Sunday, June 24, 2012

Can’t Stop The Music

There are so many choices now for ways of delivering audio goodness to one’s ears, regardless of your definition of “audio goodness”. Web based services like Pandora, Slacker Radio, Spotify, iHeart Radio, etc. abound. Hell, you can even still buy CDs or just plain turn on the radio. There are online music stores to buy entire albums, or songs a la carte in digital format. And, of course, if you subscribe to a cable or satellite provider there are music channels in addition to television.

Recently I decided to cancel my Premium subscription to Slacker Radio. With all of the various, free, options out there, I just couldn’t see any justification for continuing to pay $9.99 a month, especially when I don’t even use all the features that Premium gives. It didn’t help, either, that their customer service was, well, lacking. Initially I was just going to downgrade from Premium to Plus (so I could at least keep using the ABC News and ESPN channels). Alas, there was no option for doing so, and it took them four days to respond to my email query, despite their canned response saying I would receive a response within 24-48 hours. In the end, that lack of response, plus a need to trim my monthly budget wherever possible, led to just going back to Basic subscription.

I’ve had similar customer service problems with iHeart Radio. There’s supposed to be a way to log in so you can create lists of favorite stations. I don’t have a problem doing this with their mobile app, but the website totally fails to ever let me log in. Their customer service responded, but with instructions about the mobile app. When I replied that I needed help with the website, not the app, they basically didn’t respond at all. But, it’s free, so whatever. Plus, I can now, apparently, sign in to the website using my Facebook credentials with no problem.

I’ve never had any sort of issues with Pandora. I just find their interface to limiting for my tastes. It’s been awhile since I’ve even looked at Pandora, however, so I don’t know if they’ve changed this or not.

I’ve only had Spotify for a few days, so I really haven’t had to much of a chance to play around with it’s various options. I like that they have a desktop app and that it can also sync with my Windows Media Player library, but the fact that theirs is the only mobile app that requires a paid subscription to use is kind of bullshit, in my opinion. While all the others allow free subscribers to use the the mobile app, I really can’t fathom why Spotify would make that a Premium only thing, especially with Smartphones becoming so prevalent.

So, free, plus, premium - whatever your fancy. Personally, I’m going with the free options because what one only offers under a paid subscription, one of the others might allow with the free option. Maybe it makes me sound like a cheapskate, but if I can use something for free by dealing with the occasional advertisement, so be it.

Whatever method you choose, the music can’t be stopped, so rock on!

~ JC
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