Gone are the days where the music industry could rate the most popular songs based on CD (or even older Vinyl) sales.   More and more people are now getting their music online, either via purchases or more recently streaming.  If you’ve not heard of streaming music yet, it’s a type of subscription service whereby you can play any track from a wide selection of artists.  Take Spotify as an example – this music streaming service now has over 30 million tracks to choose from!!   Chances are you’ll find something you’ll like to listen to in that selection!

So, what are the pros and cons of streaming as opposed to purchasing?

Well the main advantage to purchasing is that once you’ve bought the album, you have it for life.    You can play the CD at home, in the Car, or take it on vacation with you.   And any time in the future, if you want to listen to it, it’s there waiting for you.

Take a subscription on the other hand – if you listen to an album today, but then cancel your subscription, you’ll no longer be able to listen to it.

So why would you want a subscription?    Well, it gives you access to a far wider variety of albums.   And you may only like one or two tracks on an album, so purchasing it means you’re paying a lot for those two tracks.   When streaming – you can play any track off any album at any time (as long as you’re still paying for the subscription). The other advantage is space saving. No more searching through shelves of CDs trying to find that one album, a simple search and its right there at your fingertips.

The two main streaming music services now are Spotify and Apple Music.   Apple music is fairly new to the game but is gaining traction pretty quick due to the number of people using Apple devices.   Both offer a similar number of tracks at a similar price (around $10 – though there are discounts for students).    Apple music works really well with Apple devices and Spotify works well with all devices.

You can get a free one-month trial of each service, so there’s no harm in giving them a try to see which one you prefer.

Apple is currently investing heavily in TV/film production which it’s rumoured to merge in with Apple music in the future as a kind of Netflix subscription.   It’s unclear at the moment if Apple will be providing two services, music and film, or will be combining these into a single “Apple Media” service.   No doubt we’ll hear more about this later this year – so watch out for announcements!

You can also stream music to your mobile device (cell phone/tablet) while you’re out of the house, or in the car.   However, be careful that you don’t use all of your data if you only have a small monthly allowance with your cellular provider.

There are a few other streaming music providers – each providing a niche service.   For example, Tidal has a higher quality streaming service, but less of a selection.   Personally, I’d stick to either Spotify or Apple Music given their selection and price.

Until next time – keep streaming!