Making the Transition to Soundiiz from Soundsgood. - The Good, the Bad, the Automatic
The once-excellent service of SoundsGood.co is scheduled to go offline in less than a week. Although I once synced all of my playlist through their service, I moved on months ago because they abruptly changed their core functionality, and I did not want to risk having to periodically refactor my embeds. That turned out to be a very prescient and fortunate decision for me. Now, all of their users are forced to find another way to sync their playlists between Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, and many others. Read on for more information about how to make that adjustment, and a recommendation from me about what to expect from Soundiiz. Also, read through to the bottom for access to a Soundiiz discount code for displaced Soundsgood users. :)
The Web Player
So, just to get it out of the way: Soundiiz does not have a web player feature, like Soundsgood did. For some, that will come as a difficult blow. But, it really shouldn't be a surprise - the Soundsgood web player seemed to work okay, but behind the scenes it was doing some things that, at least in my opinion, were not ideal. So the fact that there is no easy replacement, just exposes the issues that were already there. Let me explain.
The web player that Soundsgood presented was really just a wrapper for whatever back-end service the user had access to; it was easy for the playlister, but created issues for the user. That's what I mean by doing things behind the scenes: when you set up the web player through Soundsgood, you had to specify the default back-end service. For me, that was always Spotify, but you could set it as Apple Music, or SoundCloud, or whatever you wanted. The problems came up when you had a song that was present in one of those services, but not the others; you'd be surprised at how often that was an issue. In my experience, Spotify has the biggest library, followed closely behind by Apple Music, and then SoundCloud typically only has 80%-90% of the tracks available, and some of those are locked behind the 'Plus' service, which means your average 'non-Plus' user only has access to a 30-second preview. The Soundsgood player would, in theory, be able to fall back on a different service when any particular track was not available on the default service, and they did the best they could to make that work. So, unless you have users that have active subscriptions on more than one service, you can't guarantee that the list of songs that you are curating will be presented with 100% availability.
That doesn't sound like a huge problem, unless you are a playlister, like me, who relies to a certain extent on the publicity that comes from the artists you put on your playlists: you need to be able to say, without a doubt, that if the artists share a link to that playlist, that their users will see that song, that they came for, available to be played. The bottom line is, until we find a way to have digital distribution that consistently furnishes each streaming service with the exact same songs, the idea of a web player that 'works across different services,' the way that Soundsgood promised, is just not feasible. It is very likely that the playlisters that were using the Soundsgood web player on their websites were presenting their users with an unreliable playlist, because, depending on the backend service that each specific user was signed into, certain songs would not play, and others would only play the first 30 seconds of the track. This would not have been immediately visible to the playlisters, because if you have access to multiple services the way playlisters tend to do, the Soundsgood web player would have fallen back to whatever service presented the best experience, in a way that was not indicative of the typical experience for Joe Web-surfer who probably only pays for SoundCloud, but not Apple Music, or vice versa.
So there's that: the dream of syncing to multiple services and having an independent web-player that works across all of them together, is just not possible - and this is because, for now, Spotify and SoundCloud and Apple Music and Deezer and whoever else, they all strike their own deals with distributors like Distrokid and CdBaby in a way that makes nothing uniform. Them's the breaks.
As much as I don't like to cede power to Spotify, who has enough of it already, at least for my own website, I was forced to fall back on a Spotify embed for the playlist pages that I support, simply because they are the most ubiquitous, and for that reason, I use my Spotify playlists to seed the rest of the playlists I have on other services. For whatever reason, at least in my experience, every artist with a new song to promote sends it to Spotify, and perhaps some other services. So, for the moment, Spotify is the only service where I can guarantee that every song is available. On that page, I add links to the other services, but it is Spotify that drives the embedded web player. At the moment, I am just not aware of a better way to allow web visitors to listen to a playlist, and also guarantee that every song I have put on that playlist is in fact available. Anyone that clicks on a link to a different streaming service, like YouTube or SoundCloud, will be given access to a subset of the songs that are available from Spotify, synced once a day. That's the best I can do, and Soundiiz helps me do it.
demo here: http://giv.me/roots
The Apple Experience
Just before I stopped using Soundsgood, Apple Music rolled out playlist support, and for a few months at least, they did what they could to allow their users to push songs to Apple Music; Apple, in its infinite wisdom, decided to play the game a little bit differently. What I mean by that, is that for now, there is no way to update an apple playlist through an API like Soundsgood, or, what I use now, Soundiiz. Every other service allows for third-party apps like Soundiiz to update an existing playlist; yet, Apple still does not. So this is my typical user experience when I am trying to add a new track to one of my existing Apple Music playlists:
- step 1: Do it by hand. You may shudder in horror at the thought, but at the moment this is still the fastest way to get it done, if it works; the problem that I have is that very often, there is an error that shows up in the bottom left corner of the screen, and, try as I might, I cannot add a song by hand to my playlist. So I move on to step two: But, for the record, if you are able to add the song through the UI, it will end up at the bottom of the playlist, and if you want it to be at the top, you will have to drag it there yourself. In this moment, what is nice, is that you can drag it with your mouse to the top of the playlist, and as you are doing so, if you are on a laptop, you can speed up the scrolling with a two-finger down-scroll on the trackpad. This is not possible on Spotify.
- step 2: If, for whatever reason, you were not able to add this song to your playlist through Apple Music, this is where Soundiiz can help you. I recommend that you do not 'enable' automation for any of your Spotify to Apple Music synchronizations, because they simply won't work in an automated fashion, so why waste the limited automation spots that you have access to. Save those for other services that can be automated easily, like SoundCloud, or YouTube, or Deezer, etcetera. See below - when you set up a new synchronization, it defaults to non-enabled. If you click "Run now," instead of enabling automation, it will not count against your active slots, and you can run it whenever you want. This is how I handle all of my Apple synchronizations - just remember to remove all tracks from the Apple playlist in the native Apple music app, before you run the synchronization by hand. And after it's done, you will still, most likely, have to drag the new tracks up to the top of the playlist if that's where you want them to be. Remember that you can still speed the scrolling with two fingers on the mousepad, and you can drag multiple tracks at one time by using Ctrl-click to select multiples, or shift-click to select a range of them.
Now, for the discount code: Thomas from Soundiiz told me that Soundsgood customers can use the code: SOUNDSGOOD to access a 30% discount on premium services. This will give you access to 20 automation slots, unlimited manual synchronizations, and is in my opinion a fantastic deal. Sign up here.
I have spent the last 2 years writing about music, and synchronizing playlists between services. It has been quite a process of trial and error, so I hope this information can be of help.
Another potential Soundsgood alternative is Tune My Music, available here. It looks you can automate a maximum of 10 playlists, and it is a free service, which might not be a good thing. Soundsgood was a free service, and we know what happened to them. :(
For my top playlists, I use Soundiiz to automate a daily refresh from the Spotify master list to SoundCloud, Deezer, and YouTube music. Syncing with Apple Music is still done by hand.
If you want to do me a solid, follow my artist profile on Spotify:
Thanks, and be well.