COM0011 Blog Post #5 – To Stream or Not to Stream, That is the Question


As a kid I often listened to my favourite AM radio station when I got home from school. That is where I first fell in love with the Bay City Rollers! Their songs were modern day anthems to me. I fell for their unique look, those wide-legged capri pants, with the distinct tartan cuff. It was a fashion trend I have yet to see again.

I probably heard the Bay City Rollers before I knew of them, while listening to a radio DJ’s song rotation. As they grew in popularity, they were played more often. I never thought to question how I heard music then, I was just glad my station seemed to play what I liked!

I could not have imagined a concept like music on demand. Short of buying your own records, tapes or CD’s, to listen to your music when you wanted. That is truly on demand. You could take music with you and share. All you needed was the right device, be that a turntable, casset or CD player. Once you bought your music media, it was yours to use as you wanted. It was so much simpler.

Then I remember iTunes. It was a learning curve for me, but as I moved beyond the iPod, to an iMac and iPhone, I became more comfortable with my digital music library. I download to my computer and transfer music files to my iphone for disconnected use. I don’t need an internet connection to play what I’ve purchased through itunes. That is a perk for me.

Streaming music? Now I am getting confused. I have so many questions. Can you listen to music offline? Do you own the files? Are they removed from your device if you disconnect from the service? I’ve heard some streaming providers curate music based on your listening habits, offering up suggestions. This eliminates the need to know all titles in order to play, which is good for me. The amount of music available would seem limitless with this option – whatever they have in the service. For $10 a month, that may prove a cheaper option, than buying songs regularly through itunes.

There is no shortage of information out there on streaming music services. I found this article published in Time. It offers comparisons between the leading services. It’s important to understand how, when and where you like to listen to music to make a fair assessment. And of course what that is worth to you. Here’s Matt Peckham’s comparison chart.

Image1 MusicImage2Music

I am curious how musicians and bands work with streaming providers. Not too long ago I heard about Taylor Swift removing her recent album from Spotify, something about it cannibalizing CD sales? That led me to question the revenue sharing or royalties for musicians in the streaming world. This article sheds some light on the business model.

Finally, there is Youtube’s recent launch of Music Key. Another alternative in the streaming market. For $10 a month you can listen to what could be the world’s largest music collection. It features the ability to play music selections ad-free, offline and in the background of your phone. If you like discovering unusual, unreleased music, or DJ mixes; Youtube is the better choice. Your invited to try the beta! More about that here:

There are a plethora of options available for music listening today and with any luck I will have this figured out soon. Are you confused by the choices ? How do you like to listen to your music? I’d love to know.

One thought on “COM0011 Blog Post #5 – To Stream or Not to Stream, That is the Question

  1. I don’t use it often, but when I want to stream music rather than my own playlists, I’ll tune in to Songza, which is free with ads. I like the randomness of it and the way it can match a playlist with your mood or activity. It’s a fun concept. I just hope the artists are getting their fair share.

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