September 21, 2023

So What Should I Do About Streaming Music?

By Larry Lootsteen

So that’s a few of the music streaming services out there.  On top of Youtube and a myriad of other facilities, sharing sites, organizers for your music, tastes, playlists on your computer, your phone, your car and wherever else you may stick your damn ears.  Did I forget traditional radio?  

So what’s a listener to do?

I’m old but not that old.  I’m into indie music and music in general.  I blinked a few weeks back and when the lids slowly opened, I realized there’s choice.  But is it too much choice?  Do I care about the method of listening that much?

I have not taken the time to do in-depth research into all the services.out there.  I don’t trust the myriad of charts comparing as they all focus differently and there is not a clear choice without knowing what you really want.

I know my next vehicle will be connected.  Will I have to pay, unlike today, to listen to music?  Will I be able to have music with ads as I do now at no cost?  Will I have a free option without ads?

As music consumption shifts gears yet again, will we stop buying music and start buying services fully?  In many ways, we already have.  I’ll make the effort to buy songs I REALLY like.  That said, these days I’m on Youtube, Bandcamp, Soundcloud most of the time.

I don’t have buds in my ears 24×7.  I know I will force myself to get a smartphone soon enough but I am not someone who needs noise every second of the day.  I will have a connected car soon enough but not today.  As I said, I’m old but not that old.

So I am starting to ask myself the question.  Do I want to pay a service for my music?  If this seems a bit ‘record company’, ‘big brother controlling’ in some way, I cannot argue.  Am I willing to part with $8-$10/month?  If I do I assure you it will be because I am able to control what I hear within reason.  I will not pay to listen to some generic playlist.  I will want to pick what I hear as well as building in new music options so I can decide what I want to add or delete.  I don’t see this much nor do I see this as an ‘easy for the consumer’ facility today.  I may be wrong.

How long will it be before we start getting sold ‘packages’ to assure your costs don’t rise for the next 2 or 3 years?  As servces stumble and die, will we be left with a handful of services and our choice will be gone?  Will the new consumer allow this to happen?

And ask yourself this.  If the music world goes fully streaming does the digital purchase from an artist disappear?  Do we lose the ability to buy our music altogether?  And if that day comes, have the new monoliths gained full control?  Will we let that happen?  Can we stop it?

Everyone keeps talking like we have won as consumers.  Our want to break with the traditional paths and controls around us has provided new ground.  I’m not so sure this will last.  From one old guy to the youth of today, be careful.  What you think you may have won may not be what you thought at all.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37078 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “So What Should I Do About Streaming Music?

  • I think you're overthinking it.

    I subscribe to Rdio and still buy music. The $60 a year for Rdio has more than paid for itself, saving me from buying terrible or mediocre albums (by bands I have previously liked).

    (Rdio is twice as much if you want it streamed to a mobile device, annoyingly.)

  • There's an awful lot of people who will not be able to afford a streaming service. I know there's a free option on many, at least for now. Will that continue? And people who have to really question the expense, like myself, need to be sure it meets not only my, but my family's needs.

    With the volume of change in the industry, making a commitment is difficult. Am I overthinking it? Not really. Cautious and questioning for now I don't see as an unreasonable position to take.

  • If you can afford to buy music, you can afford a streaming service. I don't see what the point of caution is when it's a month-to-month service. It's not a commitment.

    Isn't for you? Cancel your account. That's assuming you continue past the free trial.


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