How Apple ruined my music collection
When I was young, I, like many, used to record songs that I liked from Radio 1’s Top 40 countdowns on Sunday evenings. The art lied in capturing as much of the song as possible, while avoiding the dulcet tones of Bruno Brookes. The result was a mini-mixtape that lasted until the following Sunday.
Over time, I moved on to records, grooved circular pieces of vinyl seven or 12 inches in diameter that used to be read by a needle to play music. And then on to CDs.
Throughout that time, I knew what music I owned. Arguably, during the Brookes era, I couldn’t quite tell you what was on the TDK D90 at any point in time. But certainly thereafter, I knew what music I owned, and I knew what music I didn’t own. My CDs were arranged alphabetically by artist. Things were just lovely.
Then along came Apple.
I copied all of the CDs I owned to my computer and uploaded them all to iTunes. In the early days of iPods, storage exceeded my music collection, so I generally kept my iPod in sync with iTunes. The lack of an internet connection on the iPod meant that all music was bought from the computer, and everything was pretty sweet.
Then came the iPhone. Now importantly this came with two features that destroyed my music collection: an internet connection; and more limited storage than its iPod predecessor.
The internet connection meant that suddenly, music could be bought on the move and downloaded to my mobile device unbeknownst to iTunes. And the more limited storage meant that no longer could the two music libraries be kept in sync. My PC-based music collection was bigger than my iPhone could cope with.
So manual sync-ing ensued, as indeed did chaos. There was a manual process in copying items bought on the move back to iTunes. And there was subjectivity and manual intervention in deciding which songs were worthy of transferring to the iPhone.
There was no longer a definitive location for my music. I couldn’t turn to a proverbial CD rack to find an album or song.
The problem has been exacerbated by my recent move away from Apple. In moving to Android, I’ve had to hack my music out of iTunes and into a new format. I’m not sure exactly what’s happened technically, but a very slow process has meant that thus far, a small proportion of my music has made its way across to Songbird, an Android music app. In so doing, for some reason, some songs have lost a split second from the beginning. I’m hoping this is resolvable by following a different process in moving away from iTunes.
But the bottom line is, I don’t know what I own any more. I don’t know where that music is. And I don’t quite know whether music I’ve bought via Apple is legally allowed to be used outside of Apple.
And that’s not good. Apple ruined my music collection.