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Music is a universal language that binds all humans together in a very real way. While the specific styles and genres of music listened to by different cultures vary wildly, they all share common ground. In other words, music is a very powerful force.

It’s been true for a long time: the music industry is in a state of flux. The Internet having upset the apple cart that had been trundling merrily on for several decades. Now, each of us has multiple options open to us for getting our music fix. This multitude of options forms the basis for this week’s We Ask You debate.

Thank You For The Music

We want to know, How Do You Obtain Music? The vast majority of people listen to music in one form or another, so we simply want to take the current pulse of the MakeUseOf readership by discovering where each of you sources your music from.

As usual with this column we don’t just want a one-word answer. Instead, tell us how you source your music and then explain the whys and wherefores behind your response. Whether you buy physical media, purchase digital downloads, stream through a dedicated service, use a form of piracy, or simply listen to the radio, we want to hear all about it.

If you still buy real albums you can hold in your hands then tell us why you’ve made the decision to carry on with physical media Why We Need To Keep Using Optical Discs - For Now [Opinion] Why We Need To Keep Using Optical Discs - For Now [Opinion] Not too long ago, we heard about Apple making some pretty bold moves when it came to optical media. Ousting their original MacBook for the MacBook Air and removing an optical drive from the Mac... Read More despite the omnipresence of digital media.

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If you purchase digital downloads A Beginner's Guide To Digital Music Setup And Playing A Beginner's Guide To Digital Music Setup And Playing If you're a music lover with boxes and shelves of music CDs, or if you have managed to burn or download digital music to your Mac or PC, this beginner's guide to digital music setup... Read More from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, etc. then tell us why you prefer that format, and why you use your online retailer of choice.

If you stream music from Spotify 5 Of The Best New Spotify Apps For Music Fans 5 Of The Best New Spotify Apps For Music Fans At the end of 2011, Spotify, the insanely popular and rapidly growing music-streaming service, added apps into its already heady mix of awesomeness. There were some true gems hidden in there, with 5 of the... Read More , Rdio Rdio: One of the Best Music Streaming Apps for iPhone Rdio: One of the Best Music Streaming Apps for iPhone Rdio provides a free limited music streaming service and an inexpensive unlimited streaming service for $5 monthly. For an extra $5 per month, you can also stream Rdio to your iPhone using this app. Read More , Pandora Enhance Pandora's Music Magic With These Great Tools Enhance Pandora's Music Magic With These Great Tools For those of you who still haven’t heard of Pandora, it’s an online website that allows you to stream music for free. Unlike other music streaming services, Pandora isn’t built on the idea that you... Read More , etc. then tell us what you feel the benefits are of this form of music consumption, and why you use your streaming service of choice.

If you pirate your music, and by that we mean obtaining copyrighted content without permission, then tell us your reasons for doing so, and tell us why you think the act of piracy What Should Be Done About Online Piracy? [You Told Us] What Should Be Done About Online Piracy? [You Told Us] Laws against piracy of copyrighted materials existed well before the invention of the Internet, but this interconnected network of computers has turned piracy into an immediate and unfortunate problem for copyright owners of all shapes... Read More is justified.

Have Your Say

All comments will be read and most will be replied to, before a follow-up post is published containing the We Ask You Results.One reader will even win Comment Of The Week, which will be included in the follow-up post!

We Ask You is a column dedicated to learning the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

  1. Guest
    January 24, 2014 at 1:24 am

    I pirate because it is damn near impossible to get lossless FLAC downloads from Amazon or anywhere else for that matter. Most "casual" buyers don't really care about audio quality and are primarily using the songs with their portable devices. But I have external speakers attached to my laptop, and believe me, the audio quality is much better than lossy formats like MP3 or even online streaming services like Pandora and Spotify (which also use lossy formats, as pretty much all streaming services do). Lossless varieties are also better for burning CD mixes in top quality. The only alternative to that is making the trek to the nearest FYE (40 miles away) to use their Mix & Burn kiosks, or buying every single CD with songs I wanted on the mix and spending hundreds of dollars for 15-20 songs max. BitTorrent allows me to have access to entire FLAC discographies within a couple of hours, and to put some of those songs on mix CDs to give to friends or use myself for listening in the car.

