Forget spaceships; I just want my music

A couple weeks ago, as my kids settled into the car, I asked like I always do, "what songs do you want me to play?"

They have a range of favored earworms, from Baby Shark to Babaloo, and usually the songs are tolerable, at least.

But a few albums, like Bluey's soundtrack, transcend the children's genre. They're genuinely fun to listen to, for everyone in the car.

Well, that fine day, the kids chose Ladybug Music. And let me tell you, besides a few duds, Ladybug Music slaps. And the songs incorporate diverse styles, too, it's not just the same nursery rhymes regurgitated in a bubbly voice.

So I found the album on my phone and noticed the songs were all greyed out.

I tapped one, and nothing. Just this notice:

Song not available Apple Music on iPhone

Not available in my region? Well, that's weird. I pay for Apple Music. And I know the artist is in the US, and I'm in the US...

But my kids were restless, and we had somewhere to be, so I put on Pinkfong for the drive. After I got home, I went online to investigate.

This blog post is a transcript of this video on my YouTube channel.

Unfortunately, Ladybug music isn't a huge artist, so there wasn't any news coverage, like "thousands of parents cry out as their favorite kids songs disappear from Apple Music!"

But I did find the Ladybug Music website.

And on that website, they have a shop. Great! I can just buy the CDs, and support the artist directly!

And... no. Apparently Ladybug music is now an app. So I downloaded the App! Long story short, I created an account, and found out you either have to fly to LA and join one of the in-person kids music courses, or pay $3000 in licensing fees to get access to any of the songs.

Note: I've also reached out to Ladybug Music using their contact form to ask about any other way to purchase the music, and have received no response.

No bueno.

Scrounging around, you can get a few free songs from their YouTube or Soundcloud, and on Amazon a couple of used CDs are floating around... but there's literally no way to buy the music online anymore!

This isn't the first time I've seen a song disappear from Apple Music. And this kind of thing happens on Spotify and other streaming services too.

I can't get too mad, because I never actually "bought" those songs directly. I just rented them. That's the model for video streaming too, like on Netflix. Even though it's super annoying to have shows and music disappear, I am renting, so it's not like I have a right to anything.


But that's just streaming. Luckily, you can also buy digital movies and music, and you get to keep it.




Enshittification has reached new heights, as Sony just decided to yoink over a thousand seasons—that's right, seasons, not episodes—of Discovery shows from the PlayStation Store.

But they're not just removing them from the store.

They're removing them from people's libraries.

As of 31 December 2023, due to our content licensing arrangements with content providers, you will no longer be able to watch any of your previously purchased Discovery content and the content will be removed from your video library. (Source)

So if you paid full retail price for Mythbusters on your PlayStation, too bad. You can't watch it anymore.

That is, unless you go over and set up a new subscription to yet another completely unneccessary and broken streaming service from Warner Brothers.

The term for that is enshittification.

I'm not gonna rehash everything Cory Doctorow wrote about this latest assault on digital ownership, but I'll summarize a few of the main things that get under my skin.

First, the headline: "If buying isn't owning, then piracy isn't stealing."

I made a whole video about how I manage all my video content on my NAS. I run software called Jellyfin, and I've ripped hundreds of movies and thousands of TV episodes over the years. My family can enjoy every movie and TV show I've bought, now and forever.

But most people don't do that. And even for crazies like me, it's getting harder. More and more TV series and movies are going stream-only.

Meaning the only way to ever watch it is to subscribe to yet another broken and temporary streaming service.

You'd think as the years wore on, society's access to media would get easier and better.

But instead, backwards-thinking execs in Hollywood and the music industry keep backpedaling, making it harder for you to actually watch the content they produce.

I mean, more and more of it is garbage anyway, but there are still compelling shows and movies out there. It's a shame they're committed to being so anti-consumer by killing off any semblance of ownership.

In my video about Jellyfin, I danced around the issue of piracy. Mostly because I know how pernicious the MPAA and RIAA are.

Well, you know what? I still don't officially endorse pirating content. But if there's literally no other way to view the content you already paid for? Who am I to judge?

And cracking DRM? First of all, it's laughable how bad DRM normally is. But second, DRM is the enabler of all the horrible, scummy business practices that lead to so much e-waste, and to kids being disappointed in their Dad for not being able to play music that's been available digitally for years.

So if you crack DRM to truly own the things you already paid for? Yeah, I don't got a problem with that.

Forget spaceships flying to Mars, I just want my music.


I’ve noticed that the message you’re seeing in Apple Music is a universal placeholder of a kind, as I’ve seen it pop up when Apple’s servers had documented cooties.

Funny how software, on one hand, gets unprecedentedly complex for what it’s doing as hardware enables it, and how lazy, on the other hand, the software development at a poor starving trillion-dollar company has got.

Another possible reason for the message, which changes about nothing whatsoever about how rotten the whole situation is, that copyright holders may lapse prolonging their license or availability or what have they. I’m not saying it from experience, but I’ve seen music being greyed out for a couple days and then getting reinstated back enough times to suspect that this must look like certificate renewal, and we well know how that sucks at times, especially if you have a band/label manager or an underling who is not a techie on the other end.

I’d like to hear from people publishing music to these platforms if they have such controls and how easy it is to make a mistake there.

Forget music - I want spaceships, moon colonies and flying cars!

Say Jeff have you read "Against Intellectual Monopoly" by any chance. I've thought that it would be interesting to hear your takes as a tech enthusiast but also as a book writer. Your work on your book I find admirable to continue to provide better examples, and update per the software. This is what I feel like a subscription service should provide, in lieu of being "free" if there is a subscription to be had. After all a remaster of the same song might be better see Taylor Swifts remasters where the work is objectively better.

I would love to see a service where you can buy books, music or shows and have it be downloadable and usable regardless of whether the platform is around, but have a subscription aspect of it to say get the directors cut when it releases, or the remastered version, or edited version of a book like your own. This way it feels like the consumer owns and uses the product and the subscription still rakes in money and is a value add.

I use PlayOnHome to record off of the streaming services and then put on my Plex server. So you can pay for a month of Netflix or others and just record like 24hr a day for a month and get all the shows you want from those services. Same for things you’ve bought that are MoviesAnywhere accessible (just record using prime).

This is why I choose to purchase music through Bandcamp if not directly from the artist themselves. Once you make a purchase through bandcamp. You own it. Even if the artists themselves removes the content from their available albums, it does NOT get removed from your phone collection library. Also buying vinyl often gets you the digital versions as well.