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2024-07-05 Sugababes - Iveagh Gardens, Dublin

I've been a Sugababes fan since I first heard Overload way back in 2000.  It was, and still is, a pop classic.  Over the years, I managed to catch them live a couple of times.   The first time I caught Sugababes live was way back at Creamfields 2002.  Unfortunately Siobhan had left the band by then and been replaced by Heidi, so I never got to see the original lineup.  Did it matter much at the time to me?  No, not at all, I was just their to party!  As a side note, post Sugababes, Siobhan went on to release two solo albums, Revolution in Me in 2003 and Ghosts in 2007. The next time I saw them was at Oxegen 2008, and by then Mutya had left the band and was replaced by Amelle, leaving Keisha as the only remaining original member.  It was a tad strange seeing the band with only one remaining member, but again, it was a festival and all we were looking for was a good time, which we definitely got! Another side note, just like Siobhan, Mutya went on to release her own solo work, a gr

Why did I cancel my Spotify account?

Earlier today, Mark Graham, Podcaster. Music Lecturer and ex of King Kong Company, posted on his socials some reasons why you might stop supporting Spotify, and it reminded me why I made that decision back in 2020.

So, why did I cancel my Spotify account 4 years ago?  And, just what did I do to fill its space? 

Let me explain...

In 2020, I'd read an interview with Daniel Ek, Spotify CEO, and in it, he made some rather disparaging remarks about musicians.  I thought to myself, why would I give my hard earned money to Spotify, if this is how they feel about musicians, my friends, who continuously feed Spotify with new music.

I did, however, keep my free Spotify account.  I used it to pre-save and share music from my musician friends.

Then, in 2021, it was found that Ek, via his investment company Prima Materia, had invested €100million into European Defence AI company, Helsing.  Whilst I do understand the need for defence, I'm just not a big fan of profiting off the war machine.

After reading that article, I closed my free Spotify account.

On top of all that, they recently changed their royalty payouts.  It basically boiled down to the rich artists get richer and the power artists can just feck off.

Also, as it happens, the previously mentioned Helsing has partnered with Rheinmetall, who have ties to the IDF.

I understand that Ek and companies he invests in are free to do with their money as they see fit, but, like them, I am too, and I'll not be going back to Spotify.  

What did I do for streaming music you're probably asking.  Well, over the years, I'd built up a rather big music collection.  When I lost my job back in 2009 due to the recession, I used some of that time to rip every CD I had to MP3 from 256Kbps to 320Kbps (the audio lovers out there are probably screaming "FLAC, why didn't you use FLAC??") and uploaded them to my home server.

On that server, I installed Plex.  Plex is a fantastic Client / Server system for managing and playing digital media.  In my case, my rather nice music collection.

The Plex App, when installed on a Laptop, Desktop or any of the Smart TV devices, works fantastic.  It's easy to browse and find your media.  However, on a smartphone, whilst it does work well, it's not quite up to Spotify standards for ease of use.  That's where Plexamp comes in.

What is Plexamp?  Well, to quote them "Plexamp is a beautiful, dedicated Plex music player with tons of goodies for audiophile purists, music curators, and music fans of all ages looking for their next aural fix." and I don't disagree!

There are two versions of Plexamp, one is Free, one is Paid.  You can find the differences out on this page, towards the bottom.  Personally, I use the Paid version, but that's just to support the Plex project itself.

It's not a solution for everyone.  You need a computer you can leave on 24/7, one with enough storage to hold your media library.  This, of course, implies that you have a media library.  If you don't, then you'll be listening to a lot of nothing.  

You could do what I do and that is to buy your music directly from the artist, either at a gig, through their website or from a 3rd party such as Bandcamp.  Many artists give you the choice of physical or digital copies of their music.  More recently, I've been buying the digital downloads.  It just saves me ripping the CDs.

I would also suggest that you backup your music collection.  I sync mine to a cloud service, so if something goes wrong, at least I can download them all again.  Better safe than sorry!

So that's the story behind why I quit Spotify and what I now use instead.  If you already have the computer hardware, it really is just a matter of downloading Plex and going for it.

Any questions?

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