The RIAA recently reported that streaming music subscription revenue has exceeded physical media sales for the first time. This news has got me thinking about streaming music and what advantages it might have over buying compact discs.

First, I will say that I own a lot of compact discs. So many, in fact, that I find the thought of re-ripping them into various formats and backing them up very annoying. I recently decided to re-rip a lot of music into 160kbps MP3 files so I could listen to files across various devices and not use up a lot of storage space. With Apple still selling 16GB iPhones you know that storage is at a premium in many portable devices. Some of my compact discs are more than 20 years old and they will eventually succumb to mold or rot, so there's also the need to rip them in FLAC so I have a copy in case the disc goes bad. Does all this sound tiring?

It does to me. So streaming music leaves the burden of storage and backup to the Cloud. I can download only the songs I want to listen to offline and leave the rest off of my device. Still, the thought of "renting" music doesn't seem as appealing as owning a physical disc.

The tipping point has come to my listening tastes and habits. I bought more than 1,000 songs from the iTunes Music Store within the first five years of its introduction. Most of it is stuff I don't enjoy listening to anymore and I have no idea why I bought half the music that I did. Like old compact discs, I wish I could just toss them if I'm not interested in the music anymore. And if you've re-downloaded files you bought from 2001 on the iTunes Music Store you're in for a surprise; most of the cover art becomes corrupted or the titles are modified for no reason. Thanks Apple.

When it comes to discovering new music and accomodating shifting taste, streaming music is spectacular. You get access to the latest releases and you can binge-listen for two weeks until you get tired of the album. Then you can move on with no strings attached. That strikes me as a truly minimalistic way to enjoy music.

On that note, I have decided to use a trial membership of TIDAL for the next 30 days and will be reporting on my experience here on the blog, so be sure to come back and check out my review. I will probably try out a few other services before I make a final decision about streaming music services and whether or not I should subscribe again.

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Forbes: Why streaming music is here to stay

Trevor Curtis

Trevor Curtis

is a User Experience Designer from Fort Worth, TX.

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