These Were My Jams

As the year comes to a close and all the usual music publications post their end of the year lists, I can’t help but think back to September.

This is my jam came to an end in September. It was a small music site with a good community of music lovers sharing just one tune at a time. There was some music discovery baked in but that was the extent of its features. It did one thing and it did it well. It will be missed.

As it went it preserved a read-only archive of every user’s history and posts. Mine is here. This alone is outstanding. In a world where user’s contributions are treated as a resource to be exploited, only to be tossed aside the second they’re not profitable anymore, TIMJ’s regard for its community is refreshing. It would have just been easier to pull the plug, data and all. Instead, those of us that used it have that history available. Looking at it now I rediscovered this great remix of a Blondes track by Andy Stott from 2012 or the gothy-EBM styles of Toronto’s Trust from 2011.

September was also the month that most people’s free Apple Music subscription ended. Good riddance. Apple Music is the complete opposite of the TIMJ approach: a bloated hydra of an app that can no longer do any one thing well. What is Music? Is it a music subscription service, a music store, a radio player, a social network for following musicians, a cloud sync service, a phone to computer sync service, or a music player? Why is it all these things?

Music the subscription service was nice when it worked. Often, it didn’t. Sometimes with cataclysmic results.

My experiences, though not as disastrous, were generally unpleasant. Music’s cloud syncing would disallow me access to tracks I “had”, it wouldn’t download full albums properly (just random assorted tracks from an album), it would generate a mish-mash of album art and meta data when downloaded and synced tracks converged, it would change album art for no reason, and, worst of all, it would hang my phone in wholly disparate applications. I couldn’t properly get into some settings in the Settings app for weeks because it would hang due to some weird iCloud sync issues. Even Game Center would hang or fail to log in properly due to issues arising from Music cloud syncing. I nearly wiped my phone before I figured out the cause of those hang issues.

This Is My Jam was about the enjoyment of music, wherever it was. Apple Music was about the enjoyment of music in Apple’s ecosystem only. It is 2015 and that still doesn’t suit my listening habits. I don’t think it ever will.


Why is iTunes so bad?

Don’t Order the Fish

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