I love music. I need it in my life and for a number of decades, there was more music in my life than there was not. When I was 13 I used to have a paper round that paid £11 on the Saturday morning. I would head to town that afternoon and buy a new album from the store and immediately listen to it on repeat. I discovered and came to love a lot of new and different sounds during that time. But I'm starting to hit a really tricky problem…
I have a Preimum Spotify account. This means I (sort of) rent my music. There's limits on the number of devices I can have offline tracks applied to, and though it's supposed to be 5, there's been multiple times that I've been travelling and all of a sudden my phone and unloaded it's offline tracks.
More pertinently is being able to listen to my own music. My kids are getting older now (5 and 8) where they have a certain taste in music and have started building their own playlist. Sometimes they'll want to listen to their songs, but the rub right now: once you start playing on one device it stops on other devices. This is standard behaviour.
The problem is: there's no clean solution.
If we turned back the clock 20 years, this same problem would be represented by a single Hi-Fi in the house and fighting over who gets to play the music. The solution is to buy another Hi-Fi/portable player/etc. The solution isn't so clear today.
Spotify offer a "family account" whereby I can pay for six family members to have their own account.
Except to have control of music using your own account requires your own hardware, and I'm not giving a 5 or 8 year year old their own mobile device. So now we're sharing devices - that's fine - we have a google home that can play music, but to control your own account against a smart device requires your own Google account and I'm definitely not sharing their personal details to create a Google account for my children.
Google Music has the same problem, you can buy a "family" account, but you need your own account to control it.
I've been told that you can buy a Sonos device to handle playing different music from the same account (though I'm not sure how that would even work), but these devices start at around £150 (reduced) and continue upwards. Another unreasonable cost to let an infant listen to music.
The problem I've created for myself is relying on online services for my entertainment.
Similar resistance to Netflix
I had resisted joining the Netflix households for a simple reason: I didn't trust the internet to a) remain online to allow for uninterrupted viewing, and b) remain at a high enough quality that it didn't degrade the viewing the experience.
I love watching movies. Julie and I used to go the movies once a week and have been known to do double features and even have our own marathon movie days (we still do for Christmas).
DVDs and, dare I say it, VHS tapes we as resilient as their medium. If the DVD got scratched then it would skip, but that would a question of care and the responsibility would be entirely mine - i.e. rarely controlled through external factors that I had no control over.
Netflix has the same restrictions as Spotify and the like - you're limited to the number of in-use devices (though the top tier is 4 devices which I should imagine is enough in a lot of cases).
Interestingly though, Netflix's 4 screen payment tier is just shy of what we pay for in the UK for a TV License (~£154 / year).
Am I just getting old?
I see resilience in hard warez and not software. I see resilience in simplified systems. I see resilience in owning my content, rather than leasing it.
But on the other hand, I don't want to take up space in my home with CDs and DVDs that will, for the vast majority, sit on the shelf.
I wish that I could pay Spotify (or another streaming service) for multiples of an account to playback my account on multiple devices - but I know that even if Spotify supported this, there would have to be some buy in from the devices to report that usage…and I guess that's harder. Or harder than all the current surveillance techniques…
Anyway. No simple solution. Possibly because we've overcomplicated things. Which, at least is consistent with technology. That said, if anyone knows a way to hack around this problem (that you're using rather than theorising!), I'd love to hear in the comments.