    As far as piracy in general, I happen to believe in the philosophy of the group Kopimists, which suggests that fiat currency is a sham and a method of control by way of profit that renders the playing field uneven. The key word is value, and the notion that there are more ways of determining value besides dollars: in their view, value should not be determined by a monetary price but by UX (user experience). An example is the Mona Lisa: somewhere along the line, someone, or a group of someones by vote of the masses, determined that the Mona Lisa is worth millions of dollars. But someone who just doesn't like it for whatever reason may see no value in it whatsoever. Monetary value is therefore subjective because experiential value is subjective. A lot of people think Windows is crap and Ubuntu the best OS they've ever used. Yet Windows costs money, while Ubuntu does not. It's the same thing with other forms of cultural distribution: whether or not you pay fiat currency for an item does not affect its inherent value to you, the individual.

    Plus, sharing is caring, and in Kopimist theory, copying is not stealing, especially not with the relative ease of obtaining a like-new 1:1 version of the original. Hence their attribution of the shortcuts for copy and paste in their logo. If I was to make a 1:1 copy of the Mona Lisa, that's not stealing; lifting the original off the walls of the Louvre, however -- *cut* -- is. The Kopimists believe that copyright, as well as currency economies upon which the copyright system is based, are just vehicles of social control. There are a lot of things that should be *free* in the commonly used sense of the word: healthcare, education, food and water, and sanitation facilities are some of them. Culture, that is to say music, movies, software, and global, barrier free methods of unrestricted communication should be too. After all, nobody paid Christ or Aristotle for their *public performances* of the Parables and the Greek Myths.

  2. Mark
    January 14, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    All my music is downloaded from You Tube. I use for that purpose "Free You Tube to MP3 converter" from DVD VideoSoft.
    At the moment a have 50 GB of all kind of the best quality audio music of all kind.

  3. Michael Schenk
    January 11, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    I really like to physically own the music, especially to have a booklet. But it takes too much space. So I once decided to start buying mp3 - Amazon and Google Play are my favourites. Would really prefer to be able to get correct id3 tags with it. and some more:
    - Best of albums could contain single covers ...
    - and of course there could be a digital booklet.
    Would be worth some extra money

  4. Al Walsh
    January 11, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I use MP3 Rocket they have everything plus many great live concerts. Instead of having a file automaticly go to Itunes (never again) I send files directly to my documents , from there I can send them anywhere. It was real nice to just slip a memory card in my Samsung Tab 3, Youtube is also a great way to build a music library

  5. Brian D
    January 11, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    58 years old here. 11,461 mp3 songs in my collection as of today, not counting Christmas music.

    It's a lifetime of my own LP's, cassette, reel-to-reel, CD and live recordings of my kids' school performances and my own noodling around on guitar, piano and vocal stuff. It took years and years to rip particularly the LP's in real time, divide them into tracks, properly tag them and add cover art., let me tell you.

    I still buy music. Mainly from Amazon or iTunes as either mp3 downloads or, occasionally, as CD's. I still browse the thrift shops and am continually adding more vinyl LP's, cassettes and occasionally CD's to my mix. I also buy single songs occassionally. Oh, and I bought Miley Cyrus' "BANGERZ!" at Christmas because I needed something for a White Elephant gift exchange. The last true album I bought for myself was a download from Amazon of "Amoureuse", a 1974? album by French singer Veronique Sanson.

    When I grow tired of trying to find a used version of something I want, I eventually buy it new. When I want something that's current, I'll also buy it new.


