iTunes Music Subscription Service: How Does it Work?

iTunes music logoiTunes Music is basically like Spotify by Apple. They offer a free three-month trial subscription so you can try it out without paying, but make sure to change the auto-renewal option so you don’t get charged if you forget. (To do so, go to Subscriptions and select Manage, then Renewal Options.)

If you do get charged and want a refund, you can try contacting Apple. They have sometimes given refunds, but it’s not guaranteed.

What Do You Get with a Paid iTunes Music Account?

With a paid account, you can listen to anything in the Apple Music Library at any time (including offline if you download it), as well as Beats 1 radio station where they have quite a few exclusive big names — Drake just premiered his new album “Views From the 6” on Beats 1.

You also get “expert music suggestions” as Apple says, but don’t expect Trent Reznor and Jimmy Iovine to take you out to dinner.

Get it (or the free trial) from the Apple site or Play Store (if you have an Android). After the first three months, it’s $9.99 per person or $14.99 for a family plan. You can also get it on Apple Watch, TV, or CarPlay.

What Does Spotify Premium Do?

Spotify Premium logo

Spotify Premium is, as you probably guessed, the “premium” or paid version of Spotify, a music streaming service that allows you to listen to almost every song or album that’s ever been released.

It currently costs $9.99/month (or $4.99 for additional family members or students).

Spotify Free vs. Premium

Spotify Premium:

-No ads/commercials. You won’t be interrupted every few song with a pesky voice hawking Budweiser.

-Higher quality sound. (Though the quality of the free version is not noticeably bad.)

-You can download music and listen to it offline. Say you’re going to be traveling, you could literally set it to save thousands of songs to your device so that you could listen to them even when there’s no internet or cell service.

-Play any track you want at any time (versus shuffle-only for free accounts).

Spotify Free:

-Regular commercials (every few songs). Pretty on par with how often a radio station would play ads.

-Lower quality sound (though again, not terrible by any means).

-You can only listen in shuffle mode.

-You’re pissing Taylor Swift et al off.

So is it worth it? We think so. If you listen to a lot of music, you’re probably not going to like being stuck with shuffle-only when trying to listen to your favorite album, or only being able to listen with an internet connection.

What is Scrobbling? scrobbling logo

Scrobbling refers to tracking the music you listen to via “Scrobbles” are what calls plays of each song.

Once you download the app, it tracks your iTunes (or Spotify, Tidal, etc) plays so that every time you listen to a song, it counts as a “scrobble.”

For example, if you listened to “Quit Playing Games With My Heart” by the Backstreet Boys (or David Byrne or whoever you claim you’d be listening to) ten times, that would mean you had “10 scrobbles” of that song. So the definition of a scrobble is simply playing a track.

If you listened to a “Boyfriend” by Tegan and Sara 5 times, but you’d listened to So Jealous, Sainthood, yadda yadda tracks 200 times, you would have “205 Tegan and Sara scrobbles.”

Where Can I See What I’m Scrobbling?

Scrobbles (or plays) are tracked on your profile so you can see how often you listen to Metallica, but you’re also outed for listening to the less cool parts of your music collection. So prepare to face some judgment over Coldplay scrobbles (we would know).

If you don’t have a account yet, you can sign up here. Happy scrobbling.

The 1975 at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, California April 22, 2016 Review

The 1975
The 1975

First of all, what a well-designed show. Starting promptly at 7:30, openers  The Japanese House and Wolf Alice, who evoked a similar feeling but carved their own names in stone, captivating even the saltiest show veteran. Dazzling lights from all angles – yet, for the most part, using delicious, design-based ways of displaying light instead of the usual blaring strobe-lights that are all fluff and no real guts. Each of the opening bands sticking to exactly 30 minutes. The 1975 playing for an hour and a half. Outfits on point, beautiful venue, ending by 10:45 (why do so many bands — or show-goers, do any actually prefer this? — want to play until 1:30am?) … they got the details down.

The performances by all bands surpassed expectations. They had their shit together. It was the perfect combo between “concert” and “show.”

The 1975 projected the 80’s better than the actual 80’s. Singer Matty Healy strutted around the stage like a goth peacock, and it was fantastic. Both Adam Hann and Ross MacDonald played keyboard while also holding down guitar and bass respectively. They truly go above and beyond even the typical great guitarist or bassist with the sounds they contribute to the band; lush elements of audio color. George Daniel sat like a king banging out beats on his drum throne. Though they played many slower songs, it was worth it since they played for so long and still pulled out classics like “Heart Out.”

Powerhouse Pop Performance

It really is phenomenal how many catchy songs this band has written with their first two albums alone, and they delivered the feelings live. A big progression from even just a few years ago when they played the Fillmore in San Francisco. Despite not always knowing how to handle drugs or romance, The 1975 take their band seriously and it shows.

New York Dolls Self-Titled Album Review

New York Dolls Self-Titled Album
New York Dolls Self-Titled Album Cover

If you didn’t know about the Dolls’ place in history, style, and connection to punk, their self-titled debut could easily come across as classic rock ‘n roll. Which it is. All of the best punk bands have always been rooted in melody, however muddied and rolled through glass, and the New York Dolls were a perfect precursor to that – painting a rebellious sheen over a jagged box of rhythm.

It’s easy to listen to one of the less memorable songs on this album and think “Yeah, that’s pretty good” (as opposed to great). But when you think about the fact that this album came out years before The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones… so many of the key players in what would become “1977 punk” were at Dolls’ shows, and influenced to start said bands because of them. In that light, this album becomes even more impressive. Similar to an album like Raw Power for it’s place in historyit gets even better when you appreciate how groundbreaking it was.

Listen to it on Spotify here.