My original blog was Hoses of the Holy (ca. 2003), which ended up being abandoned in the dark days of 2007. I started this one in 2011. Scroll down for the archives!

Music Notes

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Another trip around the sun, and those annoying Spotify people are posting their annual roundup stats, the smug bastards. Older readers will be aware that I am having a little cost-of-living crisis with my streaming subscriptions, largely prompted by Apple putting their prices up for Music, TV+, and Arcade etc.

I’m all about the bang for buck, and I’ve always been fairly ruthless about cutting away the dead wood. With some trepidation, I went into the Apple Music 2022 Replay, which is their take on the thing that Spotify has been doing for years.

Reader, I have had a shocker. Although I’ve been paying £20 a month for an Apple One subscription, it turns out I have spent £240 this year for… not very much.

The stark truth: I listened to just 935 songs. And this is not the same 935 songs loads of times. This is just 935 songs, with the top song (“Sanctuary” by Hiss Golden Messenger) getting just 14 plays. That’s my TOP song. Fourteen (14) plays. And, actually, I’ve no idea why it’s my TOP song, because I like it no more than the next four on the list, which all had 12 plays. Four of them were Hiss Golden Messenger songs, one was “Nice and Easy” by Frank Sinatra.

Basically my top 10 songs is 8 Hiss Golden Messenger tracks (various albums), and two Frank Sinatra. And I can tell you that this is because I always stick on either Hiss Golden Messenger or Frank Sinatra when I’ve got a pile of exams or books to mark. It’s my getting-into-the-zone music.


I listened to 102 artists. The Top 10 starts with Hiss Golden Messenger: 1,238 minutes; Fleetwood Mac: 745 minutes; The Beatles/Paul McCartney/Wings: 1,396 minutes spread across all three (so the true #1) — all the way down to Brandi Carlile: 174 minutes.

As I said, it’s not very much to show for £240.

And my top album, at 122 plays, was the Station Eleven soundtrack, to which I just have to shrug my shoulders. You might guess, for a normal album, that means I played it through about 10 times? No. That’s probably twice. Two times. My top album. Played twice. As were albums like Who’s Next, which I also played twice. Meanwhile I played the new Revolver and the Stones Live at the El Mocambo about four times each, so probably they were the joint #1. Four plays.

Behind all these underwhelming statistics is my podcast habit. I subscribe to 38 active podcasts, and a lot more that are on hiatus, some of which might be coming back for new seasons soon. There’s also the fact that quite a lot of the music I do listen to (even in those marathon marking sessions) has been in my library for a long time, long before I subscribed to the streaming service. Still, I’m clearly wasting my money.

But because it’s a shared family account, I have to consider The Others. So I’m not sure if I can just go ahead and cancel. But wouldn’t it be ironic if Apple’s attempt to emulate Spotify and create smug-bastard levels of social media publicity actually led to people cancelling the service because they realise how little they use it?

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