Saturday 16 September 2023

As We Hear It: On requesting artists/albums to streaming services. (Plus adding more RAM and larger SSD to the computer workstation.)

Hey everyone, life's been very busy so not much time to think or work on audio stuff.

A few weeks back in my discussion of Qobuz in Canada, I said: "I'm curious, has anyone out there contacted their streaming service to request the addition of an artist or album? Were you able to get your requests included?"

Well, I received a number of responses, mostly from folks who were happy that Qobuz or TIDAL were able to oblige with putting their requests up. Here's a very well written one that I thought would be good to share with everyone... It brings up important points especially these days as we transition into more music lovers depending on the services to supply our music. Many, including myself these days are collecting more playlists than actual physical albums or spending the time to download anymore.

"Yes I have contacted a few of the services requesting missing titles. Sadly only a few were ever eventually included into their catalog and this is mostly main stream titles/artists I am talking about. I know some titles are still not available as for whatever reason the licensing issues have never been dealt with or worked on/out. Which sucks. Hopefully someday those that have never been on any streaming service will finally appear. As for some that are available for streaming on some services but not others I have found it’s not always a case of licensing. 

For example the band The Donnas have their full catalog available on Spotify and most likely the other major services however there are some titles of theirs available on Qobuz yet not all of them are even though they are all on the same label and Qobuz has agreed they have the licensing rights for them. Qobuz has said they have tried requesting the missing titles without any luck. Even after going as far as contacting one of the band members personally. So my take on why Qobuz doesn’t have the missing titles from The Donnas at least and perhaps this may also be the case for other missing artists titles is that there is communication breakdown somewhere in the chain as well as laziness and or stupidity/lack of knowledge from the label or distributor as not making sure all titles are available to all services when the licensing is correct. The Donnas have been broken up for quite some time and their label is probably defunct yet somehow something is active as their music is available. 

So who is dropping the ball and why can’t getting these missing titles into the catalog be accomplished? Qobuz is actually paying for something it doesn’t have and their customers are missing out that may be Donnas fans or fans of any other missing titles/artists that may of fallen through the cracks like this. Enough so it may make them lose customers to other services due to what’s in their respective libraries. I wish I could also get an answer from Qobuz as to why the early Whitesnake albums are available on other services but not Qobuz even after repeated requests over the years. Qobuz also still doesn’t have any Bob Seger And The Silver Bullet Band except for one greatest hits album even though they have been trying to get his catalog for years now all the while his catalog has been available on most of the other services.   

What also sucks is when an individual track is also not available on an album that all other tracks are available. For instance the song I Play Guitar from Rick Derringer is not available on the greatest hits album that it is from on the streaming services. Also the original album it was originally released on titled Good Dirty Fun isn’t available on any streaming service. Don Felder's Airbourne album is not available yet his other albums are including the various artists soundtrack album for the movie Heavy Metal and the same goes for Peter Wolf’s two biggest solo albums Lights Out and Come As You Are have never been made available for streaming yet most of the rest of his catalog has been available at one point in time or currently is. 

This is one of the biggest issues with streaming services. Having the content available really is king here…

I know both Qobuz and Tidal currently  have missing request links (forms). Spotify used to but has since deleted the link unfortunately and it doesn’t make sense as to why. I do not know about the remaining services if they have missing titles/tracks request forms or not.

Anon Blog Reader"

Wow. Love your passion in music ABR with your breadth and depth in the artists you obviously enjoy! Good to hear that at least some of the requests made it through.

I looked around and it seems that the Rick Derringer album Good Dirty Fun isn't even available as a CD on Amazon so maybe they've never released it in a digital format? This doesn't excuse the absence of Don Felder's work nor Peter Wolf's albums as you noted.

While I believe the availability of multichannel vs. stereo-only can help differentiate music services for consumers, and maybe lossless (16/44.1) vs. lossy options can have an impact, I think it has been shown over the years that "hi-res" itself is not a significant marketplace differentiator. Other than a small number of audiophiles who might care that they can listen to something in 24/96 or 24/192, it's really not important (for all kinds of reasons as discussed years ago, and here as well).

As you say, it ultimately comes down to having a deep catalogue of material for consumers to enjoy. I would like to think that once each service has millions of albums already in the "core" holdings, that it would be in their best interest to take requests to develop a reputation of excellent customer service. Also, since this is all a business, and it's the popular albums that make money, I would hope that less well known bands, managers, and labels will take the initiative to make sure their catalogs are fully represented on each of the services. Maybe encourage fans to contact these services to look into adding missing material.

