Why Stream Music?

08 October 2020

Here is another area where I am more old school in a sense when it comes to technology and convienence. I much prefer owning my music on physical form whenever possible. I still buy CD's and records and listen to them. I also rip all of my CD's to FLAC and put them on my computers to listen to.

I've used almost all of the popular streaming services before. Tidal, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music. They're all fine and worked well for me.

What I didn't enjoy was paying for the service, or using the free, ad-based versions. I didn't enjoy not owning that music I was listening to and wondering when or if a song or album would be pulled from the database at some random time. I also never liked the notion of requiring an Internet connection to get that music. I know I could have downloaded what I wanted on some platforms, but that wasn't always what I ended up doing.

Usually, my music players would end up getting messy with files all over the place, or getting mixed up with what I actually owned versus what I was renting and databases were screwed up. I'd spend hours cleaning things up from time to time only to have it all get messed up again after a while.

Since I started going back to CD's and ripping them to the computer I have discoved a music player that is perfect for me. CMUS. It's a terminal based music player for Linux. All I have to do is keep an orgainzed music folder, which I do, and point CMUS to it and it keeps a neat and organized front-end display for me to find and play what I'm looking for. It never gets messy, it doesn't alter any files and it works every time I use it.

Then there is the point that many times the artists aren't getting paid appropriately, or at all, from these streaming services. At least that's what I've been led to believe after reading some articles and various forum comments.

So I canceled the last streaming service I had a few years ago. I think it was Apple Music or Tidal, but don't recall now.

I've gone back to collecting CD's and records again just like when I was a kid. If my Internet goes out or I don't want to eat up mobile data I no longer worry about those things. I don't need the Internet to listen to my music. Heck, I don't even need electricity in some cases. As long as my DAP (digital audio player) is charged up I can listen to my entire music collection from that.

I keep copies of all my ripped music on my computer, server, another mini-computer, DAP and a large USB stick which I keep connected in my car for listening.

There is something to that tangible sense of holding these things and putting them into a player and gently setting the tone arm down or pressing the play button that brings joy and nostalgia to me.

Something else about owning an album on physical media that we miss when using a streaming service, is an artists entire album. Far too often I would only stream the most popluar songs from an album and never listen to the rest of it. Many times I'd missed out on some amazing music because of that habit. With a record you're almost forced to listen to the whole thing. On a CD you can skip a track or listen to the whole thing if you like.

I've disovered some real gems of songs and whole albums from artists just by listening to an entire CD or record.

So I haven't streamed music in a few years and I have no intention of ever doing so again. I enjoy the collecting of CD's and records and playing them. Through that I have achieved a greater appreciation for the artists and music I listen to.