We’re in an age where we can pay $9.99 a month for access to access an entire music library. Does purchasing digital music make sense any more when you can access an entire library for the cost of one album? I don’t think so.
A few years ago, I wasn’t sold on the whole idea of music subscriptions. I loved downloading tracks from Amazon since prices were so good and the tracks worked on all of my devices. Now services like Spotify and Rdio offer a great enough music experience that I think buying digital music doesn’t make sense any more. A subscription to Spotify gives you access to over 20 million songs, commercial-free high quality streaming at 320 kbps, and the ability to download songs locally to your mobile phone or tablet.
To me, the biggest selling point is the ability to manage songs across all of your devices. If you have an Android phone and an iPad like I do, it’s impossible to sync the same playlists between these two devices. With Spotify, you can make one playlist that works on both of these devices. No more managing two libraries and playlists. You can even download tracks to listen to offline when you know you’re not going to have a good connection for streaming. You can also make collaborative playlists with your friends.
Of course there are good reasons to buy music. If I love an artist, I will buy their CD or LP because it means something to me and it gives me higher sound quality than music subscriptions or digital downloads. Vinyl records often come with free digital downloads as well. It’s also nice to be able to have your own copy that you can infinitely back up. Once you stop paying for a music subscription, you won’t have access to its library. And of course 20 million tracks won’t cover everyone’s musical taste and some artists have opted out of putting their music on music subscription services.
Still, for most people who don’t care about owning physical media, listening to the highest quality audio, or having backups, music subscriptions just make more sense. Companies like Amazon and Apple will need to have their own music subscription services if they want their ecosystem to survive.
Do you buy or rent music? Chime in below.