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Wired In: The Business Of Streaming Music

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Wired In

MIAMI (CBS4) – Music, and how we listen to it, has come a long way.

Over the years we’ve listened vinyl records, 8-tracks, cassette tapes, CD’s and mp3 downloads.

But these days, streaming music seems to be all the rage.

Maybe you’re buying individual songs and albums and storing them on your various devices. That can take up a lot of space.

Have you ever thought of leasing your music?

There are dozens of streaming services and each are a bit different.

Most streaming services are free. If you pay a fee, the service only gets better.

Generally there are two types of streaming:

On-Demand: Music you choose and listen to right away.

Discovery: Music that is picked for you based on your tastes and customized into a channel or lineup.

Spotify is the monster of on-demand. You can sign up for free to use the service. Search nearly any song. You can drag, drop and create playlists or pull over full albums (and as many as you wish!). You control the music based on 20 million songs in the library!

Pandora is the duke of discovery. Sign up, pick a song, artist or genre and the software controls the music by customizing a station playing similar music.

Cost

Perhaps you buy songs individually or by album. The great thing about this method is that you get to keep the songs. The downfall is you have to find a place to store all the files. Digital storage is becoming cheaper as time goes on, but there is still a cost to storing all that music.

If you listen to free streaming music, you’re stuck with ads. But for a monthly fee (anywhere from $4-$10 per month), you can get rid of the ads and open up more options with your premium streaming accounts.

On-the-Go

If you purchase songs, you can take them on-the-go whenever and wherever you want as long as you have the digital storage to house them.

Streaming services allow you to take them on the go as well, as long as you have a connection to the internet via cellular or Wi-Fi.

What if you don’t have a signal?

For $10 a month, Spotify, for example, will let you ‘take’ 4,000 songs offline, essentially as if you own them. All you need to do is flip a switch near each song or album and let each song copy itself to your account. It’s encoded so you won’t be able to copy or even download the song like you would a paid version.

Sharing and Recommendations

Most streaming services connect your social profiles like Facebook and Twitter. Your friends can recommend music based on your likes. They can also connect with you in various streaming services.

Again, there are dozens of streaming services. Here are a few to check out:

On-Demand

Spotify

MOG

Rdio

Rhapsody

Napster

Discovery

Pandora

Grooveshark

8Tracks

Last.fm

Purchase Per Song/Album

Apple iTunes

Google Play

eMusic

Amazon MP3

iTunes is one of the biggest players in the consumer music-purchasing space. However, Apple has recently announced iTunes Radio where the company has joined the ranks of other streaming services by allowing you to listen to streams with ads (or without if you subscribe to their Match subscription which is $24.99 per year). Others have already jumped on board as well, with nearly all of them building some sort of streaming component to their current service.

The most important thing to remember about subscribing to an on-demand streaming service is that once you stop paying, so does your music. As they say, you can’t take it with you!

Streaming music is becoming a very crowded space. But you (the music consumer) is the one who wins by having various options to customize the perfect listening experience that fits your way of life.

You gotta love technology!

Happy listening.

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