As with many things, I have strong opinions about music streaming services.
But first off, some backstory…
I sometimes feel like part of a “lost generation” when it comes to music purchasing. I came of age during the music industry’s last stand against the looming digital transformation. The era of Napster, then Limewire, then torrents. When the music industry wouldn’t let us download music legally, we didn’t — we downloaded it illegally instead.
I’m not saying that’s right, but it is what happened (for many years). And it’s a hard habit to break.
My usual strategy was to download music illegally — including songs that hadn’t yet been released (either at all or in my region) — and then purchase physical copies of albums that I liked. In my own way I felt like this was fair. And to be fair, I always contributed more than the $120 a year that a streaming subscription generally costs, which assuaged my conscience.
But in a world where streaming services are now de rigueur, finding music to download illegally has, frankly, become a pain — streaming services being the obvious balm to that acute pain point. With the industry finally catching up to consumer needs (for the most part). I decided to dive into the world of streaming.
But which platform to choose?
I’ll be honest here and say this was a bit of a no-brainer for me. While Spotify seems, anecdotally at least, to be the de facto choice for many of my peers it lacks a key feature that defines a major part of my digital music experience: play count.
Play count is the sticky feature that keeps me in the Apple music universe. My iTunes library has more than a decade of listening data that I have full access to, and am not wont to abandon without a fight.
My #Epic100 playlist, in particular, is an auto-updating list of my 100 most played songs of all time and let me tell you it is NOT STOP JAMZ.
I know Spotify does those cool year-end roundups that include cool data factoids, but I require full access to my play counts and don’t want to lose my current plays in transition to a new platform.
…And about those strong opinions
Basically I worry that we’re jumping feet first into a world we don’t yet understand. (And yes I know that’s entirely at odds with my frustration that the music industry took too long to embrace digital.)
It’s just that I suspect the current price point (usually $9.99/month) is just the get-us-hooked price. Once music streaming dominates the music industry, I’m worried the price will jump as labels look to maximize profits that are no longer being propped up by album sales proper.
Also, I think I’m still grieving the experience of owning a physical object. There’s just something nice about purchasing a physical album, especially when you’re a fan of a particular artist. Let alone the legal grey area of digital rights management
Finally, it’s annoying that I can’t listen to all of Beyoncé’s back catalogue on every platform.
PS. I’m still a n00b, but check me out on Apple Music »