    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      Are you sure you didn't buy Bangerz because you love Miley Cyrus and her music?! ;)

  6. Paul Barwick
    January 11, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I mostly stream music, until recently from TuneIn, but about a week ago I signed up for Google unlimited streaming which I am happy with. I stream all day, even when riding my motorcycle. I am not really into owning music. As long as I am able to play something I enjoy listening to, at good sound quality, preferably without ads, then I am happy. FWIW I am 67 yo.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      My dad is a similar age and I've failed to convince him of the joys of streaming. In other words, well done on seeking out better ways of doing things!

  7. Ruben Herrera
    January 11, 2014 at 6:40 am

    I am just going to be honest: The Pirate Bay.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Naughty. Do you feel any guilt whatsoever in pirating?

  8. K Davis
    January 11, 2014 at 6:05 am

    Your not going to believe this, BUT, I listen to music on the RADIO, yes, you read correctly......Tampa Bay, 107.3 has everything that I Still LOVE and ALWAYS will LOVE.....Yes, I am a bit old fashioned....that's what makes me ME. All I need is a radio....and all the Old Timers that are still ROCKIN.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Do you own any music then? Or is it the radio all the way?

  9. Tom W
    January 11, 2014 at 1:42 am

    Most of the music I get is streamed from a free Last.FM account, because this way I can listen to a large amount of varied music without spending the time and money required to buy it all. If I want to listen to something specific that I don't own, I'll see if I can find it from Vevo on Youtube.

    Sometimes, a specific artist I like will release a new single or album that sounds good, so I'll either buy a physical copy from Amazon (and rip to MP3) or I'll buy the MP3 from Amazon. I use amazon because it's cheap, familiar, and quick. I know I can find what I want and pay for it without hassle.

    I mainly listen to music when I'm working, and I find that techno helps me code, but since I don't listen to techno at any other time I don't have any in my collection. This means that I'm far more likely to stream music than to listen to my own stuff.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      You seem to have it all figured out. I'm with you in finding streaming is enough most of the time.

  10. Tom
    January 10, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Amazon - but looking for alternatives. Dont buy a lot of music though -- cept around xmas (mostly for myself then lol. Have to admit I rip YT videos, but mostly ones that arent available commercially e.g. live spots from TV or radio sessions.

  11. Cassie S
    January 10, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Amazon MP3. I stick the albums I want in a CamelCamelCamel wishlist and wait until they drop to $5, it almost always happens eventually.

    I listen to Rdio to try out albums before I purchase them or to listen to songs that I like, but know I won't like the entire album.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      Keeping an eye on prices until they drop is a great idea. As is using streaming services to discover new music :)

  12. Bob Pianka
    January 10, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    I usually use a free online music source, Pandora or Grooveshark, to explore. When I find something I really like, I buy physical media online, eBay or Amazon. Then I burn the music to disk in lossless format and listen too it on the computer. I convert it to mp3/Ogg for use on portable devices.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      Using streaming services to find new artists is a brilliant idea. More people should do that, especially if, as you do, they then buy the music of the acts they like rather than download them illegally.

    • Bob Pianka
      January 12, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      +Dave P
      Pandora and Grooveshark (probably others but I don't use others) will suggest artists and songs you might like based on what you have liked before. I have discovered artists I never knew existed this way a bunch of times.

  13. James Shootentore
    January 10, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I prefer to use Pandora. I use Pandora because I have a problum finding songs I like Pandora just funds them for me.
    if it was not so expensive I would probably change to google play music, unlimited music to ur library and internet radio... but I don't keep enough music to make my money back

  14. Farnando
    January 10, 2014 at 10:55 am

    From Music Box from tmn (Portugal).
    It's free for almost all tmn clients and with unlimited data traffic for the service. It's not perfect but for 0€ a month it can't hurt.

  15. Christopher Bowley
    January 10, 2014 at 10:18 am

    I purchase all of my music through Google Play. More recently though, I signed up with their All Access program and get all of my albums for free.

