So I tried to switch to Apple Music. I was sick of Spotify and its thousand little problems and I missed iTunes. (Actually I missed Winamp, but that's not an option.) iTunes feels less like a spreadsheet. It handles device downloads better. It works great with Siri and my Apple TV. Plus it's got all the music I actually own, including all the weird little mashups and SoundCloud downloads that Spotify can't give me.
But it's lonely over on Apple Music. Sometimes I want to see what my friends are listening to. And whenever someone shares an album or playlist on the web, they sure don't link to Apple Music. Plus I don't know how to make Apple alert me about new music from my favourite artists.
So every now and then I crack open Spotify. And I hate audio ads, so I keep paying for Premium. I thought I'd hate juggling two apps. But so far, it's actually pretty nice! I can afford to waste the money. And I have a few options for moving playlists back and forth, like Move to Apple, S.t.A.M.P. and SongShift.
So now I'm looking for more ways to combine two competing mediocrities into one pretty good solution. For example:
- Instapaper and Pocket both run curated and "most popular" lists of articles to save. (Instapaper makes you log in.) I'm an Instapaper user, but I check into Pocket's trending lists now and then, and save everything to Insta.
- Since the iPhone sucks now, maybe you've ended up with a Mac and an Android. You can sync them pretty smoothly.
- The Apple TV has no Spotify app, but you can stream music to your Apple TV from your phone or laptop using Spotify's built-in Airplay functionality.
Combining two competitors is always a bit janky. But it feels — and this will sound pathetic — a little thrilling not to be locked into one ecosystem. We all do it sometimes; we run Gmail on our iPhones or run iTunes on Windows or repost our tweets to Facebook.
And much as all these companies would love to lock us in, we should try playing them against each other more often. Because none of these companies can do everything right.