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"Rip, mix, burn baby, burn"

Posted: 13 December, 2023


Not sure what’s prompted this, but a few of my friends have ended up on Apple Music recently. This is OK! Fuck Spotify.

And bad. iTunes is a rotting piece of crap, the Apple Music web-frontend is merely “OK” on its best day, and holy-shit-why-can’t-I-copy-an-MP3-onto-my-bastard-iPhone-and-just-play-it without it being connected to a fucking Mac


Anyway, if you’re like me, and you’re wishing the slowest, most painful death imaginable upon Spotify, but meanwhile you need something for Apple Music that isn’t a phone and works on Windows & Linux, then you could do a lot worse than Cider.

I’ve been using it for a few months. It’s reasonably fast, and bar some Airplay instability, hasn’t given me any grief at all. AFAICT it’s an Electron based front-end to the Apple Music web-portal-API-thingy, so you know, not the most svelte of things. But it’s a damn sight better than iTunes. And the Music app on iOS. And it’s free.


What if you’re on Windows and your Electron based front-end to a popular streaming service refuses to connect to any of your Airplay supporting amps? Well, if you’re willing to spend 8 quid, Tuneblade is a tray-utility that grabs the default audio from Windows, and pings it across to your Airplay devices.

There’s a smidge of lag (as you’d expect), but other than that, it’s absolutely rock solid. Never let me down.


Yes, I’m one of those people that still has actual files, of actual music, on actual hard drives. And a couple of iPods. And a NAS. And don’t get me started on my film collection…

I know it isn’t fashionable, but it’s a side effect of being a DJ. I need .WAVs, and I’m not going to stream them from Beatport Cloud, in the middle of a Welsh field, at 2 in the morning.

We can all see that we’re past “peak streaming service”. They’re retreating into ever more costly bundles, with more aggressive, frequent adverts. And some of the content that you think you own, well… You might find out that you don’t.

On the plus side; there’s never been a better time to scoop up cheap CDs (and Blurays), rip ‘em, and stash ‘em. 2nd hand CDs are cheap. Storage is cheap. Backup is mostly-cheap. A 2TB SD card in an iPod holds a surprising amount of music, and it means the battery lasts for actual months. You don’t even need to keep the CDs; make a rip-ring, pass ‘em around, bung ‘em back on eBay. But mostly, go get those tracks, remixes, and original masters that are just flat out missing from the streaming services, and curate your collection like it’s 2001!

Do it now, while it’s cheap and easy to get hold of all the stuff, then, when the inevitable shit hits Spotify in the face, and we’re all too skint to afford this stuff anyway, you’ll be laughing in your headphones.