Here are some links to the request forms for Qobuz and TIDAL for those looking. Apple supposedly takes it through their feedback page:

Qobuz - Why don't you have this?

TIDAL Music Request

Apple Music - leave comment on feedback form

Looking around, I see what you mean about Spotify having closed their link for requests. Maybe they'll take requests if you Tweet/X it to @SpotifyCares or other ways in their Contact Us page and see if they really care. :-)


To end off... Over the last while, I've been updating my workstation computer for some work-related large language model application testing. As I mentioned in my nVidia RTX 4090 article, there's some impressive computation we can do these days even on consumer machines!

One thing that has become evident is that the "large" in "large language model" definitely demands gigabytes of RAM and terabytes of high-speed M.2 storage to run at even just an okay clip. As such, I updated the Ryzen 9 3900X workstation with another 64GB DDR4 RAM - the Patriot Viper DDR4-3600 - and added another M.2 SSD drive, this time the XPG GAMMIX S70 Blade, PCIe Gen 4, 2TB

While it's always nice to have a faster CPU and these days DDR5 RAM is available, for the kind of work I'm doing, it's the GPU and the 24GB VRAM doing all the heavy lifting. Many articles like this one have tested DDR5 vs. DDR4 and for the most part performance just from RAM type/speed isn't that significant. If I were building a new system today with a new motherboard and latest CPU, sure, DDR5 would be great for a bit more speed and lower voltage. Otherwise there's still a lot of life left in good 'ol DDR4 technology.

[As an aside, notice how these days you can add bling like lighting effects to your memory sticks (modules like these, or decorative covers) and other parts of the computer system? Clearly these are far beyond the "utilitarian functions" of these devices and reflects a level of technological maturity where intrinsic performance is no longer all you need to grab customer attention and companies need to find ways to entice consumers; to make the products just more "sexy". Like nice looking audio cables, these are signs of technological maturity and satisfaction of basic needs among consumers such that the rather frivolous "form" becomes more interesting for some users beyond the "function" itself. Thankfully, competition is strong among computer parts and products so manufacturers can't just raise prices and make up claims like we see in "High End" audio. Something like the Taiko Audio SGM Extreme computer is a great example of this "form-over-function" marketing approach trying to escape from the competitive (and IMO honest) computer tech marketplace into some kind of "luxury" product with pseudoscience claims.]

Through much of this year, we've been seeing soft demand for memory and storage products so if you've been looking to upgrade some RAM, I think this would be a great time. The 64GB (2x32GB) DDR4 memory can be had for <US$110 and the 2TB M.2 SSD likewise around the same price! There likely will be bargains ahead beyond RAM and storage I think as global inflationary factors soften as we approach and going through 2024.

While the 2x32GB DDR4 RAM modules I bought are capable of DDR4-3600 speed, my older 2x16GB RAM are just DDR4-3200. Together, I'm running them at the 3200 (1600MHz) speed, totaling 96GB, and CAS latency of 16 is fine. Theoretical maximum would be around 51.2GB/s raw transfer speed (megabytes/sec = 3200 megatransfers-per-second * 64-bits each transfer / 8 bits-per-byte * 2 channels). 

Despite having 4 DIMM slots, the AM4 Ryzen CPUs are not capable of quad (or even octo) channels, you'll need the Threadripper PRO CPUs and motherboard for that in the AMD world.

I'm running the memory at 1600MHz (DDR4-3200, or 3200MT/s) using both Corsair 2x16GB + Patriot 2x32GB sticks. Patriot Viper DDR4-3600 SPD on the right, including the XMP settings for DDR4-3600. The DRAM is made by S. Korean brand SK Hynix.

While 51.2GB/s is the theoretical transfer speed for dual-channel DDR4-3200, let's run an actual benchmark with AIDA64 to see some real-life numbers:

I'm seeing around 46GB/s for read and write or about 90% of theoretical maximum running under Windows 11. In use, there are latencies, background interrupts and OS threads that will intrude on the performance. Not bad, but nothing like the nVidia RTX 4090's 1TB/s VRAM bandwidth!

This amount of memory for my workstation works well and I haven't run out of memory even doing stuff like 33/34b model LLM fine-tuning on the GPU while encoding H.265 videos, editing Photoshop and smaller Premier Pro projects at the same time.

