How to listen to music in 2020?

I’m sure this is being discussed here. But I have searched, and I’ve not found, so posting here. Moderators, please file me appropriately.

I’ll try to keep this short.
I was very happy with iTunes and my iPod / iPhone until about 10 years ago. Then, as most of us agree, it went to hell and I won’t use it.
I use Swinsian on my computer. It works, sort of like iTunes 2003. I’m mostly happy with it, but it doesn’t sync to modern handhelds or tablets.
I won’t use Apple Music, I’m not interested in a streaming system.
Consequently I don’t really listen to music when I’m travelling. I don’t have a system in place.
I need to rectify this. I need to be listening more. But I’m not sure where to start.
Streaming only makes no sense. Much of the time I’d like to listen I’ll be on a plane or in the middle of nowhere…
Where should I start? What are you all doing?
I carry a 2012 MacBook Pro (soon to be replaced by something lighter, when it fails). An iPad and and iPhone. I use the phone and tablet to listen to podcasts and Audible.


As I quickly discovered over in the Small Labels thread, if you’re interested in supporting small artists and want a solution/app that allows you to then listen to that music on the go, Bandcamp seems to be the place to be.


I moved pretty heavily to streaming (mostly Google Play Music) when I got a new car in 2014 with Bluetooth audio. But I recently realized, modern phones now have as much storage as the hard disk based MP3 players that went out of fashion. So now I’m using Media Monkey on my home and work computers and my phone, and mostly buying music on Bandcamp. Syncing isn’t as smooth as I would like and I still have some old stray badly tagged files I can’t seem to get rid of, but its 95% good.

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/me hates self for saying this, but
Spotify + download to device


I switched to Rockbox on an iPod Classic a number of years ago, which is fantastic as I can save things as 24-bit FLACs if I feel like it, and syncing consists mostly of drag + drop = done. As for on the computer, I use Clementine, which has been generally solid in its last few versions, on Linux at least (it becomes enfeebled when used on a Windows machine with a nastily full HD, mind).


I’m guessing for iThings the standard paying artists technique is something like buy off bandcamp on desktop, download, drag into iTunes, then plug in phone to sync. it’s annoying + there’s hiccups, but it works

super annoying that the bandcamp app can’t download music to an iPhone but I think it’s limited by bogus restrictions made by apple


Ah, I didn’t know you couldn’t download for offline listening on iOS bandcamp… that’s a shame.


I honestly miss my 250GB Zune. The software on PC was a joke, but the hardware and device firmware were beautiful in look, feel and sound. I feel like the portable music listening experience went downhill after that.


I’ve used spotify for the last couple years but have been gradually shifting to purchasing as much music as possible via bandcamp. My car has an SD card reader which makes it nice for this purpose.

I don’t like mobile phones, or the computer in general these days. Have considered ditching mine many times but it’s a difficult extraction, primarily for the ability to have access to millions of songs on a whim.

Does anyone have a recommendation perhaps for an open-source mp3 player that takes sd cards? Or some other novel way to consume music that doesn’t involve a mobile phone or computer? I’ve considered vinyl & tape but the storage & maintenance can become a chore, and release costs are high for artists. I would love it if we moved to a sd-card release format with liners / etc… and a simple open-source hardware player with a nice sounding amp/dac.


The last working setup that I enjoyed was a Subsonic server hosted from my (now defunct) windows desktop computer, sharing the entirety of my music collection for streaming over the Internet.

I used the iSub app on my iPhone to download full albums via the local WiFi network at home. The iSub app was like gold to me, because it was possible to view my purchased albums in the original directory structure I put them in rather then allowing the organization work to be done by tags. I miss this setup so very much!

im still rocking my iPod with no issues. there are a lot of youtube videos on how to even upgrade them…not that i have done that. but i have all of my digital music with me…all of it.

i do have a free spotify to creat playlist and to have a way to share music with the modern world tho cause no one can play my mix tapes.

at home im listening to records or playing my digital files into receiver speaker setup

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I use Spotify a lot, stream most of the time, but download when necessary. I know that’s controversial for some but it fits my lifestyle best.

