Shazam updated with Rdio playback

20140715-183707-67027567.jpgSeriously, you get something on your mind and then it is everywhere. I’ve been thinking a lot about streaming music lately and today Shazam updated to include some of that.

Shazam is the app by which you can hold your iPhone up toward a speaker playing music and it will tell you what that music is. You can probably find this app in the music section but I think it’s properly filed and catalogued under Alchemy.

What’s new today is that once you’ve heard some music and Shazam has told you what it is, it can now play you the whole thing via the Rdio streaming service. That is the specifically new thing in this latest update and it does require you to have an Rdio account.

But to try it out for you and also because I’d been meaning to try Rdio for myself anyway, I got such an account and then I checked Shazam.

It’s true. I went through all the previous songs I’d had Shazam identify in the bars and clubs of my exotic lifestyle and there was an Rdio button. But there was also a Spotify one. That’ll be because I have a free Spotify account.

So on the one hand, I caught the news about Rdio yet had missed the one about Spotify whenever that was added. And on the other hand, I went off trying Rdio all day. It has one advantage over Spotify: it lets you use all the premium features for 14 days so I was able to get it to play me entire albums in sequence. That’s as compared to Spotify’s free version only allowing shuffled songs and to iTunes Radio’s way of not necessarily playing you the album at all.

Concluding the streaming music debate – a bit

Previously… I write to music, always have done, I get into ferociously irritating habits of listening to exactly the same piece over and over again. I get a lot of headphones as Christmas presents. I resisted streaming music because I had what I feel is a big collection. But then I tried streaming.

Actually, just to break the Previously and tell you something new: I’ve realised why I tried. I said before that it was iTunes Radio and that’s true, I got access to that early and enjoyed hearing new music. I’ve steadily less enjoyed the steadily increasing number of ads on iTunes Radio but I’ve also realised that its way of playing you types of music rather than letting you specify artists or albums and hearing only those got a bit wearing.

And I heard a song.

I forgot that I could check back in iTunes history to see what it was and instead stupidly spent a while googling every lyric I could be fairly sure I remembered. And I found it.

It was Come to My Window by Melissa Etheridge. Love it.

And I love it enough that I once again tried Spotify. At least with Spotify, I thought, you could name a specific track and play that.

This is sort of true. And it’s also definitely true now that Spotify is free on iPhone and iPad – which is almost certainly true because of the competition from services such as iTunes Radio. Everybody wins, and it earns the artists nothing. Or very little, anyway.

Last time I mentioned this, it was because I’d found this article explaining all the various streaming services and I intended to investigate them. I intended to do this because I was sick of iTunes Radio – I’ve since come back around to it, it’s a mood thing with me – and because Spotify was irritating. I realise they want you to pay a subscription price and not only do I understand that but, spoiler alert, I’m now today thinking of it. But for trying out the service, I thought free was helpful.

But Spotify wouldn’t stick to the music I asked for, it would bound off places playing me other things that might be fine, yes, but I couldn’t stop them when I wanted to. In the end, I would just quit Spotify and force it to restart again. You can’t do that very easily while driving.

Only, today I tried it again. Instead of my usual beloved BBC Radio 4, I had Spotify and a playlist with about 25 songs on it. Including the Etheridge. For 170 miles driving, maybe 2 miles walking and for 90 minutes on buses today, I listen to those 25 songs. Over and over.

There were many, many interruptions for ads and it worries me a bit that most of them were what’s called a house ad: if you can’t sell an ad spot to someone, you use it yourself to advertise something of your business. You want to have some house ads, but you need the revenue from outside companies.

But apart from those understandable interruptions, Spotify played me those songs of mine for a not-very-understandably long time.

