Streaming media lack of continued availability frustration...

Posted by: Simon-in-Suffolk on 28 December 2018

Now that many of us having streaming sounding the same as local streamed content thanks to the use of streaming proxies etc... we have parity with SQ... but where there is still an annoying differentiation is content availability and availability continuation.

I, along with I suspect, many on this forum have quite an eclectic taste in music.. streaming can be great with the likes of Qobuz and Tidal to find some rare masters... However what I have increasingly found is that more rare masters over time start to disappear from the  streaming catalogue... they still appear in my favourite album collections, but when I try and play I get an error and often a message stating the distributor has withdrawn the streaming rights... and then nothing.. I am stuck...

So what I have learnt... if I really enjoy a master on streaming... then buy it.. that way itís gaurenteed to be available. I would say this has happened to about 5% of my saved favourite streaming albums and EPs... and yes it typically the more obscure... but frustrating 

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by nbpf

Well, I have enjoyed a Qubuz Sublime subscription for about one year but in the end I have cancelled my subscription.

My take on internet streaming sevices is that, for the time being, they are a great opportunity for discovering music but nothing more. In particular, nothing that can replace a well organized and perfectly tagged local collection.

As growth figures will saturate and new providers become available, internet streaming services will have to find ways of better supporting organizing and browsing their catalogues and customers' collections. Browsing the own Qobuz favourites, for instance, is just awful in comparison with browsing my local collection. And it does not take rocket science to automatically notify users when one of their favourite items is going to be withdrawn or somehow modified.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by DL_Audio

Hi Simon,

Iíve had the same experience but in some cases the album is not completely down but they have re-uploaded the album - I guess due to any problems regarding tags, naming etc. or if a newer special edition or repress/remaster is released. Others might be not allowed by some record companies subsequently?

This is quite annoying but if you click on the album that is grey out, you can go on to the other albums released by the artist and find it there... at least with tidal. 

I would really appreciate if there tagging would be better as they are listing the albums in their order of adding them to the catalog and not the original release date. Further if you go to information they often show only the re-release date and not of the first press... I would also agree with some here on the forum who are really enjoying the first press instead of rereleases and if so that the upload both and name them so you can differ and choose to your taste. 

The SQ is not comparable with the one on my NAS. Especially if you have recent releases as original 24bit. That makes a huge difference in my system.

D. 

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Simon-in-Suffolk

Hi, thanks for the replies.. yes sometimes a new master replaces, but often the title appears to completely disappear, at least for me. 

Agree about tagging and the need new way of organising content..perhaps we might see some improvements here before too long...

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Nick Lees

Interesting Simon. Over the last 3 years I have accumulated about 20 pages of Qobuz favourites and recently I thought I'd do some housekeeping. To my surprise, about 10 albums were no longer available to stream (or buy). Fortunately I use a rule of thumb that if I play something more than twice I'll buy it so no great damage was done.

Annoyingly though one of the disappeared was Jon Hassell's ECM album Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street, which I'd meant to buy. I eventually sourced the CD from Discogs, which was fine, but now I discovered it's back on Qobuz as as 24 bit version.

 

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Bert Schurink

The availability is definitely an issue, and I have seen the same issue happening with Qobuz as Nick. So I per definition make a difference between music I own and music I do not own. I donít rely on streaming for my music provisioning - for me itís just there to explore new music. By the way similar issues can be seen in the visual platforms like Prime Video and Netflix...

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Innocent Bystander
Bert Schurink posted:

...

By the way similar issues can be seen in the visual platforms like Prime Video and Netflix...

The difference for me is that mostly I watch something once and donít want to keep returning to it, which is the opposite to my approach to music...

The topic of this thread is an interesting observation as lack of certainty of continuity of perpetual availability is one reason I would not entartain an online streaming service as the source of my music, it having been my presumption that titles wouldnít remain available forever just as I had onser ed with Netflix, and this confirms it.  I imagine the issue is not restricted to any particular genre or whether or not the are Ďmastersí, but might also be related to populariy, or rather lack of - if so the less mainstream oneís tastes the greater the risk.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by ChrisSU

With Tidal, I have occasionally found a track or album becomes greyed out and won't play. There is no explanation, but I assume that too is down to licensing - or perhaps they are just trying to declutter their servers if demand is very low?

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Obsydian

Interesting I found this on Tidal and also now on Qobuz, which I was just about to pay for a year upfront, but very irritating to have an album in favourites and then it's...

