Prepping for last PD trip of the summer, I told myself I need to get the music in my life organized.
You see, much like many of you music is something important for me; in fact I would go so far as call myself a music snob (for those of you unware of this term, I define it as “my music rocks and your is crap”). For the longest time I have been a collector of digital music. I had begun ripping my CD’s to .mp3s and then wanted more. I did a few other techniques that I think the statute of limitations has expired, such as checking CDs out from the public library to rip them and I even spent a little bit on time with a service called Napster (if you’ve never heard of Napster, do a search on YouTube). I was the guy with the portable hard drive of tunes and had them on all my computers.
The problem though was always portability. How could I get my giant collection on the go with me? I had mp3 players and iPods and it all worked OK but then then I tried to migrate it over to my smart phone. The problem got to be two fold. One, I had too much to fit on the phone and, Two, much of my music did not have proper tags, meaning missing artist names or album art. My most recent phone, a Nexus 6 (which I do love btw) does have the issue that Verizon only offered it in a 32 gig so I one I left my Samsung Note 2 which HAD an external SD card and tons of space, I found myself doing the juggle that so many of us do between deciding which music and photos to keep on our phone. I solved the photos issue with jumping all in with Google Photos (future blog post btw) but still struggled with music.
So back to where I started this; my prep for this last trip. Well, I decided to ditch ALL my music and go all in with one of the monthly music services. Now there is Spotify, Pandora, and Apple is now in this field too, but come on… I am a Google guy! So I went with Google Play Music. I forgot to mention that with the purchase of that Nexus 6, Google gave me a six months subscription. Now I had not used it but then decided let me try it out. What I did next was reformat my phone, getting rid of all my music and photos (don’t worry, Google Photos has them all backed up online!). I then opened up the Play Music app on my phone and started searching for all the music I wanted to add. I started small, going with the classics and standards that are a MUST. So, AC/DC, Foo Fighters, U2 the Counting Crows were first. Then I had to go to all my favorite musicals (yes… I do love musicals for those of you wondering).
Here are some of the PLUSES with going this direction:
• Organized! Now all the album art and other IDs are all there
• I found a renewed love for albums. Oh, I remember my friend Adam from across the street who introduced me to my first band and first album, Styx: Cornerstone. What a experience it was sitting with those giant headphones on, looking over that LP and the album and hearing that musicians put the songs in an order for a reason.
• Finding new music. Well, not quite new. (side note; heard a podcast a few months ago about how biologically we are not really able to embrace new music. For me… this is so true… see earlier note about me being a music snob) What I mean about new is other songs from artists that I liked and also LIVE ALBUMS! Oh my wife and I differ on this. She is not a fan and I love hearing a great live album; you can feel the energy. My college summer job was as the yellow jacketed concert security guy. Yes, the guy who stopped you from climbing on stage at the Judas Priest concert and the one who told you that you had the wrong backstage pass at the Ice-T show. I saw / heard some incredible shows and also witnessed the magic that is people losing their minds at a show. So, a great live album takes me back to those great nights and crazy memories (like chasing down T-shirt bootleggers at Midnight Oil, catching kids sneaking in at Green Day, and working the dressing room at the first Lolapalloza concert)
• Sorry, rambled a bit there
• Syncing with the browser. This is huge. The music I have my phone is now on any computer I am on by simply using the Play Music site on Chrome.
• Another plus is being able to Download the music for offline access. This is the BIGGEST of them all. So, basically it acts like I OWN the song. Now I know that this is not the case, we don’t own but only pay for access, but all that I want is the ability to play a song when I want and where I want and this service (as well as the others I mentioned as well) can do this.
Now the MINUSES
• Well… the first simply is cost. This will be $10 a month. Now let me make this clear I FULLY support paying for music and apps and appreciate giving back in money the makers of great content be it Queen or the creators of the Walking Dead game. BUT, can I justify paying this cost EVERY month for the rest of my music listening life span, particularly if I am not ADDING much in the way of new music anymore? In many ways my music tastes are frozen in time so paying this for perpetuity does seems a bit much
• The Play Music app is not the best I have used. On my Android it has not been my most favorite; that btw, goes to PowerAmp. This Google Play Music makes it not easy to just get back to My Library
There is still more I need to play with such as working with Playlists and Genres, but for now I am going to stick with it.
I have not touched on the power of music, playlists, in education but check out my CUE Rockstar colleague Rich Hovey for lots of ideas and resources regarding music in education.
(This blog post was written during the listening to AC/DC Live: Collectors Edition)