iTunes vs. The Cloud

iTunes vs. The Cloud

I have spent over a decade building a collection of digital music. During that time, through many obsessive late nights, I made sure that my music remained in impeccable order. Each artist filled in, each album complete, and each year carefully researched. The library was organized by artist first, and then by album chronologically for each artist. Before the days of iTunes, I had to assign each file an ID3 tag individually, a process that took an unhealthily long time.

However, with the advent and quick rise of iTunes, inputting and maintaining music became immeasurably simpler. I would spend hours poring over my music and organizing it meticulously. I continued along this path for many years, and all was well. All was well, that is, until the cloud came and rained on my parade.

My iTunes library, now uploaded to Google Music en masse, has been relegated to the digital doldrums of my computer. Editing file names, artists and albums has become a chore, and one that I’m not man enough to undertake. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not even sure how to edit the details of my music once it’s uploaded. Is there a way? Please, someone tell me! Before it’s too late!

Now, I know that most streaming and storage services are just catering to the vast majority of people who do not have an unhealthy compulsion to organize their music libraries for several hours at all times of the day and night. But it would be nice if there were a service out there for the obsessively detail-oriented among us who cannot sleep soundly at night unless everything is in its right place. Sometimes the names of my songs are so altered in the upload that I cannot locate the music that I’m trying to find.

The cloud has undoubtedly made it easier for me to have extra space on my computer when I need it. And I can constantly update my friends about what I’m listening to and what they should try on for size. But, unless I’m using a streaming service like Spotify, I cannot upload my entire library to the cloud without sacrificing at least some of the meticulous cataloguing that took me days to achieve. Some might call this a fake problem. They’d tell me to let it go, to get over it. What’s the value in organizing a music library anyway? It’s not like it’ll sound any better.

That may be true. But the next time I can’t find the song I’m looking for in my own uploaded library, I’ll grow a little more bitter about the lack of customizability of Google Music, and this unintended consequence of storing music in the cloud.

By Jacob Hyman


Jacob Hyman has been a musician and writer for nearly his entire life. He has spent decades as a drummer, and has written about music for many reputed publications both in print and online. Jacob is a graduate of George Washington Universitiy, where he honed his witty journalistic style and studied psychology and music -- specifically drum performance. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and frequently tours the world with the band Freelance Whales.

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