Love Streaming, Still Buying Music

I recently discovered a terrific, country-meets-Southern-R&B band called The Deslondes. It was via Uncut’s recent Sounds of the New West CD compilation.

As it goes with most of my new musical discoveries, I jump in hip-deep and start listening to as much of the band’s music as possible.

Once I heard the CD track I was hooked. It wasn’t long before I opened Spotify and started listening to the New Orleans quintet’s self-titled album.

And yet there I was a few days later downloading the album via iTunes. Did I really need to buy the digital version of the album when I already have it available to me via a music streaming service? As much as I love music streaming, I am still connected to the practice of buying various songs and albums via iTunes.

I don’t buy as much as I did way back in the early days of iTunes, but I continue to purchase a healthy number of songs. I still have an old 5th Generation (30GB 5.0) iPod, which I faithfully update with new music.

I was late to the world of smartphones. But now I use my iPhone to not only listen to Spotify, but also connect with various music podcasts and streaming radio channels.

Yet there I am buying this or that via iTunes.

It’s a long-running routine, with some degree of obsessive compulsive disorder tossed into the stew.

Often times if I listen to a sample long enough on iTunes I lose the desire to own it. There are many tracks waiting patiently in my Wish List to be purchased.

There are some songs in my Wish List that have been there for years, which highlights my need to really commit to a track before I doll out .99 cents, or more. I usually reach a point where I ask myself, “is this song really so terrific that I must buy it?”

Much depends on how much credit sits in the account. When the gift cards roll in around the holidays, and the account is strong, I am quick to click and buy with a flurry.

Once I’m down to a few bucks, the buying slows. I think I can hold off on that Leonard Cohen song I like, but don’t love, a little longer. Of course, I could just stream it and be done with it. But that’s not the point.

Usually I will hear lots of songs from Spotify, then jump over to iTunes to see if it’s available — and then decide if I want/need to buy it.

If a new Neko Case album were released tomorrow I would buy it. I’d be streaming it as well, but for sure I would have to own it.

I own plenty of CDs, and I have no plans to go back down that road. But I remain connected to iTunes — even with all its design and usability flaws.

I simply love music streaming. I started a newsletter/website to follow the business! I have discovered more bands and artists — old and new — in the last few years that I never would have stumbled upon were it not for Spotify. I did pretty well in the past with various KCRW radio shows and music magazines for discovering new music, and what I missed the first time around — but nothing like what I have uncovered via music streaming.

But I still have ownership issues. I still need to ‘have’ that particular song or album on my old iMac hard drive, and in my iPod.

It doesn’t make much sense. The sooner downloads are no more probably the better. But until then I will stream, and I will buy.

It’s definitely more streaming these days, but as long as my Purchased playlist is there for me to supply, I will continue selectively picking certain albums and songs I must have in my library.

Originally posted at Medium

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