I don’t remember a time where music wasn’t a part of my daily routine. Lullabies at night, on the radio during car rides with my parents, when my radio alarm clock went off in the morning, in restaurants and stores – music is everywhere, and I’ve always been very conscious of that. Since I was little, I’ve continuously added music to my personal collection of things that I enjoy listening to. Today, discovering bands and songs that I like and adding them to my ever-growing collection is a favorite hobby of mine. Thanks to streaming music, it’s never been easier to do.
I’ve always been very proud of my music, no matter how small my collection was. When I was younger, I would get my radio cassette player, a bunch of blank tapes, and wait until a song came on the radio that I liked so I could record it. You know how radio stations are – when a song is popular, you can expect to hear it 2-3 times within the hour, so finding a popular song that I liked wasn’t hard. It wasn't long before I was filling up tape after tape with my favorite songs.
I had no qualms with the way things were, but CDs came along shortly after and the quality was so much better. I would spend my allowance to buy CDs at this point, and the ability to directly skip over tracks instead of fast-forwarding was amazing. On the flip side, buying entire albums when I sometimes only liked half of the album, or even just a couple of songs, would be sort of annoying. You also had the issue of trying to haul all of your CDs around with you, which could be quite a hassle if you had as many as I did.
And then iTunes comes along, which was also amazing – it took away the need to purchase songs I might not even like. Hear a preview, buy it for $0.99, wabam! Your music library is now made up of nothing but songs that you like, and no money was wasted. Still, it was a costly habit to keep up if you liked enough music.
Which brings us to today, where not only is music even cheaper, but it’s also so much easier to discover new music thanks to music streaming and smartphones.
There are a lot of apps and programs out there for music streaming, but my two go-to’s have been constant for the past few years: Pandora for discovery, Spotify for creating playlists. Both of these are technically free services, but I still spring the $10 a month for Spotify Premium. I can totally justify spending $10 for unlimited skips, offline listening, and customized playlists. It’s probably my favorite app ever. When I get bored of my current playlist and want something fresh, I open up Pandora. I find songs or bands I like, add them on Spotify. It’s a system that works for me, and it’s so unbelievably easy.
I still have all of my music that I had on CDs backed up on my computer and flashdrive, but the convenience of being able to look up just about any song or artist and adding any song you want for around $0.33 a day is, in my opinion, well worth the money. Would I rather own the music? I guess, but owning the same amount of music I could discover and listen to in a single month is going to be a lot more expensive, and for the time being I don’t mind the trade-off, not one bit.