My experience converting from Spotify to Google Music

Yesterday I spent a few hours converting from Spotify to Google Music. I had been waiting for this moment for some time (I'll explain in a minute), so when Google announced at I/O that they were rolling out a subscription music service, I jumped on it right away.

Google is my choice for a consolidated digital locker right now; that was a major influencing factor why I switched. When the subscription service arrived, it filled the gaps that kept me from using Google Music exclusively.

What Google does well:

  • Web client is dead simple, beautiful, and fully intuitive in my opinion
  • Android client is excellent too (with the latest update that is)
  • Well organized catalog of music
  • Music recommendations and "radio" are on par with Spotify (if not better on occasion)

Where Google separates themselves from the competition:
  • I can buy music to augment where subscription content is not available
  • I can upload my own music (homemade recordings from friends, music absent from Google's catalog, or music purchased from other places)
  • No software install required (for playing music)
  • Software for syncing my local music to Google Music just works (works perfectly on Linux too!)
  • Integrated with Google Play, which is integrated with Google Wallet; dead simple purchasing
  • Google had ~5 songs that were absent or greyed out in Spotify for some reason (see below about a few missing songs though)
The bad:

  • Converting playlists by hand took a few hours; I'm sure it's a matter of time before scripts or an official conversion tool comes along
  • Hit ~5 "Try again." errors; nothing serious. Trying again did the trick. With any new service I would expect small bugs like that.
  • Out of a large list of music, there were about ~10 songs that weren't in Google's catalog. I'm hoping in time they seek to land deals with the smaller labels.
  • Google is the master of search; there were a few things that didn't turn up in results like I would expect, but with the right phrase it would. It'll get better I suspect.
I started with Grooveshark, moved to Spotify, now I'm on Google Music. I'm happy with the consolidation; I'm just hoping this lasts for a while so I don't have to switch again.


Our presentation at API Strategy & Practice Conference

It's not so often the occasion where so many of people you follow on Twitter or whose software you use, can you see face to face, have a conversation with, and talk about a mutually enjoyable subject (as much as APIs can be enjoyed) -- this happened last month over two days at the sold out API Strategy & Practice Conference in NYC.

Kin Lane and 3scale did a great job bringing everyone together; enthusiasts, competing vendors, speakers, developers, etc. There was a wide breadth of sessions: companies talking about their API programs, start-ups showing off their stuff (and debating each other!), developers discussing techniques, and more. There was something for everyone. I think the general consensus was it was a success. I hear they're talking about a second one later this year.

We had the opportunity to speak at the conference on day two. Out presentation was about "Logging and Monitoring APIs" -- it was pretty well received I think. Like many large companies, we've got lots of APIs (and more coming down the pipe), and if you want to keep a confident pulse on the health of APIs, you have to log and monitor them in creative ways; we think we do a pretty good job at that, so we decided to share what we've learned with others. You can find the presentation here on SlideShare.


A visit to Amazon's AWS re: Invent conference

Last November I was in Las Vegas giving a talk at a conference that happened to be at the same time as Amazon's AWS re: Invent conference. It's not often I'd get a chance to hear Jeff Bezos speak in person so I was determined to make my way over to see what was up.

Some observations:
  • Overheard someone say, "Amazon budgeted for 1200, told vendors 2000, and 6400 people showed up." If you were keeping track of the live stream views, it hit 13k+
  • If the vendor floor size and number of booths was an indicator of how sprawling and established the ecosystem of AWS products and partners is, then I'd say they've easily captured the attention of vendors and customers by a large margin (but we all knew that already, right?)
  • Super high concentration of big name talent in one place was pretty awesome
  • Competitors sent people to scope things out among other things. Lots of Googlers, Microsoft people, etc.
  • No one was talking about competitors, let alone comparing them (save the S3 vs Google Cloud Storage price war that was happening during the conference)
  • Some notable tidbits from the Bezos "fireside chat" with CTO Werner Vogels:
    • All upper executives at Amazon take 2 full days of customer training in the trenches every other year.
    • Invest in "flywheels" -- things that are NOT going to change. In retail these things are: price, speed, selection. If you're in retail then you've got to see the talk for yourself to understand the description of this. Consider it mandatory; know you competitor.
    • Watch the talk here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4MtQGRIIuA
Below are some photos I managed to take while I was there.


Presenting at API Strategy & Practice Conference

In February +Eric Helgeson and I will be heading to New York to present at the API Strategy and Practice Conference. We're going to be giving a talk about monitoring APIs and how it can be used for anything from troubleshooting to extracting business intelligence.

If you're doing work in the API space, consider going to this one. The speaker line up is looking good and I bet many attendees will be practitioners, so there should be lots to share and learn.

If you want to grab a beer with us while we're there, just holler our way. We'd be happy to talk APIs!