For everything else, actual media I ‘own’… I use a streaming cloud based app called CloudBeats. You upload all of your music to Google Drive, Dropbox or Box, and then you can listen via streaming and/or download through the app.

I also do listen to Bandcamp streams on my phone through through the Bandcamp app.

I have no problem with streaming, in fact I prefer it in most cases. I don’t see the need to take up hard drive space with extra copies of something.

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There really is a difference between consuming music via a physical medium like vinyl vs pressing play on your phone though, isn’t there? There is also a difference between having your own copy of an album vs streaming in my mind. The albums I’ve purchased from band camp get a great deal more full-album-listens than the songs I stream from a playlist on Spotify in my own experience. They’re also treasured a bit more.

I miss the experience and focus that came with distraction-less (phone-less) listening.


I have a pretty decently large record collection that I basically never listen to anymore. I think in 2020 I’ve turned on my record player exactly 0 times so far :grimacing:. I don’t see this changing until my wife and I get a house. Our current apartment is pretty cramped and we don’t really have the record player set up in a convenient location.

I primarily stream music (Spotify at home, YouTube at work because Spotify is blocked) though I do listen to CDs in my car. I’m past feeling any sort of guilt about this though. I tend to go see live music about once a week and I’m pretty good about buying merch at shows. I also support local artists as much as I can! I feel like live music gives me my fix on dedicated listening and ensures I’m financially supporting artists.

I started this year telling myself I was only going to listen to music I paid for on bandcamp. I’ve used Spotify for years. I was kind of ashamed when it told me I listened to 500+ new artists last year. I feel like I have a problem, and I wanted to have the relationship I used to have with albums.

I downloaded Vox on my work and home computer. Downloaded the 8 albums or so I’ve purchased on bandcamp, and mostly just listened to Ben Vida’s Reducing the Tempo to Zero or Damien Jurado’s The Horizon Just Laughed. It lasted about 4 weeks, and then I started using Spotify again. I really should ignore the blogs/review sites. Curb that curiosity. Stop chasing the next thing.

Spotify is too convenient. I wonder what I would have been like as a teen if it had existed then (I spent so many hours downloading and previewing 30sec clips, so maybe not that different).



I use Spotify for all music listening. Everything I can’t find on spotify or I wanted to buy to express gratitude, I add as local files (and then download them onto my devices through spotify, so no need to do “streaming only”). Honestly, there has never been as good of a solution for listening to music. It’s amazing.


About a year ago I bought a Sony NW-A45 Walkman and am super happy with it. It now holds a 400gb SD card and can read Flac and Wav files - besides MP3, of course.

I love that is does nothing but play music. It is just so simple and has me excited about rediscovering old purchases like in the best iPod days.

It can’t stream music, though. I think some players can connect with Spotify but I just hate streaming.


Maybe not quite the solution you had in mind but an iPod classic with the SD card hack would work, then pop rock box on it.


I deleted Spotify a year or two ago and try very hard to focus on Bandcamp purchases. I figured it was ridiculous for Daniel Ek to be a depraved billionaire dude while all the artists on his platform are eating instant ramen. At home my Sonos speakers talk to Bandcamp directly and the quality seems fine. On the go presents more problems. I can stream while walking around-- but what if I’m on the subway, or on a plane, or cowering in a bunker as the world burns?

I used to download -> unzip -> organize -> add to iTunes -> sync to iPhone but honestly it is a tremendous hassle in modern consumer technology terms. Not enough to send me back to Spotify but enough to try out the above-mentioned CloudBeats.

Does anyone have a huge NAS for their music library? Any trouble syncing an iPhone or dedicated music player from there?


Hold on… I can put my own music into Spotify and it will play it? (I listen to a load of stuff that isn’t on the Spotify app).