I’m a fan. I think. I’m going to play it a bit more to see if I go off it as I have at times with iTunes Radio. And I’m going to wait a bit to see when iTunes Radio officially launches in the UK because the price for it includes some extra benefits and is also substantially cheaper than Spotify. Both Spotify and iTunes Radio start at free but then to get the benefits of the paid-for services, it’s £9.99 UK or $9.99 US per month for Spotify and £21.99 or $24.00 US per year for iTunes Radio.

But for the meantime, I think I’m a convert. That’s a very strange feeling for a man who remembers vinyl, who remembers CD coming in, who lived through DVD coming in and then dying away. But it’s true: I had a very good time today with Spotify.

For streaming music, start here

I play a lot of music while I work yet I’ve been a slow convert to streaming music. Perhaps it’s the millionth time of hearing every track I own that has converted me, maybe it’s just that I tried out iTunes Radio and liked it more than I expected.

But the problem is that here I am, converted , yet I can’t stay converted. I still like iTunes Radio though the increasing number of ads is discouraging me. (You can go ad-free if you subscribe to iTunes Match. But I’ve only got iTunes Radio access because I have a US iTunes account. All my music is in iTunes UK so even if I paid the subscription, I wouldn’t get iTunes Match on that. The fee is $25/year which is fine for just getting radio but knowing it should also give me this other Match feature makes it hard to pay up.)

Very often I want to listen to a particular artist , album or song, though and and iTunes Radio doesn’t guarantee any of that. You choose an artist and get, say, Suzanne Vega Radio which has her plus similar artists. (There are no similar artists to Suzanne Vega, iTunes is lying.) But it’s five to ten and pick ’em whether you get to hear any Vega and close to no chance you’ll hear the song. No chance at all that you’ll hear the album.

So faced with a lot of driving recently, I tried Spotify again. I try Spotify from time to time and can’t ever remember why I stop. Except now. Now I remember. You can get Spotify to play a list of your favourites – or a friend’s list – but at some point soon it will go off the reservation and on to music it’s sure you’ll like. It might be right but I was liking that music fine enough.

You can’t always switch or skip that stuff, either. So Spotify irritates me.

There are many other firms and options, though, and that’s what this linked article is about. There aren’t as many services for us in the UK as there are in this American article but the issues and points are interesting and well made.

I’m pondering this lot. Take a look yourself at MacObserver’s Head to Head Comparison of 14 Streaming Music Services

Now iTunes Radio is rubbish

I like it. I was listening to iTunes Radio for some hours this morning. Did get sick of the ads again, but I like the music and I’m not sure I’m alone in this. But allegedly, reportedly, I am because rivals Pandora and Spotify are far better – and because Apple was too arrogant to see this.

“Pandora is an awesome radio that blows iTunes Radio out of the water. Seriously, iTunes Radio sucks and it sucks because of Apple’s arrogance,” one former, mid-level [Apple] employee said. “I was floored by the decision-making skills by management over and over again.”

Apple employees confirmed that management actively ignored iTunes’ streaming competitors, with some managers refusing to open or use Spotify. One source said that as recently “as last year,” some members of management didn’t even know that Spotify was an on-demand streaming service, assuming it was just a radio service.

“The management in particular were pretty much tone-deaf in what Spotify was and that’s why they’re panicking now,” the source said. “They didn’t understand how Spotify worked, which is why they thought iTunes Radio would be a Spotify killer.”

“Arrogant” Apple Managers are the Reason Apple Needs Beats – Aylin Zafar, Buzzfeed (5 June 2014)

I don’t know. It has the ring of truth yet the piece as a whole is so down on iTunes Radio that I doubt the details. Still, it’s an interesting read and if right, may mean that Apple’s new purchase of Beats will lead to something better.

It’s an ugly headline that has Apple in it twice but otherwise you believe those quotes, don’t you?

Six months with iTunes Radio

It’s still not available in the UK but it’s coming and what we’ll get here is a tried-and-tested version. I’ve been listening here in the UK since about December – I have both US and UK iTunes accounts so I can legally tune in – and the service has developed even in that short time.