  16. Gord
    January 10, 2014 at 7:04 am

    I listen to radio and won't download any music. I'm never sure what is legal and what is not. Unfortunately radio around here is packed full of commercials, something I will have to deal with until the funds are available for downloading.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      You may find streaming, through Spotify or Rdio, is a good option for you. There is less advertising on it, and if you pay a small monthly fee the ads disappear altogether.

    • Gord
      March 18, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Finally got around to trying both Spotify and Rdio. Tried to set up a Spotify account, unfortunately its not available in canada. Just trying out Rdio now so far it seems ok.

  17. Dan
    January 10, 2014 at 6:57 am

    I pirate MP3s ever since Napster. Then came Audio Galaxy. Then BearShare/Gnutella. Then Limewire. Then eDonkey. Then Bittorrent. Then eLockers. Now I just rip music from Youtube videos.

    I won't justify my piracy. It just is.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      You won't justify it, but can you?

  18. Missingno
    January 10, 2014 at 6:23 am

    If I am focused on listening to the music and I do not already have the file, I will find it via YouTube.

    If it is a song I find myself frequently streaming, I will download it from mp3skull or find it using google searching for file indexes.
    If there is an album I want, I will download it from PirateBay.

    I have only purchased 1 album my entire life, I am nearly 24.
    2001, Gorillaz, self titled. Before they were cool, haha.

    My Music Piracy Path:
    Napster -> Audiogalaxy -> Morpheus -> LimeWire -> Torrenting

    I just realized, I have been torrenting for 10 years now. What the fuck?

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Do you feel any guilt whatsoever for pirating? Especially as you have done it for 10 years now. Or do you see this as a victimless crime?

  19. sean conley
    January 10, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Great question.

    I buy music from local bands and bands I really love. I recently bought Pinback's information retrieved on iTunes. I try to buy digital albums as I don't have the physical space to own vinyl and collect CD's anymore. I download all of the rest.

    When they play in my city I pay to go see them and buy their merch. As a musician that has toured through europe several times I appreciate those who come to shows and buy the music directly from us. I have always uploaded my music to the Internet and encouraged people to download it for free and share it with others. It is the best way for everyone in the world to get a chance to hear your music. ?

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Supporting small, local, independent bands is extremely important. I take it from what you have said you reject the business model of record labels and big contracts?

    • sean conley
      January 14, 2014 at 1:30 am


      Oh yes. I forgot to mention in the comments that I also run my own d.i.y. label, sleepinghouse records. It is just me and I put out music on formats such as tapes, CD's, DVD's, as well as just digital copies. I wholeheartedly reject the business model of record labels and contracts. I actually despise contracts and business and feel this is a skewed model for music. With the internet, I think if music is out there it will get heard. Word of mouth, blogs, social network sharing, these are all free platforms for music. A few of my bands were on a d.i.y. label based out of Germany run by an incredibly guy. He helped book our tours in europe, gave us a place to stay, and overall is a top notch dude. There are communities of great people out there that can help bands, it is just about networking and finding the right people to accomplish what you want to do.

  20. Kevin
    January 10, 2014 at 3:39 am

    Usually, I use mp3 or flac for my music these days. So, when I buy music, I buy digitally from Amazon or directly from the artist. I get some music from the Internet Archive in the live shows section. Lately, I've been getting some new music from NoiseTrade. Another erratic source is music blogs with links to reviewed songs and albums. Pandora got too annoying and didn't really introduce me to new music and now I listen mostly to for the curated set lists by genre from which I can go look for new music. My other "radio" station is Radio Paradise.
    Of course, there's always p****ing for older, lesser known music

  21. Db
    January 9, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    File sharing with friends, co-workers & family. We have a shared online "space" where we share our digital music files. We have 26 folks that contribute. Library has 40k + songs. Simple, easy....try it out.

    It started with just myself, my 2 brothers and my sister. Then my sisters kids joined in, 2 cousins...etc.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      Sharing music collections between friends and family is a great idea. I assume you don't ever open it up to random strangers online?!

