Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Ultimate Audio App

David Pierce at Wired writes about the problem that streaming music services create when people are places where wireless internet signals don't support them.

The problem, which is so first-world that other first-world problems laugh at it, comes because the streaming services require quite a high data transfer rate. When outside the range of places where such rates are available, the services stream poorly or not at all. And because in the incident Pierce refers to neither he nor any of his friends had actually stored any of the music they like to listen to, they didn't have any music to listen to.

Even as recently as five years ago, people would have had quite a bit of music stored on some device that they carried with them. I have a tiny little iPod Shuffle that I can clip to my sleeve when I work out that will play music long past the point I have fallen face-first into the treadmill. And thank you for asking, but that statement does actually imply an amount of time measured in more than minutes. But since streaming the music is easier, people don't bother to stop and store it, especially when the process is kind of complicated. Pierce describes how the most common streaming services don't exactly make it easy to download music for keeps. They do much better financially when people link up to them every time they want to hear a song and they get no new money if someone listens to that same song held instead in a file on a device's own data storage.

The technology and business model are advancing to the point that streaming services may offer simple options for some limited amount of storage in events such as Pierce's described "beach party emergency." So all will be well, until some other obstacle arises between some entitled twerp and complete and instant gratification of some new whim.

But in the meantime, we can all marvel that when a fellow smart enough to write for Wired and a dozen of his friends faced the lack of bandwidth necessary to stream all teh hawt tunez, not a one of them came up with the idea that would have occurred to their Dark Ages ancestors in a heartbeat: open their mouths and sing something.

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