Streaming music services are all the rage right now, and I don't mean that they're merely trends to be blown away by the winds of change — they're the future of music. My favorite CD store, HMV, just closed up shop in Canada. Now there's nowhere to buy physical CDs, aside from the dwindling and tasteless selection that Walmart peddles.
I've always resisted streaming music services in favor of more "purist" listening practices, like burning my CDs onto my laptop and then having them on my iPhone, rather than relying on Apple Music and the internet so I can stream. But gone are the CD drives and quickly dwindling is my patience for connecting, burning, waiting, transferring, and so on.
My sister recently added me to her Spotify Premium family, and I must say that I'm falling in love with streaming music. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide.
Why you should get a streaming music subscription
Right off the bat, convenience is the biggest reason to get a streaming music subscription, be it Apple Music, Spotify Premium, Pandora, or whatever. You don't have to sit and wait for music to transfer from your computer to your phone; you can listen to that service on just about any device you might have, and if you want a friend to hear a tune, they can just go onto their service and listen — no need to email or bring a thumb drive over just for one song.
It saves space
The iPhone doesn't have an SD card slot (WHY NOT?!?), and if you've opted for the lowest storage option, you'll run out of space real quick once you start transferring songs and downloading apps. Have a streaming music subscription means you can carry all of your tunes with you all the time, without having to worry about your storage capacity.
I play the drums, and drumming to the same set of tunes can get kind of boring after a while. Luckily, with a streaming music subscription, I can just go find a curated playlist of music I like and I get to discover all these new tunes that I otherwise wouldn't have heard of. If you like a particular genre of music, but you're sick of the same bands, just search up the genre on your service of choice and you'll be introduced to new bands and new sounds.
Many music streaming services let you share what you're listening to on Facebook and Twitter, allowing you to connect with other folks who have similar tastes. Using social media to share your tunes is way easier than sending people individual songs, and it lets you discover new tunes when other people share stuff with you.
As sad as it is, physical forms of music are falling by the wayside (despite the resurgence in vinyl). Music is moving in a completely digital direction, and if you can't and/or don't want to keep up with changing music formats, then a streaming subscription is the perfect way to futureproof yourself. You don't need to worry about file formats or any of that nonsense because the service takes care of it all for you.
Artists are now releasing songs exclusively to specific streaming services. For instance, Jonathan Coulton's new album comes out soon, and he's only released the first single to Spotify. There are also other great contests and events that go on for specific artists, like ticket and instrument giveaways.
Why you might not want or need a music streaming subscription
$ Moolah $
If you're anything like me, you likely have a ton of CDs and have bought a bunch of your favorite music off of iTunes. Why would you want to pay a monthly subscription fee when you already have all the tunes you want?
You don't listen often
I listen to music all day while I work, but I just throw on YouTube and away I go. Otherwise, I don't have the time to sit down and listen to music as much as I'd like. To be perfectly honest, if my sister didn't already have Spotify Premium and was already paying for it, I don't think I'd have an account for myself. I just can't justify the cost when I know I wouldn't use it enough.
I work for a magician on the side and we make many a road trip to rural Canada. I mean rural. Ever heard of Lemberg, Saskatchewan? Me neither until a week ago. We rely on Apple Music to stop us from killing each other on 8-hour drives, and when you hit a dead zone, there's nothing worse than starting a song and having it stop dead 10 seconds in, never to return.
If you're not receiving an LTE signal, streaming can be a pain in the ass. 3G can do just fine, but only if it's a strong 3G signal (trust me). If you live somewhere where your carrier doesn't exactly provide LTE, then streaming might suck, and that just plains sucks.
You hate music
Who blackened your soul?
To stream or not to stream?
If you're into music at all, the pros certainly outweigh the cons. You can discover new music all the time and you'll even find songs that you won't find anywhere else. At the end of the day, it's not a huge expense, usually starting around $10 per month.
If you're sick of filling up your devices with music and you'd love to just have the world of tunes with you wherever you go, then a streaming music subscription is definitely for you. Even if you're the stationary sort and don't feel like YouTube hopping all day, a music streaming subscription can provide you with all the tunage you need to see you through your work day or your chill sesh while you lurk on Reddit.
Do you stream?
Do you have a streaming music subscription? To which service do you subscribe? Tell us in the comments why you love or hate it!
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Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.