Primarily, it’s added more ads.

You know that it’s an ad-supported service. Every few tracks, you get an ad. Interestingly, they’re usually video ads so while I often have iTunes way in the background behind a lot of other documents, there’ll be a corner visible and suddenly it’ll start moving. Very distracting.

But it’s become more distracting because at first there were so few ads that you noticed how few there were. Now you notice how many – and at times you notice how often the same ones are played. For a while there I could tell you every line of a Macy’s advert.

We can expect that the same thing will happen in the UK: it feels less that Apple has a plan for how many ads it will ramp up, more that it depends how many it gets. A few firms will try it out at first and then it’ll take off it won’t.

But now it also looks as if there will be more programmes, more actual non-music programmes. Right now it has none whatsoever. But US sources – you think that means rumour sites and it does, but – say that Apple is going to stream the World Cup over iTunes Radio.

Exit William.

I do recommend iTunes Radio but it depends on your starting choice. The way it works is that you type in the name of a song, an artist, a genre or perhaps a decade and you get a station. That station might start with the particular song, it might start with that particular artist, or it might not.

After very, very many different stations, I plucked “4 Non Blondes” out of the air because I like What’s Up. And it’s been a great find: I’m sure I must’ve heard What’s Up on it some time but generally I love everything it’s played me as well.

Sometimes I’m iTunes Radioed out and in principle I like the idea of spoken-word shows but I keep coming back. I just want to see what happens when Apple absorbed its new purchase, the Beats subscription service.

Read more about iTunes Radio on Apple’s site

Recommendation – Mac Power Users podcast

This is just a general recommendation for the whole series. Around a year ago, I was looking into whether it was worth my buying a Mac application called Hazel and my research led me to an edition of Mac Power Users. I remember listening to that on my way somewhere and learning that it was episode 79. They're now, today, on episode 187.

I'm sure I haven't listened to all of them but without doubt I've heard more than ninety of them.

Katie Floyd and David Sparks present this weekly show about Macs, iPads, iPhones and suchforth. Typically they'll take a topic – today it's a rather general one on word processing but it can concentrate on something more specific like Hazel or Evernote – and will bat through the basics and on to tips about it all. Even if you know the topic, they tend to have found new angels on it and it is a running joke that every listener ends up spending more money than they want because we've been convinced about some new software or hardware.

The topic interests me because I am pretty fully in the Apple scheme of working and if you aren't, there is nothing here for you.

But there are many podcasts about Mac things and I've tried a lot of them yet rarely got through an entire episode. Generally they are so poorly produced that the BBC Radio man in me starts twitching. Turn up that microphone. Stop leaving dead air. Bother to learn how to pronounce your guest's name. Things like that stop me listening and Mac Power Users is far more professional than that.

It also avoids the other main thing that stops me listening to various podcasts. Floyd and Sparks are equally knowledgeable and have similar experiences but they are sufficiently different that when one of them tells the other something, you believe that other one doesn't know it. I loathe the common format where one presenter tells another some amazing fact and the second one is appropriately amazed – but I can't help thinking they mustn't have read the script or paid attention during the rehearsals.

At least two presenters are better than many. There's a type of show that used to be known in UK radio as the zoo format: many presenters all together and chatting. Invariably, they sound like they're having a fantastic time. But we're not.

So considering that I used to produce a podcast, it became rare for me to listen to any. Mac Power Users is the only one I get regularly: every Monday morning, there's a new edition and I download it.

More useful than this new habit of mine, though, is the website catalogue of all the shows, all 187 editions so that you can look up any topic and leap right to it. Plus each edition has extensive notes online with links to the many products and other points brought up in the editions.

Try one. Here's the link to the official site though you can also subscribe through iTunes or every such route.

