
  • Kate York – Sadly Love
  • Tam – Self-Titled
  • Johnathan Rice – Further North
  • Alex Wise – Front Porch
  • Pedro the Lion – Winners Never Quit

The sounds are pretty divers, too. Feral Phantasms is all instrumental stuff. Great mood music. Sarah Jarosz has one of those voices that leaves me all melty-drippy-swoony. Slick Shoes is kind of Dream Theater-esque, but not as technical and pretty good straight-forward rock-out music. Rabbi … man. Great middle-eastern-sounding stuff. Overall, a great mix.

 

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