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Author Topic: What's the situation with MC, Windows 10, and streaming music services?  (Read 18110 times)

Curtis

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Back in the old days of MC 8 or 10 or so, I could download protected music from Rhapsody to a folder on my PC that MC would auto-import. Then I could freely play my non-DRM purchased music with the subscription music from Rhapsody. I could select an artist and play albums from both sources, and I could create playlists with a mix of my owned and my subscribed/downloaded music. Now apparently with Windows 10 Microsoft has moved to PlayReady 3.0, (http://www.microsoft.com/PlayReady). Rhapsody will no longer download music to the PC (Rhapsody says it will but it won't on my current builds of Windows 10), even Windows Media Player seems to no longer work with the new DRM. Apple Music will download to the PC fine and apparently uses this new PlayReady DRM; Google Play has no download feature for PCs; Spotify downloads .files that can only be played back in Spotify; Groove downloads to the PC, not surprisingly, but has a terrible interface on my ipad.

So far it seems only Apple Music (.mp4) and Groove (.wma) download files that could theoretically be played back in other software, like MC.

1. Is any streaming service offering subscription downloads that can be integrated into my MC library and played back through MC?
2. Is it technically possible for MC to become "PlayReady" and play back one or more of these protected music formats?
3. If it is possible, is MC working on this, interested in this capability? It's a terrible shame that these streamers will integrate my music into their apps but I have to use their dumbed-down app, library structure, and audio quality when I have MC sitting right here. But to use MC there is a giant schism between playing my owned music and not being able to listen to my subscribed music without closing MC. In this state of affairs I'll probably end up living most of the time in the streaming software to listen to everything, but hating the experience!
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JohnT

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Ideally, we would certainly like to support more streaming services and allow easy integration into the MC library.  However, as you've discovered, they are making it harder and harder for a desktop software player like MC to do that.  Of course for many years we've had the subscription Performer streaming/download service but the only downloads they allow are 128kb wma files, so while they integrate into our library, they're not the greatest quality. Plus this is an older DRM technology that Microsoft is phasing out later in 2016.  We are definitely keeping an eye on this area in hopes we can add more streaming support in the future.
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John Thompson, JRiver Media Center

kosmicken

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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2016, 08:20:10 pm »

So, I went to Rhapsody's website this evening to change my payment info, and got redirected to Napster with a message at the top of the page that said "Rhapsody is now Napster." (Say what!? Didn't Napster merge into Rhapsody a few years ago?  I'm confused. By anyway.)  So I updated my account info as planned, then downloaded the new software.  As has always been the case when one service is rolled into another, my downloaded library doesn't exist.  So I downloaded one album from my library, and tried to open a track in MC, and it won't play.  I used to be able to play DRM-protected files from the major subscription services in MC as long as I opened the service's desktop software at least once a month to refresh the license for the tracks.  Is this feature no longer available?  (Admittedly, I have not tried doing this in quite some time, as I have been using Rhapsody mostly on my phone lately; maybe this ability has been gone for a while and I didn't know it.) Do I need to upgrade MC?  (I'm still rocking 17.0.189 because I've had no reason to upgrade; I always check out the free trial of the new versions but haven't found any features that I would take advantage of to justify paying to upgrade.)  Any help or advice would be appreciated.  Sorry if this has been discussed here before; if I missed something, please post a link to point me in the right direction.

Thanks!
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kosmicken

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Re: What's the situation with MC, Windows 10, and streaming music services?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2016, 08:24:53 pm »

I posted a new topic about this a few minutes ago before I discovered this one.  Is this the reason Napster downloads will no longer play in MC?  The last post here was several months ago. Any update?  I'm still rocking version 17 because there haven't been any features that I would take advantage of to justify paying to upgrade, but I'd gladly upgrade to the latest version if it had the ability to play subscription downloads.
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JohnT

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Re: What's the situation with MC, Windows 10, and streaming music services?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2016, 09:05:51 am »

When did the Napster downloads stop working?  If they use the same DRM technology that our Performer product was using, Microsoft probably shutdown the license servers that they were using.
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John Thompson, JRiver Media Center

JohnT

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Re: What's the situation with MC, Windows 10, and streaming music services?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2016, 09:15:48 am »

If you're using Windows 10, check out this link about DRM support removed in the Windows 10 anniversary update:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/25975/windows-10-loss-music-video-anniversary-update
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John Thompson, JRiver Media Center

kosmicken

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Re: What's the situation with MC, Windows 10, and streaming music services?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2016, 05:38:42 pm »

John,

I don't know when they stopped working. For me the problem started yesterday, when I download the new Napster software.  (I have a Rhapsody account, but I guess Rhapsody is now Napster.  Weird.  The Rhapsody mobile app works just fine and I haven't had to download a new app.)

I'm using Windows 7.
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Curtis

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Re: What's the situation with MC, Windows 10, and streaming music services?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2016, 07:51:19 pm »

I was with Rhapsody too and it did work under Windows 7. But Windows 10, as linked above, introduced a new protection scheme, which player software must incorporate in order to access the tracks. Media Center doesn't do that, and last I heard not even Windows Media Player in Windows 10 does it, or at least not yet. I left Rhapsody before it became Napster, but I would imagine Napster might not include the older protection Windows 7 uses? I switched to Google Play months ago, which also doesn't work with Windows 10 and Media Center. There is a  workaround, there are several programs for purchase and/or subscription that can strip the protection from music as it's played via Google Play, enabling it to be downloaded on a PC. Once downloaded Media Center can be directed to auto-import those folders and merge your subscription music with your owned music folders. So you could seamlessly listen to Band X's tracks from both sources and make playlists mixing them. On one hand, so long as you are paying Google or someone to stream music, it sounds ethical, not legal, to strip protection for your local use to be able to play back in the player of your choice so long as you pay your monthly fee. But ethically, doing that means that playing your favorite artist's track a huncred times is only counted the first time you stream it, and the other 99 times the artist doesn't get the pay per play payout by Google et al. So it hurts the very artists we like, whose streaming revenues are already low. In short, it seems we have to choose to listen to purchased music with MC and streamed music in the inferior player of your streaming company, and never the twain shall meet. Not the pleasant experience I'd like when listening to music.

Of course there is another way. Google Play and most other streaming software will read our purchased libraries into their streaming libraries, so we can have an integrated listening experience using the inferior player, but that's what we MC people don't want to have to do. I still think this is an important area for MC to master to stay relevant going forward. Unless the streaming model becomes totally unprofitable for the streaming companies, I don't see this mode of listening to music going away.
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