Music streaming is increasing in popularity by the day, with over 5 billion (yes, with a B) in annual revenues – accounting for almost 2/3 of the music business. Both physical (i.e., CDs and vinyl) and digital download sales are declining.
Spotify and Apple music are the two most popular platforms. Apple music has 30 million paid subscribers (as of September 2017) and Spotify has over 60 million paid subscribers, with another 80 million Spotify users using their “free” ad-supported service. Both services are $10 per month for an individual paid subscription.
I’m not a millennial, so I decided to check out the top two and find out what all the fuss was about. I used both Apple music and Spotify, for about 5 months each, and wanted to report back whether these services are worth your time, and more importantly, your money. I’m going to give a sufficiently vague answer – it’s a definite maybe – this answer probably applies to all the subscription services out there (e.g., birchbox,, blue apron, etc.).
Back to the subject at hand – Do I recommend you pay for a music streaming service? All depends on your preferences and your budget. I can really only answer for myself on this one. I will not be paying for a music streaming service.
My top 5 reasons:
- I don’t really need a music streaming service. I already have thousands of songs – most of which I owned previously via CD or download (legal, thank you very much). I usually keep 700 – 800 songs on my iphone, so I can listen to them in the car or at work. I already have about 50 playlists and hours of music, seriously, I have a coast-to-coast road-trip covered, and then some. . .
- I don’t really like streaming services – I know a lot of folks (especially millennials) are going to shout me down at this point (agreement is not required). Before you judge me too harshly though, at least hear me out. I am in my early 40s and have already developed my musical tastes. I really don’t want to listen to songs I don’t like. I mean I’m getting old and only have so much time left – I don’t even buy green bananas – ok, that last part isn’t true, but I still don’t like listening to songs that I don’t like; because I already know what I like (for those of you keeping score at home, it’s not Meghan Trainor – NO!) Seriously, there are over 97 million songs, and counting, and I do not have the time, nor the inclination, to listen to all of them. . .
- I would rather spend my $10 on other things. It’s not just a one time $10 charge, it’s every month – I wasn’t a math major but I think that’s like $120 per year, every year. . .
- Spotify offers a free, ad supported, service. I do like to “discover” new music (sometimes) – songs that are similar to my existing catalogue. I still have my Spotify account and will sometimes use the app. For example, their new “your time capsule” playlist feature is pretty cool. On iTunes, if you go to the browse feature and select top charts, you can see the most popular songs in each genre – for example, Thunder, by imagine dragons, is #1 (currently), in the alternative genre – this feature does not require an apple music subscription. Just sayin’. Once you see a new song you like (from the top charts list) go to youtube and give it a listen. And if you do “discover” a new song, that you can’t live without (insert sarcasm), request an iTunes gift card for Christmas or your birthday, and only buy songs you really like – hey, it works for me.
- The radio is still free – seriously, both FM and AM – no charge. They play new songs, old songs, you name it. . .
check out my previous posts on music streaming