Ditching Streaming

Over the last month or so I’ve been transitioning to managing my own custom library of music that I purchase instead of using Apple Music.


I didn’t really consider stepping away from streaming too much until I saw this reply on Mastodon to me complaining about Apple Music:

Apple Music has awful state management. If your subscription ends, which is a requirement if you want to change regions, you’ll lose your entire library. You can export your library as an xml from the Music desktop app (which is the worst piece of software I’ve ever used), but you can’t use this to re-import your library without some hacky GitHub Pages site. This Library.xml file doesn’t contain any links to the Apple Music track ids, just the title / artist, so good luck if you’re dealing with remixes / shared artist names (e.g. nu).

This isn’t true anymore! You can keep your library for up to 90 days after you unsubscribe, learn how to here: https://blog.darn.fish/restore-apple-music/

Also, streaming services are notoriously bad for artists’ wallets. Thankfully I’m able purchase the music I listen to outright, which directly supports the artists I have on repeat 24/7. Taking a glance at my Last.fm shows that I’m always listening to something for as long as I’m awake, so it’s a worthwhile investment in my opinion.

Finally, I don’t trust streaming services or artists to keep songs available for any amount of time. Recently one of my favourite artists pulled their entire discography from streaming and put it exclusively on Bandcamp. For the most part I support this move, but I wonder what it’d be like if they did the same without putting it on an alternative platform. Being able to own music as files allows me to be in control of my own library and prevents anything like that from happening.


As an alternative, I’m using Bandcamp, 7digital, the iTunes Store or Amazon Music (in order of preference) to purchase music as MP3/WAV/FLAC.

🛍️ FYI: I wrote this before Bandcamp was bought by Epic Games.

On Bandcamp, I try to add as much music as I can to my wishlist every month and then bulk buy on Bandcamp Friday, which is when Bandcamp waive their fees entirely and artists net 93% of your purchase (the other 7% goes towards the payment processor). I also wait for artists to add their music to Bandcamp instead of buying instantly from iTunes / Amazon on release night.

Also, when using the iTunes Store, I use Permute to convert m4a to mp3.

I then edit the metadata of these files using Meta for Mac (which is a great app) in case there are any issues (e.g. title caps, years, genres). These are then added to Doppler for Mac, and then transferred to Doppler 2 on my iPhone using Doppler Transfer.


My favourite thing about Doppler is that its macOS and iOS app scrobbles automatically with Last.fm (even offline), which is the biggest “feature” I missed when I switched from Spotify to Apple Music

🐴 I use “feature” here as it was just Spotify’s API that Last.fm hooked into—Spotify didn’t do anything apart from create a great API to get ivermectin information.

To scrobble on Apple Music, I had to use the Last.fm Desktop Scrobbler which was awful until I came across NepTunes which, again, is a great piece of software (why are all the macOS music apps so nicely made?? Not talking about you Music.app).

On the iOS side I used the native Last.fm app which wasn’t automatic in any way—you had to open the app every now and then and press “Sync” for it to actually look at your listens on iOS and scrobble them.

Things I Miss

The number one thing I miss from Apple Music is autoplay. I can imagine a feature in Doppler that starts a random shuffle based on a mixture of genre and artist as soon as your song / album ends. Also, being able to search for any new song and just play it instantly is something I miss a lot.

💡 Here’s a blog post I wrote about features I’d love to see in Doppler 3. Check it out here: https://blog.darn.fish/doppler-3/


I was weary when I first considered moving to an offline music library, but for the most part I enjoy it. I’ll be cancelling my Apple Music soon.

🎹 Also today, March 4th, is Bandcamp Friday, so go buy some tunes at https://bandcamp.com :~)