Here's a look at the XPG M.2 SSD which I see is advertised as compatible with the Playstation 5 game console:

Notice that there's a stick-on heat spreader to put on top of the NAND board. I wish XPG included one of those little M.2 screws in this package which literally would have added maybe a penny to the manufacturing cost. Thankfully I had one among my spare bits and parts.

This is a PCIe 4.0 drive, and it's getting faster with each generation:

Nice. That's more than 6GB/s for sequential reads/writes using 1GB files. Compare this to the previous generation XPG SX8200 1TB M.2 from 2019 which I still use in the machine as C: drive, and we're basically seeing 2x the transfer rates which is keeping track with the 2x speed increase from PCIe 3.0 to 4.0. Real technological progress moves on with faster, larger, and overall less expensive products that improve value to consumers. For large data work, this increase in storage speed is quite noticeable.

Alright guys and gals... Back to work!

Hope you're all enjoying the music. On my side, I'm having fun with Steve Wilson's Who's Next/Life House 5.1/Atmos remix this weekend. Also checking out the Eric Clapton multichannel release of The Definitive 24 Nights which Audiophile Style reviewed recently - quite enjoying the orchestral disc.

BTW: Given the years of certain audiophiles claiming they hear differences between RAM playback vs. hard drive, etc... Has any Golden Ears claimed that "Tunes played off my PCIe 4 M.2 SSDs are better sounding than my SATA SSD!" yet?

As usual, IMO, Bits Are Bits folks and computer systems these days are quite well-behaved in terms of "noise" most of the time. Let's not get muddled in folklore here in the 21st Century unless someone reviewing a product making claims can show evidence that supposed issues like noise or timing errors are actually of concern.

Here's something to look forward to - the new Snake Oil game show. Would be cool if they featured some amazing, magical, audiophile products and see what contestants think! ;-)


  1. Hej Arch. Thanks again for another as always enjoyable and informative read. I agree in that now is the time to buy memory. Really affordable and I cannot see them dropping further. Sadly motherboards are becoming quite expensive partly in response to less demand. There was a dramatic decrease in exports from the biggest manufacturers last year and overall last year witnessed a huge decline in the pc market. Probably the largest for 30 odd years. I shall however always remain a pc geek ;-)
    As regards the lack of artists, albums, tracks on streaming services, I imagine this is due partly to artists expecting to make more money through digital downloads or physical sales. Certain artists are contracted to one service only.
    Bit of a rush but take care and keep well
    Cheers Mike

    1. Thanks for the note Mike,
      I agree, sadly we're not treated with the same kind of prices with motherboards. I'm still tempted by the recent Intel i9-13900 which will certainly be a nice boost on the CPU side but the LGA1700 boards here in Canada wasn't really all that tempting... For what I've been upgrading for, like when doing some LoRA fine-tuning, the CPU load was only around 10% since almost all the work is being done by the GPU.

      Like with audio gear, unless something breaks down and needs replacing, I want to see the value first for my needs before upgrading stuff these days since much of what I have is simply "more than good enough"...

      Yeah dunno what it looks like on the artists side of the music industry and if they even see an incentive to push for their stuff to be available broadly. Given that there's more music out there than I can digest or properly enjoy in a lifetime already, maybe ultimately it will be left to the consumer to make sure to request albums they particularly love...

      Take care man!

  2. Hi Archimago! You probably need to start another blog about computer hardware, as you seem to be diving seriously into this :)

    Regarding music services—I use Apple Music 90% of the time, with a fallback to local grabbed CD images when the content is not on AM. I still have to buy CDs for some obscure European indie bands. However, the most annoying part about cloud services is that sometimes albums just disappear, and you can't play them even if you have downloaded a local copy to your device. So, CDs are still useful :)

    1. LOL Mikhail,
      For years as I'm sure you've seen, I've included computer tech discussions here and there... Maybe at some point when there's really not much more to say about audio stuff, that might be the outcome... Or I just go listen to music and say "hi" to you guys at audio shows or something. ;-)

      Yup, for sure, ownership (of the music) has its privileges instead of depending on the music service. While I'm listening to more music over services like Qobuz these days on my mobile devices and at the office, I'll always have that "core" music collection at home on Roon for my main soundroom.

      My wife was a bit pissed off recently when some Korean drama she was watching on Netflix Canada somehow disappeared before she finished all the episodes... Obviously not an issue just with music services.