‘Appy days 2013

I’m a bit disappointed with Apple’s Best of 2013 pick of apps. There’s no real reason I should be, it’s just a list of what’s sold best and what Apple staff seem to like, but I thought I’d find something great in there that I wasn’t already using. And I admit, I unthinkingly expected to see software that helps you be more productive. This year, more than any, I’ve leant on software to get my work done and it’s been a terribly rewarding, satisfying kind of time because I’ve done so much more in so many more areas.

So when I wrote to you about Apple’s pick yesterday, I started in the expectation that I could show you some great tools.

Since that didn’t really work out, since the Best of 2013 became more of a curiosity than a grab bag of productivity tools, let me do what I wanted it to do. Let me show you the best productivity apps of the year.

Two very, very big caveats. One, I’m on a Mac so if you’re on a PC today then this is of precisely zero use to you. Well, not quite: there are some things here that are cross-platform. Platform-agnostic. But I’ll never have the patience to read through a list of Windows applications to find the single thing that will also run on my Mac, so if you’re in that boat, have a mug of tea instead and we’ll chat later.

Two, I’m sure some of these apps came out in 2013 but I’m never going to check. These are the tools that have made me enormously and enjoyably productive in 2013 and that includes ancient apps I’ve only just discovered and it includes old stalwarts that I have used for years. I know. Crazy. Maybe that’s why Apple’s list is more entertainment and games: maybe not much came out this year.

Enough. Here’s the list. I tell you now, it’s not as long as I thought it would be.


(Mac: £54.99/US$79.99, iPhone £13.99/US$19.99, iPad £27.99/US$39.99)

Yes, I have all three and once you’ve bought any of them, you’ll go get the other two as well. So let me add that up for you: in the UK, the triptych costs you £96.97 and in the US it’s $139.97. Prices must vary a bit as I’m sure I spent nearer £80 when I bought them but if you’ve gulped, so have I: I’m going to be buying them again in 2014.

That amuses me a little: I keep saying that this price is incredibly cheap considering what OmniFocus has meant to me and that I would gladly pay it again – and now I’m going to. Because there are new versions coming and they are all paid upgrades. I expect there’ll be a discount for existing users of the Mac one but I know there won’t be for the iPad version because there wasn’t for the new iPhone one.

Nonetheless, the second that new iPhone version was out, I bought it. Actually, it requires iOS 7 so what I did was upgrade to iOS 7 and then immediately buy OmniFocus 2 for iPhone. I liked the previous version very much but I like this even more and use it even more. I’m not entirely sure that is possible, but I do.

All of which is a lot of detail to throw at you when you may have never even heard of OmniFocus. It’s a To Do task manager. But that is a bit like saying War and Peace is a stack of paper with some ink on it. 

OmniFocus may not be for you: it is very powerful and it tends to do your head in a bit at first before you get a whole series of Damascus moments and love it. I wrote in a Mac magazine once that “first it destroys your mind, then it owns your soul” and I meant it as a compliment.

But if it’s more than you need or it’s more than you can face, then £96.97 isn’t cheap, it’s suddenly a lot of cash. So tread carefully but do tread, okay? 

While The Omni Group has not announced its plans, the fairly smart money says that the new OmniFocus 2 for iPhone will be followed soon to soonish by version 2 for the iPad and then at some point for the Mac. This makes things a tiny bit tricky. I’d like to tell you to wait but I also want you to get the benefits of this right now. If the Mac version were easier to use, I’d say pull the trigger: the odds are that if you buy OmniFocus 1 for Mac now you will get version 2 for free when it comes. No guarantees, but it’s highly likely. And that dispenses with the money concern.

But it is a concern that this Mac one is hard to use. I’m happy that I put the work in and I enjoy that the Mac one is very powerful. But I got on the beta test for OmniFocus 2 for Mac early in 2013 and have found it hard to go back. That beta has closed and it looks like whenever OmniFocus 2 for Mac comes out for real, it will look and act substantially different to the beta because OS X Mavericks has brought some new possibilities. But still, even the unfinished beta was easier enough to use that I suddenly found version 1 to be a chore.

