The Iambroadband Blog

Apple Destroyed My Will to Collect Music

I once used iTunes to organize albums

iTunes Has Slowly Destroyed My Will to Collect Music. Will Apple Music Finish the Job?

 Last week, an astonishing blog post by a man named James Pinkstone circulated on social media. In it, Pinkstone claimed that he had lost 20 years’ worth of music files as a result of signing up for Apple Music; as he explained it, the service had hoovered up the collection of MP3 and WAV files he had been keeping in his iTunes library and replaced them with streaming versions that lived in an Apple-owned cloud. The original files, as Pinkstone understood it, had been deleted off his computer in the process. To his surprise, when he called Apple Support to find out what happened and how to fix it, he was told that this was exactly how Apple Music—the company’s year-old streaming service— was supposed to work.

These were disturbing allegations— especially if, like me, you had recently signed up for Apple Music for the first time so you could listen to the new Drake album as early as possible. It was particularly worrisome that a lot of the songs Apple Music had allegedly removed from Pinkstone’s hard drive weren’t properly replaced. For example, instead of a rare, early version of a Fountains of Wayne song that Pinkstone had at some point downloaded or ripped to his computer as an MP3, Apple had plugged in a less distinctive, more widely available version of the song.

Hold up, I thought to myself: Did this mean that anyone who downloaded the early, leaked version of Drake’s “Controlla,” which featured a fun guest appearance by Jamaican dancehall artist Popcaan, was going to wake up one morning and find that Apple Music had switched it out for the official, Popcaan-less album version?

Pinkstone’s blog post filled me with vicarious panic and rage. Here was yet another reason to hate Apple’s music software—something I’d been doing for years, with iTunes as the primary source of my discontent. To date, that discontent had been fueled by the utter disarray in which iTunes had left my digital music library. If what Pinkstone was saying was true, it seemed entirely possible that Apple Music had already started laying siege to what ruins still remained of my once-organized, once-glorious music collection.

It was not always this way. There was a time when iTunes was fine. For a while it even felt like a step up from Winamp, the elegant bit of freeware that I and millions of others installed back when we were using Napster and Audiogalaxy to download music by the truckload. But the digitally encoded honeymoon didn’t last: With the launch of the iTunes store and the phasing out of the iPod in favor of the iPhone, iTunes became the unavoidable command center for managing all kinds of data, not just “tunes” but photos, podcasts, apps, TV shows, and more. As Farhad Manjoo wrote in Slate in 2012, in a piece titled “Won’t Someone Take iTunes Out Back and Shoot It?” the software had become a bloated monster that wasn’t good at doing any of the things that Apple was forcing it to do.

 At some point between then and now, iTunes became a total black hole to me. I stopped understanding what it did when I downloaded a song and dragged it into my library. I didn’t get how it related to Apple Music, or what role iCloud played in managing my data. Above all I couldn’t get my head around syncing—the mysterious and maddening process I had to go through whenever I wanted to put specific songs on my iPhone.

 How did I become the equivalent of the guy who, in a previous era, owned eight CDs, one of which was No Way Out by Puff Daddy?

None of it made sense to me, and when I thought for too long about the impact iTunes was having on the texture and structure of my music consumption, I was overcome with a bitter sense of loss.

 I used to love collecting music. It was a fun, ongoing process that played out over years, and it provided me with an ever- growing time capsule of my taste. Even after I stopped buying CDs—I had amassed a big, proud shelf of them by the time I left for college—I treated my MP3s as my personal property, and I made a point of owning albums and songs that I loved and wanted to remember for years to come. Not to get too High Fidelity here, but my life was richer for having this

collection; in addition to reminding me of songs I might have otherwise forgotten and giving me easy access to them, it was a record of who I was.

 Reading Pinkstone’s blog post reminded me how much more fractured and less deliberate my music-listening life has become in the age of iTunes.

Instead of having a collection that I care for and build over time, I have what amounts to a random pile of files spread across my various devices. These days when I want to listen to music, I consistently just put on either a streaming playlist that’s been curated for me by somebody else, or whichever big album happened to come out most recently, be it Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo or Rihanna’s ANTI.

 How did this happen to me? How did I become the equivalent of the guy who, in a previous era, owned eight CDs, one of which was No Way Out by Puff Daddy and two of which were the Beatles’ greatest hits?

 Part of the change can be attributed to my age, obviously: People who are 31 generally have less energy for cultivating their musical taste than they did when they were younger. Another part can be chalked up to the rise of streaming audio in general: One could argue that my “collection” now consists of everything that exists on Apple Music and Spotify, which I’ve subscribed to since its U.S. launch in 2011.

Nevertheless I believe that Apple—and iTunes in particular—shoulders more responsibility than anything else for how my listening habits have changed.

 At the root of the problem is that the iTunes interface is now designed first and foremost to seamlessly integrate with other Apple products. For worthy reasons, Apple has made it extremely easy to listen to songs you’ve paid the company to listen to, whether you’re a subscriber to its streaming service or a customer in its online store. When I bought the Shamir album Ratchet from iTunes the day it came out, it automatically downloaded to my phone, my laptop, and my work computer. In the year since, I have never had any trouble listening to it, and by virtue of having it in all my iTunes libraries—the one at home, the one at work, and the one in my pocket—it actually feels like I own it.

