“I just listened to it on Apple Music.”
“What do you mean you don’t like Spotify?”
“I don’t have any mp3’s, I just stream my music.”
Ugh. I felt dirty just typing that out. I don’t understand why streaming is so prevalent these days. I don’t get why streaming is so expected, so accepted, such a societal norm that any deviation is treated as a crime. Simply put, streaming is dumb.
Now before you angrily email KCOU asking why they let me write this piece, and tell your friends that someone said streaming is dumb, hear me out. I get that streaming is the so-called “future” of listening to music (or using any digital media at that), and I get that streaming is supposedly easier than using discs or vinyl or cassettes or whatever the hipster fad is these days. But I still think streaming is dumb, and maybe I can get you to at least see where I’m coming from.
For one, Wi-Fi is a necessity, which already is too much work. Sure, if you have good Wi-Fi or unlimited data then it’s not an issue, but that’s still an unnecessary step just to blast some tunes. Stuck in a dead spot or the router went out? Looks like you’re out of luck. Your download speed is only 500kb a second? Hope you enjoy long, silent pauses with your music. Your grandma’s house is on dial-up? What a shame. My ability to listen to must shouldn’t be dependent on how good my data connection is.
“But Trent! With Spotify you can download songs for offline use!”
Yeah, and all you must do is pay a monthly fee to do so, and you still have to go through the app at that. Granted, for people who don’t stream, they must pay for music whenever it comes out (or download it from a friend or the internet but that’s illegal), but they then have it forever, no ifs, ands, or buts. Also, why would you go through the work to pay for the music through the streaming service, to download it from the streaming service and only use it on the streaming service, if you could just buy it directly and have it wherever you want it?
“Well, I can find more music through streaming!”
Valid point, finding music is easy through streaming, since every song has a ton of suggestions. Still, nothing is stopping you from downloading or buying that music though. Also, just marginally reading music blogs or asking friends for new music is nearly the same thing as getting a suggested track. And, unlike suggested tracks on a service like Spotify, which only gives you more of the same, reading blogs or asking friends can help you expand your tastes into territories you never thought to explore.
“At least I don’t take up all my storage space by downloading tracks!”
Another fair point nameless reader. But it’s not like each song is a lot of data. Even devices with only 8 to 16 gigabytes can have decently-sized music libraries. Giving up space in storage is only a small price for instant access, whenever, wherever. And if you get an external drive or even cloud storage, enjoy that near unlimited space.
“Okay, well at least streaming is free! And legally!”
Yeah, but only at the price of having ads everywhere. Yes, I know you can pay to get them removed but there shouldn’t be ads in the first place. Also, paying to remove ads no longer makes the service free. Let me listen to my music. Nothing gets me out of my groove faster than a terribly placed ad about Kraft macaroni. I don’t care that some new half-assed movie comes out in a week. I’m trying to jam out, not be bored.
“But you can’t possibly complain about cool streaming sites are! The webpages are stylish!”
Yes, I can, and I will. I hate streaming sites. I get heated whenever I’m forced to use Spotify. Why do I have to download the app to use it? Why can’t I just use the website? Why is the web player so bad? And don’t get me started on Apple Music, aka Spotify’s less useful brother. Both sites are just inexcusably bad. I will give Sound Cloud (at least the web player), a pass, since finding tracks and artists is easy, and navigating the site is seamless too.
“Even if all that other stuff is true, at least you can have a vast library of music by streaming!”
That’s not true at all. You don’t have anything by streaming. With CD’s and even MP3’s, there’s this sense of ownership you just can’t get with streaming. With streaming the music isn’t really yours; you’re just renting it out. When you can have direct access to the files or the actual physical items, it feels good. Having that feeling that the music is truly yours makes it that much enjoyable, knowing that the only thing between you and the music is the play button. Not ads, not lag spikes, just the play button. The connection to the music is more intimate that way.
Or maybe it’s just me.
Does streaming have its perks? I guess. I’m partial to Sound Cloud and Bandcamp, the latter I’ve used to buy music and merchandise numerous times. Sometimes I’ll even stream an album before I decide to buy. At the end of the day though, I will always prefer the CD or MP3 of an album as opposed to streaming it. Streaming dilutes the music listening process. There are too many things that can get in between the listener and the music when streaming, and that’s whack.
Now if you excuse me, there are some albums I need to buy.
– A concerned citizen (pictured)