How’s this? Right now the very best version of OmniFocus is the one for iPad. It will be updated and it will be radically updated if the iPhone is a clue, but even if you buy it an hour before a new version comes out, it’s still a fantastically tremendous application that will transform you. Not your life, it will transform you.

Enough so that I really did pay the money again for the iPhone one and I really will immediately, no IMMEDIATELY, buy the new versions for iPad and Mac whenever they come. 

Take a look at the video about the iPhone version on this Omni Group page. Then this is a longer video about the iPad version – did I mention it’s great? – and a much, much longer but very good series of videos by independent writer David Sparks about the Mac version.

I promise to be more concise about everything else on the list. <Smiles nicely but has fingers crossed behind his back>


Free or US$35/year for premium (gets you extra features)

It’s an app you can make notes in. There must be eleventy-billion such apps. And okay, you can also pop PDFs in there. Images. You can make a clipping from a web site and drag that in to Evernote. Okay.

But I was in a meeting, right, and suddenly needed a contract that had nothing to do with that day’s work. “Oh, yeah, that one,” I said and then called it up on my iPad exactly as if I’d been a soothsayer and known to bring it with me.

That worked and made me look very good because whatever you put in Evernote, you can get out of Evernote – wherever you are. I enter a gigantic number of notes in Evernote for iPhone and Evernote for iPad but I also use the Mac one a lot and I’ve used the PC version on occasion. I’ve been waiting in someone’s office and I’ve used their computer to open the Evernote website. And in each case, wherever I am, whatever I’m using, every single note I’ve ever made is right there.


Now free

I was on a bus going to my mother when I had an idea for a book. Because I had my iPad and it had the Pages word processor on it, I started to make some notes – and by the time I’d got to her, I’d written the first thousand words of what became The Blank Screen book. That book became a workshop that I’ve now run for individuals, students, university staff, colleges and in online seminars. And it became this blog, which is how I got to meet you. I’d call that worth the price of admission.

Mind you, I would like to mention now that I paid for Pages. It only became free toward the end of 2013 and if you think I’m narked by that, no. Fine. I think it is very undervalued but if you can get it for free, terrific. I’ve got so much out of this software already that I am completely fine with having paid whatever it was. Something preposterously cheap, I remember that.

Incidentally, I do have Word on this Mac. I’ve had Microsoft Word on every machine since the 1980s and I’ve used it on every machine. But the other day someone emailed me a Word document when I was using my MacBook. I’d had a problem with the hard disk on that and had wiped it completely, installed OS X Mavericks and got back to work. And there I was with this Word attachment, suddenly realising that I didn’t have Word.

Not only did I not have Word on there, for the first time in all those years, but I also hadn’t noticed. I’d reformatted that drive a month before and used the machine endlessly. Hadn’t noticed Word was gone.

And I didn’t have to notice now, either. Because my Mac just opened the document for me in Pages. 

I had to send that document back in Word format and Pages just did that for me too.

Adobe InDesign

Part of Adobe Creative Cloud, monthly rental cost varies

I used to work a lot on Radio Times, the website, and a bit on the magazine. There was this job where the site regularly needed some text from the mag and by chance of the schedules, it was always a bit easier to get it straight out of the magazine pages before they went to press. I leapt at it. It was a tedious, trivial and surprisingly slow job and I sped it up with some Word macros that would take the heavily formatted magazine text and make it heavily unformatted for the website.

But it also meant using the page layout program, Adobe InDesign. It is ridiculous how little you needed to know in order to do the thing I needed to do, but I would take the time to just explore InDesign for a minute or two each week. And over the years, especially since I was taking text from some superbly designed Radio Times pages, I learnt a lot. Taught myself InDesign.

To the extent that earlier this year Radio Times hired me back to work on a book specifically because I knew Adobe InDesign. And I learnt even more from doing that book work, to the extent that when I got back to my own office, I could and did design my The Blank Screen book in Adobe InDesign.