I can’t say the same for a lot of other music I love, which exists on my devices in a state of abject entropy for the simple reason that it’s not part of the Apple ecosystem. The celebrated 2013 album Acid Rap by Chance the Rapper, for instance, is only available as a free download from mixtape websites; because I didn’t buy it from the iTunes store and cannot stream it from Apple Music, it doesn’t automatically show up in my digital library and I therefore seldom think to put it on. Ditto the trove of classic but never- officially-released diss tracks by Eminem that appeared online between 2002 and 2003, and rarities like the solo Julian Casablancas demo for the Strokes’ “You Only Live Once,” which appeared on the soundtrack for Somewhere.

A truly personal music collection is inevitably going to be full of such odds and ends. But while I’ve owned all the stuff listed above at various points in my life, I don’t have it all in one place, because iTunes has made it next to impossible to do so. At a time when artists have become increasingly generous about sharing stray material with their fans through the internet but never making it available for sale, I have lost the ability to keep track of anything that’s not officially sanctioned.

How I got here, I’m not totally sure, except that on more than one occasion, I’ve had some kind of syncing problem while trying to transfer something to my iPhone, or trying to delete photos or podcasts or movies in order to free up space. Whatever it was I was attempting to do, I must have selected the wrong settings or checked the wrong boxes or hit the wrong buttons while doing it; all I know is that Apple has repeatedly wiped my digital collection clean of all the songs I ever downloaded, except for the ones I had purchased directly from the iTunes store.

That’s how I remember it, anyway. The truth is I am a helplessly unreliable narrator in this story, because whenever I use iTunes, I find that I have absolutely no idea what’s going on, or what the consequences of my actions will be. So while I can’t really be sure how my music collection was decimated, I can say that I went from having a ton of MP3s—many of them downloaded from blogs or directly from artists—to just having the aforementioned Ratchet, Watch the Throne by Kanye West and Jay Z, and a handful of other basically random albums and songs that I happened to buy from the iTunes store.

 On a basic level, I don’t have a music collection anymore because Apple made it too hard and frustrating to maintain one.

It’s my fault, obviously. If I were better at computers or maybe just more adept at interpreting the cryptic language that populates Apple’s dialog boxes, my life would probably be different. On the other hand, it’s ridiculous that a software suite from one of the world’s most successful companies is such a minefield, or that the steps required to move files from one of my Apple devices to another has the potential to rob me of everything I own. It doesn’t make sense that everyone I know ,who still uses iTunes despises it, and that many people, including me, have abandoned it in favor of streaming because managing their libraries became too much of a chore.

In my case it happened gradually and chaotically: Though I do still occasionally seek out mixtapes and stray leaks directly from the web, I’ve mostly just stopped listening to music that’s not available on Spotify. On a basic level, I don’t have a music collection anymore because Apple made it too hard and frustrating to maintain one. And though I certainly deserve some of the blame myself, I can’t help but feel that iTunes has beaten out of me impulses I once cherished, like wanting to download every new mixtape by Lil’ Wayne as soon as it came out, or feeling compelled to own every Smashing Pumpkins album, even though it’s been years since I wanted to listen to them. By making it so difficult to manage my digital music library, iTunes has even closed me off to certain artists I’m confident I would have otherwise loved—for instance, Lil’ B, the ultraprolific rapper who has put out thousands of songs that aren’t available on any streaming service and can’t be bought from the iTunes store.

I’m not saying it’s rational; obviously I could listen to Lil’ B if I really wanted to. And yet the consistently taxing experience of using Apple’s software to acquire, organize, and access my music has dissolved the sense of ownership and identification I once felt toward it. In so doing the company has turned off a part of me that I miss.

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Chinese artist and civil rights activist Ai Weiwei

IamBroadband, October 21, 2016

Chinese artist and civil rights activist Ai Weiwei.

Winner of the Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award in 2015 for showing exceptional leadership in the fight for human rights through his life and work has, as part of his latest exhibition in Florence Italy called “Ai Weiwei Libero” (Free) has installed 22 rescue dinghies on the façade of the Palazzo Strozzi to bring attention to the immigration and refugee issue.

Ai will be at the Foam Museum, Amsterdam (Netherlands) from Friday September 16, 2016 - to Wednesday December 7, 2016

u.3.IMG_0404 2.jpg

Going My Way

IamBroadband, October 26, 2016

Here is a song by a wonderful group from Amsterdam, Holland called Snowapple. The song is called “Going My Way” and is a touching and poetic story of being a refugee finding their way to their new home. Click the link to hear this very beautiful song. It is on their soon to be released CD “Tracks”.

Neil Young's Pono: is it the future of sound?

IamBroadband, March 21, 2017


The Pono music player. Photograph: Franz Krachtus/AP

Fans have pledged in their droves for the new soundsystem, masterminded by Neil Young, which aims to improve audio quality in the digital age. Eamonn Forde is one of the first to try it.