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by SimonPeterArnold

Yes this is factor of streaming for audio and film  that won't go away until the music anf film biz sorts out how they license material. This is the reason I'm not loyal to one particular service, it also made me return to purchasing again after many years of just streaming. 

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by charlesphoto

Itís most likely down to the label or artist pulling something for licensing reasons. Could be a myriad of reasons, everything from  in band wrangling over songwriting rights to creating demand for an upcoming vinyl only release. Lots of reasons 

I do think weíve gotten a bit spoiled. For the price of a cd and a half a month we can have instant access to millions of cd quality albums on demand. One less lunch out. Remember local record stores, where one was dependent on the taste of the Ďbuyerí? And you had to vists several, or order and wait, and wait, etc etc. Well, think of Tidal, et al as record store rentals. Not any single one is going to have everything, so perhaps subscribe to a couple, and you are such a completist, and actually have the time to listento such much choice! But Iíve never stepped into a record store that literally had millions of titles to choose from. Not even Amoeba LA! 

And if it truly is rare, then best to have it in physical form. I do know my own local collection of a bit over a thousand ripped cds is a good core collection that can never really go stale. Tidal is the icing, and most of the Tidal Iíve added I could pick up physically if ever needed I (and I have pretty eclectic taste). I do have a basic turntable setup (being limited by the DAC V1 digital only inputs) that exists for pretty much one record. I do have more, but the streaming setup sounds so much better I just donít see the point adding beyond what I have, being limited in both funds and space.

And perhaps we need to embrace the concept of scarcity breeding desire again. Iím well know for my documention of the grunge scene here in Seattle, and the one thing in interviews I bring up is part of the lasting interest of the grunge scene is that it was the last great music scene pre-internet/digital age, so thereís still a certain mystique and inaccessibilty around it, yet the music and its themes remain relevant to young people and the musicians still active. 

Iím not quite sure how streaming has panned out for the artists themselves. Probably about the same as stock photography for photographers - a few will do well, and the rest pennies (I have an .18 cent check pinned to the wall to drive that home). But like many photographers canít stand Instagram (count me as one) we do it nonetheless for the Ďexposure.í

For the consumer its a golden age. Iím not always sure thatís the best thing. 

 

 

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Nick Lees

Streaming services pay the artists miniscule amounts (and still they struggle to make any profit). Itís one of the reasons I buy if I like it (and if itís feasible I buy from Bandcamp). Even then the market is so diffuse and the free streaming options so profuse that less-than-major bands struggle to survive unless they have a very robust touring rep.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by DrPo

every time I see an album "grayed out" and unable to play I can search and find it again... annoying but I can live with it.

my biggest issue with streaming services is that it does not allow to have a personalized hierarchical favorites view, e.g. "Classical" -> "Chamber Music" -> list of favorite albums.

I am sure this will be the case within the next few years

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by Singlespeed

For myself, I'd rather spend my money on CD's. It's surprising how many I can buy (new & used) for the price of a subscription service. I try to support my local HMV too as it's the last CD store left in town :-( Part of the enjoyment of collecting music is the bit-perfect ripping process whilst reading the sleeve notes & then sitting down & enjoying the album 

For new music discovery I tend to use Utoob & radio stations

Streaming services just seem a bit transient to me....

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by Robiwan

i love streaming media like Spotify and IRadio. 

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by Timmo1341
Singlespeed posted:

For myself, I'd rather spend my money on CD's. It's surprising how many I can buy (new & used) for the price of a subscription service. I try to support my local HMV too as it's the last CD store left in town :-( Part of the enjoyment of collecting music is the bit-perfect ripping process whilst reading the sleeve notes & then sitting down & enjoying the album 

For new music discovery I tend to use Utoob & radio stations

Streaming services just seem a bit transient to me....

Youíve vocalised exactly how I feel. I very occasionally use the free version of Spotify on my computer to have a quick listen to an artist a friend might have recommended, but thatís all. Iíve tried both Tidal and Qobuz, and in both instances gave up after a week or two. I prefer to browse alphabeticallly through my collection (about 3,500 ripped CDs) using the Naim App, than randomly or via genre on a streaming service. It also feels very much that Iím playing my music from my collection rather than something Iíve simply borrowed! Iíve bought, via Amazon, many second hand CDs on the recommendations of this forum and rarely been disappointed. If I donít like them I delete them and either sell them on or give them to the local BHF store. Although Iíve noticed quite an increase recently in 2nd hand prices, I can still purchase most of what I want for less than £7-8 inc. p&p, and on average can buy about 7-10 albums a month for what I would have paid in subscriptions. Finally, I still prefer the sound of my own streaming to that of either of the aforementioned, and the ability to download onto my KANN for listening away from home without any reliance on connectivity.