Read more about it and the whole Adobe Creative Cloud.


Now free

Presentation software. This – and the Pages and Numbers spreadsheet that I use daily – is part of Apple’s iWorks suite of productivity applications and I’m really surprised they weren’t in the company’s pick of the year. They were great and cheap, now they’re pretty great and free. This year’s new versions shed some features (that are apparently coming back slowly) and gained some others. 

For the work I do, I have barely missed any of those features, whatever they are, and I have very much enjoyed using the latest versions. So far I’ve only used Keynote to present The Blank Screen workshop once but it was a pleasure. No one has ever said that about PowerPoint.

Read more about Keynote for Mac (and the iPhone/iPad ones are the same) on Apple’s page.

Reeder 2

Universal for iPad and iPhone: £2.99

In 2012, it was for iPhone, iPad and Mac. And I used them all. It’s a newsreader, an RSS newsreader, which means rather than my going to a couple of hundred websites to read news and articles, they come to me. I’ve already messed with your head and your patience by going in to immense detail, so lemme just say that the world has changed. Right now Reeder for Mac is no longer available while a lot of work is being done under the hood.

I miss it more than I can say. And I’ve used alternatives but still Reeder and most particularly the new Reeder 2 are so well designed and just, you know, right, that I simply don’t read RSS on my Mac any more. The second it’s back out for Mac, I’m having it and I’ll get back to using it on all my machines.

Read more about Reeder and a tiny bit more about what’s happening with the Mac version on the official site.


Angela showed me this on her iPhone one day and I wondered why anyone would want such a thing as a password manager. By the end of that one day, it was on my iPhone and on the front screen too. Later, I showed Angela the Mac version and that’s now on her machine.

This is why. I need to do some financial things in a minute so I’ll press the Apple and / keys here on my Mac and it will open 1Password. With one tap 1Password will open up my bank’s online banking website, enter my account numbers, passwords and all that. It doesn’t go all the way on that site: I have one last page to go through, one last piece of security, but it’s so fast getting to that point that I use it constantly.

And then later if I am booking train tickets – I’m always booking train tickets – 1Password will log me in to and it will enter all my credit card details when I tell it to. 

I appear to have a preposterous number of websites I use that require passwords and so I have a preposterous number of passwords – an increasing number of which are generated by 1Password to be extra hard to crack. No more using the word ‘pencil’ as a password here. 

There is one thing I don’t like and it is the agony when you upgrade from one version to the next on iOS. It isn’t an upgrade, it isn’t an installer, it is alchemy. I can’t fathom how it can be so hard to do but once it’s done or if when you’re buying it for the first time, everything is so well done and easy that I can’t resist it. I know for certain that I use 1Password every single day, without fail, and I suspect I usually use it many times.

We could stop now

Those are the tools I spend my life in at the moment. I do also lean on iTunes a lot because I like telling it to play me an hour’s worth of music and then I’ll write until it stops. Plus I’ve been addicted to the new iTunes Radio which this very day also went live in the UK.

Then I came to really relish using iBooks Author to do the iBooks version of The Blank Screen (here’s the UK iBooks one and here’s the US iBooks one). TextExpander is one of those utilities that is so useful you forget it isn’t part of the Mac generally, but I’ve forgotten that it isn’t part of the Mac generally. Same with Hazel and Keyboard Maestro, both of which I’m just coming to use.

I really did expect that this would be a vastly longer list. Can you imagine that? In any average day I must surely use above twenty different software applications and I use them hard, but it’s only this set that I can honestly point to do as being the key productivity tools for me this year.

Next year may be a little different. I expect to carry on with all of these but I did a couple of projects using OmniOutliner for Mac (an outlining program from the same firm that makes my beloved OmniFocus) and now I’ve just got that for iPad too so it’s featuring more in my usual workflow. Bugger. I’ve been trying to avoid the word workflow. Ah, what can you do?