The device is being sold on its loftier audio quality and, for the most part, it delivers on its promises. Too often “improved audio quality” has been a euphemism for “more bass”, with the lower end swamping and pawing over everything else, but here there were intricate audio checks and balances to ensure that each part sounded right in relation to everything else. It was genuinely impressive.

Stephen Colbert shocks South Carolina schools by funding every single teacher-requested grant

IamBroadband, March 21, 2017


Good guy, Stephen Colbert gives a lesson in charitable giving. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more affluent individuals acted as Steven has done? Isn’t Education one of the foundational building blocks of a healthy and productive society?

Comedian Stephen Colbert announced Thursday that he would fund every existing grant request South Carolina public school teachers have made on the education crowdfunding website

Colbert made the announcement on a live video feed Thursday at a surprise event at Alexander Elementary School in Greenville. Colbert partnered with Share Fair Nation and ScanSource to fund nearly 1,000 projects for more than 800 teachers at over 375 schools, totaling $800,000.

There are certainly a lot of teachers in South Carolina celebrating this week. Thank you, Stephen Colbert!

IamBroadband, March 21, 2017


Mp3's as a constant diet, are BAD for you, and BAD for music!

IamBroadband, December 7, 2016

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession Paperback – Aug 28 2007


Note....Spotify with premium sound, is much better than typical mp3's...
Additionally, our concept for the next decade of "Music Listening" is for people to:
    1. Browse music, looking for new favorites on Spotify or other streaming services. And to create or use good Playlists for frequent listening.
    2. Once they find the great tunes they love, many should then get these tracks in 24 bit/96 hz whenever possible for optimal listening. When HD music options don't exist, , get CD quality downloads for your listening to replace the lower res streaming of your favorite tracks. 

Badfinger - The Tragic Story - YouTube Video

IamBroadband, October 26, 2016

This Shocking Story is another example of the misdeeds all to commonly committed by the Music Industry.

Monsanto in the News

IamBroadband, May 2, 2017

WebMD Implicated in Cancer Cover-Up!

By Dr. Mercola
Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, has been the director of nutrition for WebMD, one of the most visited health sites on the web, for 13 years.1 Listed in her extensive biography are ties to United Healthcare insurance company, for which she serves as a nutrition expert, as well as contributing editor to Food & Nutrition Magazine.
She's also received a high honor from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — the 2016 Lenna Frances Cooper Memorial Lecture Award — among many other accomplishments. But what is not mentioned, however, is that Zelman also participates in Monsanto's Leaders Engaged in Advancing Dialogue (LEAD) Initiative.
The participants — 15 "communication leaders in the food and nutrition space" — receive funding from Monsanto and "communicate with consumers who have questions about food and agriculture, especially how food is grown." They also "engage with the food and nutrition community through various outreach initiatives."2

EPA Implicated in Monsanto Glyphosate-Cancer Coverup

Email correspondence showed Rowland helped stop a glyphosate investigation by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on Monsanto's behalf.
In an email, Monsanto regulatory affairs manager Dan Jenkins recounts a conversation he'd had with Rowland, in which Rowland said, "If I can kill this I should get a medal,"9 referring to the ATSDR investigation, which did not end up occurring.
Jenkins also noted that Rowland was planning to retire in a few months and "could be useful as we move forward with ongoing glyphosate defense."10 And it gets even worse. According to The New York Times:11
"Court records show that Monsanto was tipped off to the determination by a deputy division director at the EPA, Jess Rowland, months beforehand. That led the company to prepare a public relations assault on the finding well in advance of its publication."
The court records also show that in making the decision that glyphosate does not cause cancer, the EPA used two studies that had been ghostwritten by Monsanto's toxicology manager but were published using names of academic researchers.12 Bloomberg reported:13,14
" … Monsanto's toxicology manager and his boss, Bill Heydens, were ghost writers for two of the reports, including one from 2000, that Rowland's committee relied on in part to reach its conclusion that glyphosate shouldn't be classified as carcinogenic.
… Among the documents unsealed was a February 2015 internal email exchange at the company about how to contain costs for a research paper …
The names of outside scientists could be listed on the publication, 'but we would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak,' according to the email, which goes on to say that's how Monsanto handled the 2000 study."

Nearly 150 New Cancer Cases Filed Against Monsanto

In March 2017, a Los Angeles, California-based law firm, Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, filed three bundled cases against Monsanto on behalf of 136 plaintiffs who allege exposure to Roundup herbicide caused them to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma.15 Co-counsel Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said:
"We're bringing the lawsuit to address the injuries that have been caused by Roundup and glyphosate to mainly farmers and farm workers, but we also think that consumers and home gardeners have also been affected."16
While more than 700 cases have been filed against Monsanto related to Roundup health risks, Kennedy said he expects this to increase to 3,000 cases in the months to come.17 The lawsuits use the recent revelations between Monsanto and the EPA to support their case. According to the law firm's website:
"The lawsuits allege that Monsanto championed falsified data and attacked legitimate studies that revealed the dangers of Roundup in order to prove that Roundup was safe, while also leading a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers, and the general population that Roundup wasn't dangerous."

John Cleese on (Fox News) stupidity

IamBroadband, December 7, 2016

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