Listening to music, I have a few modes:
- Pop on a CD or LP on my stereo at home to enjoy some focused listening. (Yes, I still buy CDs and even vinyl.)
- Stream playlists to my HiFi via Apple TV (or to my Logitech BoomBox in the kitchen) for background music.
- Put myself at the mercy of my carefully crafted smart playlists (similar to this) on my iPhone while commuting, which ensures I get a mix of new, old and neglected tracks.
- Use a few select iTunes playlists at work when I need to block out the background buzz of the office (especially when I need to focus on writing). These tend to be mostly the early symphonies of Philip Glass.
Theoretically, it should work perfectly. Practically, there’s a problem. I need very different playlists for 2, 3 and 4, and space is limited on my iPhone. Even getting a model with larger storage isn't going to help much.
At home, I keep my music is in a network-attached storage (NAS) device. When I last looked I had:
- 4,456 artists
- 3,164 albums
- 38,305 songs
…which amounts to 129.2 days of music, and 364.39 GB of data.
So no matter how big an iPhone (or even iPod) I get, a mobile device cannot hold all my music. (Steve Wozniak looks to have a similar challenge finding a suitable tablet which can store all the media he wants to access.)
To compound the issue, I've increased the bit rate I use to rip CDs from my original 128kbits/s to today's Apple Lossless as hard drives have gotten cheaper over the years. To get great sound, you have to take up lots of space.
And as I slowly re-rip my collection at higher bit rates, my storage challenge will only get worse.
I thought my problems were solved when Apple announced iTunes Match. It seemed built for me. Now I could pick and choose exactly what I was listening to at work—or anywhere else with a WiFi connection.
Unlike other services, it rather cleverly checks first if the track is already in the iTune's cloud. If it is, then no need to actually upload the track. Which saves the massive upload to the cloud, and more importantly for all my tracks ripped at lower bitrates - I get an instant upgrade in audio quality.
Then I tried to use it.
Apple limits the number of non-iTunes store bought tracks to 25,000—a number I passed many years ago.
iOS 7 was exciting. OSX Mavericks is interesting. But what I'm waiting for is the removal of this 25,000-song cap.
I’m no thief. And I know I’m not the only music lover barred from the service. Please take my money.
If it helps, I can send photos of all the CDs.