Studio711

Music

Moving From Groove To Spotify

spotifylogoTyla and I have been enjoying our Groove (Xbox Music) subscriptions. They work well on our phones, computers, Xboxes, etc. I have three main complaints about the service:

  1. I use it to play music through our whole-house FM transmitter. It crashes/stops pretty frequently and I have to restart it about once per day.
  2. There is no sharing of playlists. This is a huge negative for me. Sometimes I want to make my own lists, but very often I just want a curated list that somebody else generated. Or maybe I want to use the playlist that Tyla made of Elijah’s favorite songs. There’s no way to import/export or share playlists in Groove.
  3. There’s no family plan. Everyone buy’s their own subscription at full price.

With these thoughts in mind, I think we’re going to join the rest of the planet and switch to Spotify when our current subscriptions are up later this year. The first family member pays full price and additional family members are half price. It’s easy to switch but the only real pain point is moving our playlists over to Spotify. Manually recreating them would take forever.

There’s no great way to do this, but if you’re a geek, you can probably follow my vague instructions:

  1. Fire up Chrome. Browse to music.windows.com and open your playlist.
  2. Scroll down to make sure the whole playlist loads (it only grabs 50 songs at a time.)
  3. Press F12 to open the developer tools
  4. In the Elements tab, right click on the root HTML node and choose Copy.
  5. Paste that into notepad and save the file.
  6. Now you need to parse out the artist and song info. There are tons of possibilities here, but I used Power Query in Excel. Basically I filtered for the types of rows that had Artist and Titles. I stripped out all the extra info and voila. I built out a table with two columns: Artist and Title.
  7. I copied that table and went to Ivy. That site lets you create a Spotify playlist. It looks up each one of those songs in the Spotify catalog. You’re probably not going to find all of your songs in the Spotify catalog since the catalogs are different, but most of them will probably work.
  8. Ivy gives you a button to click that copies the playlist to your clipboard. Then you create a new playlist in Spotify and paste your clipboard into that playlist. Voila!

Easy? Nope. Hacky? Yep. But it saved me a bunch of time. There is an SDK for Groove but it doesn’t look like you can easily get playlist contents for a specific user. I started trying to code it up, but this was faster and I’ll never need to do it again anyway.

Music Tastes

goodmusictasteIf I flip on some music, I generally turn to a country station. But over the last few years, I’ve become more and more frustrated with country music to the point where I installed my own FM whole-house transmitter to play the country music that I enjoy. Today’s country music has strayed a long way from it’s roots and every song is about a truck in a field with a bonfire.

I’m a grumpy old man. I get that. But it looks like I’m more normal than I thought.

A study from a few months ago shows that people around my age “discover less-familiar music genres that they didn’t hear on FM radio as early teens, from artists with a lower popularity rank. Second, listeners are returning to the music that was popular when they were coming of age — but which has since phased out of popularity.” I’d say that sums me up pretty well. The study also shows that if you are male and/or a parent, the effect is increased.

So I may be a grumpy old man, but at least I’m not alone. Get off my lawn!

Country Isn’t Country

top40countryRant: As if we needed another sign that I’m turning into an old man, I no longer enjoy country music on the radio. Thankfully I don’t have to listen to the radio very often, but when I do, I struggle to find anything to listen to. I’ve listened to country for a long time but today’s country music is ridiculous. Every song is about a party in a field with trucks, bonfires and beer. How many songs about that do we really need? And why on earth are you using autotune in your country songs? This has been happening for the past 5-7 years but it’s completely gone now. It’s a new genre. I’ve given up hoping and waiting for the good stuff to come back and instead, I have my in-house FM transmitter playing a huge playlist of country songs from the 80s and 90s.

Grump grump harrumph. GET OFF MY LAWN!

Kids’ Music

Caspar-BabyPantsElijah loves music. He especially likes to listen to it in the car and when each song ends, he immediately makes the sign for “more.” Finding kids music that doesn’t make my head explode is a challenge, but we’ve locked onto a couple good singers so far.

  • Caspar Babypants – This is Chris Ballew who is/was the lead singer for Presidents of the United States. He lives in the Seattle area and now spends most of his time writing music for kids. He does lots of small, free shows which Tyla really enjoys attending. One of our favorite albums is his cover of a bunch of Beatles songs that have a fun kids message to them. I love the idea that Elijah and I are both enjoying listening to the same guy as we grow up!
  • Raffi – This is more traditional kids music, but he has a good voice and does a good job with his songs.

What else is out there? What albums do you fire up when your kids want music? I’m especially looking for ones that adults don’t mind!

Graduate Organ Recital

The video of the recital by one of our organists at church is finally completed! This was by the far the most complex event recording I’ve ever done. There were 4 video recorders and a professional audio track. Getting everything synced and color corrected proved to be quite the challenge, but I’m happy with the result. It’s just over an hour long, but you can jump to specific songs if you look for the links in the description. Dave has the audio tracks and recital program notes available on his DropBox account. Congratulations to Dave for finishing is graduate degree!