These days with subscription programs like Pandora, Spotify, MOG, Napster, and many others, and online radio options like Pandora, Last FM, Shoutcast, and literally thousands of others, is buying and downloading music becoming obsolete?
Even taking into consideration that most of the unlimited or full-featured versions are not free, they’re still way cheaper than paying $.99 or more per song. The free, limited, versions of most listening programs are not going to be satisfactory to most music lovers. What’s the difference? It varies from lower bitrate (think lower quality) to limits on sharing, to limits on the quantity of music you have access to. So let’s just assume we’re going to pay for at least the minimum upgrade–that is assuming we’re not pirating our music–and I’m not pirating mine.
So what’s the answer to the question of obsolescence? I suppose that depends on your definition of obsolete. Are vinyl records obsolete? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them, or that they don’t have their loyal followers. That’s about where on the sliding scale of outmoded, antiquated, fossilized, dead, passé–you get the idea–that is where I’d put paying for music to own it. People don’t like to pay for stuff when given a choice–most people anyway. So I do think the concept is headed for the trash heap of antiquity. For most people. Just not for people like me.
Call me crazy, but I like paying for my music. I can’t afford to download and own everything I like to listen to, so I use a combination of listening options. I currently own about a thousand music files which I paid for on iTunes or Amazon Mp3. They’re mine. I also have paid subscriptions to Spotify Unlimited, Pandora One, and I think that’s all I need. I can access and share all the music I could possibly want, and I can own some of it. I buy what I can. Let’s review:
1. Buying music is becoming obsolete, but it probably won’t go away completely.
2. You can listen to a lot of music, but not everything and not at the highest quality, for free (legally).
3. You can listen to just about everything at super high quality, without buying it for about $5.00/month or $60/year. You can have a subscription plan AND an internet radio plan for about $100/year.
4. You can buy music if you are like me–crazy–and like to pay for your music.
That’s the view from where I sit.
- Spotify Challenges Pandora. (mcgsquared.wordpress.com)