Streaming, streaming, streaming… is it everything we’ve been dreaming?
Absolutely not, but it is a pragmatic solution to the music industry’s woes that can lead us to discover and re-discover our favorite music. If you’re not sure what streaming can do for you, this post can shine some light.
I’m not an entertainment lawyer and don’t play one on the internet, so don’t expect this post to provide the solution for underpaid songwriters… although I’m pretty sure Apple Music and Tidal built their model with the creators in mind.
So let’s put the industry aside and talk benefits. What’s in it for me?! Here are the 5 Perks of Streaming:
1. There’s Freedom
Spending disk space for a pirated album or song, finding cover art and syncing your iPhone are things of the past. Besides, there are feeds to be thumbed!
Streaming services let you play the song today and forget it tomorrow. Besides, how long can people listen to the same music? Even the greatest songs are only good for a maximum of 150 plays before the mind builds a tolerance to the dopamine rush. Play what you’re feeling now, play what your friends are feeling and don’t worry about rapidly scrolling past those glaring guilty pleasures in your iTunes library.
If your pickle is fickle, spend the extra nickel and subscribe to a streaming service.
2. It’s Not Breaking The Law
Pirating music is a thorny rose in a bouquet of habits that are fine for me to indulge in, but would hurt society at large.
The old heads in the music game bicker at me for not wanting to pay for music while spending frivolously on coffee and other conspicuous consumption.
Here’s the thing though… I can see coffee. We live in a visual culture that makes me feel like a sucker for buying an invisible product. The reason that vinyl record sales are rising, thanks in part to services like Amazon Vinyl, are because those records are almost like books or paintings. They’re a visual statement of our brand alignment for the world to see.
If you want to pay for something you can actually see: pay for an app. When you sign up to a streaming service, you’re ultimately just paying for a cool app that happens to host the largest music library in recorded history. No more guilt and paranoia about the feds knocking.
3. It’s Relevant
Trends change fast.
Unless you’re going to stalk the blogs for album leaks two days ahead of the release date like a silly Ralphio Louis, there’s no better way to stay current on the latest and greatest releases. Regularly updated playlists and bubbling feeds are a candy shop for a music addict like myself.
If you really want to stay in the loop like a pair of bunny ears, Spotify’s “New Music Fridays” can be your new weekly highlight.
4. It’s Luxurious
Is the ability to stream any song any time the same thing as being caressed by your scantily clad lover on a speed boat? Of course not. It’s infinitely better. Say goodbye to the thrift shop of Soundcloud uploads that sound like an iPhone recording of a song on a car radio and say hello to the department store that is every streaming service: premium products every time.
The throwback jams that defined your childhood and the guilt pleasure radio singles that you turn up in the car are rarely found for free online. And when they are, you have to suffer a horror so grave that I was forced to invent a hashtag to draw awareness…
Ads are evil. Some of my “friends” like Pandora because the ads are more local and let them hear about upcoming events. I say fuck that. If I don’t answer telemarketing calls, what makes these corporate behemoths think I want to spend 13 Versace seconds listening to an ad for a movie I’ll doubtfully see or a service I’ll doubtfully use to build my website? Seth Godin wrote “Permission Marketing” 15 years ago so there’s no excuse for such disrespect. I don’t know what my irrational outrage at ads says about me as a consumer, but I know how to avoid it — pay for a subscription!
For the record, I’m #TeamSpotify (sorry Taylor). They were first to mind/first to market so Apple Music and Tidal don’t stand a chance. If I mention “streaming” most people tend to think “Spotify,” which is all it takes to win the marketing game. Tidal’s “lossless” quality and Apple Music’s integrity only give them an equal shot at being Pepsi to Spotify’s Coca Cola.