Why is moving your CD library to streaming services so hard?

Last week I thought I’d finally bite the bullet and start getting rid of some of my CD collection. The simple fact of it is that I now use Rdio for the bulk of my listening, with Spotify occasionally getting some use too. Compact Disc has gone from being a prized possession to a fairly anachronistic format for me and, out of sheer laziness if nothing else, I find myself simply reaching for my phone and plugging it into the nearest stereo or iPod dock when I want to listen to music.

My rules for The Big Cleanup were simple: if its on Rdio or Spotify, its out of here. Before I got rid though, I wanted to catalogue what I had to some kind of ordered database. That way, in the event of a service going down, losing my albums or generally disappearing, I had some kind of backup of what I’d owned. Having asked around, Tom Davenport recommended the excellent Delicious Library 2. The killer USP of this Mac program is that you can scan the barcode of your product using your webcam and it will identify the item and catalogue it accordingly. Unlike other programs I’ve used, its lightning quick and in no time at all, I’d built a complete, structured database of not just all my CDs, but also all my DVDs too (the next target in my “move to a digital library” initiative).

I now had all my music in an ordered database. In addition, that database could be exported to a variety of formats: XML, CSV etc. This however, was where the penny dropped: there is no means that I’m aware of to take that ordered data and import it to either Rdio or Spotify.

In theory, this cannot be that hard. If I have all my CDs catalogued with UPCs and other unique identifiers, there must be a way to scan that and match it to the same release in Rdio or Spotify. So why are such tools not provided by these streaming service providers? Rdio, to their credit, has an excellent scan-and-match tool for iTunes, which will scan your music library and add those releases to your Rdio account, but both services fail to provide any means to do the same for physical releases.

To me that seems a little odd. The writing has been on the wall for some time now that CDs as a format are dying out, and coupled with the sheer convenience that streaming services offer, I would imagine I am by no means the only person looking to shift from retaining a raft of bulky physical copies to keeping a digital library instead. Eamonn Forde did point out that someone had made Covify; a website that scans your album and matches it in Spotify. However when I tried it, it wouldn’t load – and if it did, it would still mean rescanning every CD, which when you have thousands is far from appealing.

So – am I missing something? Is there a tool out there which can do this? Or is it simply a massive gap in the market waiting to be filled?

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