Similarly, I’m actually writing this to you in MarsEdit, the blogging tool that I’ve heard so much about for so long. I’m only on the trial version but it’s pretty much as good as advertised so I may very well continue with it. We’ll see. It doesn’t exist on iOS and I write a huge amount there so it’s not a guaranteed mandatory purchase or if it were, it isn’t guaranteed that I’ll use it a lot.

Whereas I want to give an honorary mention to some hardware. The best thing I ever bought was my 27in iMac last December: Macs do last a long time so my previous office Mac was a good six or seven years old and this new one boomed, just boomed into my working life. But then maybe the best thing I ever bought was my iPad Air as right now it is the thing I use most. I use it more than my kettle. I know.

I had thought that I used my original iPad a lot and while I didn’t regret giving it to my mother, I missed it more than I expected. And then I bought the iPad Air and am using it perhaps ten times as much as I did that original one.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I never step away from one keyboard or another and I see why you say that, but I can prove you’re wrong. By going now.

I need tea. Can I make you one?

UK gets iTunes Radio early

I’m not sure if it’s really early or whether it’s really here as in here to stay but as of this morning, iTunes Radio is available in the UK.

It doesn’t look finished – the US one has a lot of “featured stations” and this UK one has none – so it might just be another blip and it’ll go away again. But I’ve been enjoying the US iTunes Radio a lot, it’s a very good service.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s like Spotify or Pandora or any of those in that it streams music at you with the odd ad. Doesn’t sound exactly headline news so far but the way you can be listening to your own music and then on a whim switch to it, I’ve been quite addicted.

But it has been disconcerting. I could try it when the service was only available in the States because I have a US iTunes Store account but there’s a geo- and chrono- kind of problem with that. I’d click on its Eighties Hits radio station and find I’d never heard or even heard of maybe half of the tracks. Pop Gold seemed more universal, or at least to have more British music.

Funny: my favourite artists – quick list, Dar Williams, Suzanne Vega, Bruce Springsteen, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Cyndi Lauper, Sheryl Crow – are all American or at least not British. So I wouldn’t expect to notice a lack of British music but I really did. I think one gets surrounded by the music of one’s time and one’s place much more than I had realised.

So I’ve enjoyed discovering that and thinking about it. But I’ve also often switched away from the featured stations like that to ones based on those favourite artists of mine. Unlike some services, if you pick a station based on one artist you don’t get a huge amount of that artist. The first track after you’ve created the station is always theirs but thereafter you’ll go quite a long time before hearing them again. Sometimes that’s fine: you get similar artists or ones that people who like your favourite have also liked and I’ve enjoyed hearing a lot of new music. 

But sometimes you do long for more of that particular artist and that’s when I tend to go back to my own iTunes collection.

Mind you, I have a thing. There will be a song that gets in my head and I love it so much that I will play it over and over and over, often literally repeating it. Play the song, let iTunes nip on to the next track – and think no, I fancy that again, tap, tap and we’re back.

I’ll play them so much that eventually I come to hate them. So over the years I’ve built up a playlist in iTunes of music that I used to be besotted with and now can’t bear. Um. Something wrong there.

Especially since I keep coming back to this playlist that I call Discoveries. (I don’t know why I called it that.) Of all the music I’ve got, I keep coming back to this list. 

Do you know those blogs where the writer lists the current track they’re listening to as they write to you? I’ve never done that. I may never again do it. But for your information, I’m listening to iTunes Radio which is playing me Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel in its Classic Rock Radio. I’m not sure you needed to know that but I appear to need to tell you.

Normally I’d now tell you where you can get iTunes Radio in the UK but if you have iTunes and you’re in the UK, you’ve got it already. Even if you didn’t realise. Open iTunes, choose Music from the drop down list of media and across the top you’ll see Radio. It’s in that line of headings Songs, Albums, Artists and so on.