Old fashioned I know, but thatís never been in short supply on this forum!

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by Innocent Bystander

Spotify has a huge selection and is free - great for checking out new things, for which the quality is adequate. uTube likewise, though it can be a more of a pain because sometimes multiple versions, naming not always the same as the album, and sound quality rather variable (but still OK for deciding if IIke a piece of music). Iíve never got on with radio because there is too much I dislike and I donít enjoy sitting through things I dislike or simply am not in the mood for waiting for something I like to crop up.

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by Simon-in-Suffolk

Where I have found web streaming has really helped is in the area of compilations ... I used to buy CD compilations as tasters... now I tend to stream them... if I enjoy them as discussed above, I either buy a similar compilation or the original albums/EPs

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by David Stewart

Personally I'd be very happy to buy 16-bit FLAC downloads rather than amass more CDs which I'm only going to rip anyway. However the current pricing model with many download suppliers makes no sense. Take for example Paul Simon "In the Blue Light" FLAC download on 7-Digital £11.49, CD on Amazon (inc. a free MP3 download) only £6.99.

Taking into account the download suppliers have no packaging or distribution costs, negligible storage cost and provide no booklet or additional material it really is hard to see how they can justify the price! Sadly I can see many going the way of HMV if they don't get their act together and come up with a more competitive offer. Interesting that Amazon still hasn't started to offer lossless downloads. it would probably destroy the opposition if it did?

Like many I use Tidal for discovering new music, but I'm very happy with its streaming quality and so tend to use it for regular listening as well and am likely to continue doing so until such time as I can buy lossless downloads at a reasonable price. 

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by SimonPeterArnold

I agree with you David, the price of digital files is just ludicrous. They really should be cheaper than the cd version but seldom are. I end up buying most of mine on cd from Amazon new or second hand or from DiscOgs if I can't find it any where else or I pop along to my local 2nd hand vinyl and cd shop if I have the time to browse. I stream to find new music and add them to my collection, if I listen to it a lot then I buy it.

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by DWO-Naim

Question to those who found music missing/greyed out. Was this only whilst browsing the site or playing playlists from site. Did you also lose access to tracks/music if you had downloaded them for listening to whilst off-line? Just thinking this may be an option to retain access to favourites if they are likely to be moved for whatever reason.

Never tried this myself so happy to be told Iím off beam here. Appreciate it mat be difficult to ďguessĒ what may be moved but if it is a rarity them may be a way around this issue.

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by Erich

Simon,  availability is an issue not only for rare masters. I usually don't mark albums as favourite but in the few cases I have done that after a while some are not available. The playlist I built for christmas last year this year was with many tracks unavailable. As you said streaming services are a good way to find new music and replay it in a decent SQ.

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by likesmusic
Singlespeed posted:

For myself, I'd rather spend my money on CD's. It's surprising how many I can buy (new & used) for the price of a subscription service. I try to support my local HMV too as it's the last CD store left in town :-( Part of the enjoyment of collecting music is the bit-perfect ripping process whilst reading the sleeve notes & then sitting down & enjoying the album 

For new music discovery I tend to use Utoob & radio stations

Streaming services just seem a bit transient to me....

Music is transient. You go to a concert. It is gone. You canít buy it. You canít own it,

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by Simon-in-Suffolk

True - but it isn't the music we are owning a copy of - its the recording - and by definition a recording is a captured moment or period  in time - and so is not transient.

 

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by Bowers
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

True - but it isn't the music we are owning a copy of - its the recording - and by definition a recording is a captured moment or period  in time - and so is not transient.

 

Hi Simon,

 

Think this is the very technical explanation of "transient" so would like to add:

Listening to music and watching/listening a concert is about feeling and emotion during the moment. The memory/impression of it could fade and our rating of it in time will be influenced by new insights/perspectives.

I'm pretty sure that most of us enjoyed several music-recordings in the past, but at these days don't even bother to listen to them any more and judge the music as "transient"...........

It's not about a recording, it's about music and how it is interpreted by the listener at the moment it is playing.

We can be sure about one thing: it's all transient as soon as our brain tells us it is.

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by engjoo
ChrisSU posted:

With Tidal, I have occasionally found a track or album becomes greyed out and won't play. There is no explanation, but I assume that too is down to licensing - or perhaps they are just trying to declutter their servers if demand is very low?

Same here. It is rather disappointing.