    • Idonit
      January 12, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      Dave, I'm sure you understand that most of these people are still very close friends of mine and I wouldn't think that you would get online and talk about your friends in anyway good, bad or indifferent. But thanks for asking

    • Dave P
      January 13, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      Er, I'm not sure you understood my reply. I was carefully asking whether you opened this collection up to people who aren't friends, as in people on P2P sites etc. I wasn't asking for myself, I was subtly enquiring as to whether this was a form of piracy or not.

  22. Idonit
    January 9, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    I record music that's over 35 years old for the most part so I listen to online radio and use AVS to record what I like. Since the music has changed so much in the last 25 years there is not much I would want in my playlist from these years. I was a Rodei for years for bands like Buffalo Springfield and so on.
    The last band I worked for was Tom Petty & the Hart Breakers, and lots in between. If any one knows about life on the road I would think you would know just where I'm coming from..

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      We all reach an age where our music tastes cease changing. I'm just getting there now, as I approach 40. The number of new bands I like is dwindling, and I find myself turning to stuff I liked 10 years ago.

      That must have been a cool job. Any backstage gossip you can share? ;)

  23. Yodi Collins
    January 9, 2014 at 7:15 pm, (for the J-pop/K-pop I can't score on and music blogs.

  24. D R
    January 9, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I haven't purchased a CD in years. I used to have a fairly big collection (1,500 CDs or so), but I got tired of having to find space to store them, or pack and move them. Once I discovered digital music, I gave up on physical media completely. I ripped my collection to MP3 format, and any music I've obtained since then is also digital. My preferred music vendor is iTunes. Almost all of my devices (laptop, desktop, tablet and phone) are Apple products, so it's mostly a convenience thing. I'm also in Canada, so a lot of music services weren't (or still aren't) available up here; iTunes has been available for years.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      You must have suddenly saved yourself a lot of room when you switched from physical to digital. For Apple users iTunes makes a lot of sense. Does it completely satisfy you though?

  25. Carlo Vincente
    January 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Grooveshark and sometimes Spotify. I´ve not downloaded anything for quite a long time, all is streamed to my laptop or phone.

  26. R. Martin
    January 9, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    I have over 10,000 tunes on my computer. Some were transferred from the large collection of CD's I have accumulated over the years. Some were purchased online "legally." The majority were purchased from the recently shut down Russian site, Legal Sounds. I have not purchased any music since that site was shut down. I do pay for XM satellite radio, which I listen to in my vehicles. At home, I either listen to music stored on my computer or to Pandora.

    The music industry uses false logic when estimating their monetary losses because of sites such as Legal Sounds. As an example. Suppose I purchased 1,000 tracks from Legal Sounds. That would have cost me $90 at $0.09 per track. The music industry assumes that had the Legal Sounds website not been available that I would have purchased the same 1,000 tracks from a site such as iTunes at a cost of $1,290 at $1.29 per track. The music industry counts that as a $1,290 loss. It is absurd for them to make such an assumption. There is no way on earth that I would have spent $1,290 on music from any website! The amount lost by the music industry was only the $90, which I spent at Legal Sounds.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      The music industry does indeed overestimate the loss of earnings it suffers, but then they're bound to do so. While you, and most other people, wouldn't buy half the music they download illegally that doesn't make it right.

  27. TheMusicMan
    January 9, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I use Google Play All Access as my primary listening source. For DJing and offline use I either purchase the song or download from Usenet and/or a private tracker like What/Waffles/TranceTraffic, etc.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      Do you have any qualms about obtaining music illegally?

  28. Roger C
    January 9, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I rarely ever buy a CD anymore. Most music I purchase is through iTunes or Amazon. I frequently check website for intros and other freebies and that is the majority of the music I obtain.

  29. Jeff Schallenberg
    January 9, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    In my living room - Internet radio via Logitech Squeezebox. I subscribe to XM Radio, so I can listen to the same stations in my car, but there are thousands of other online stations.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      What do you do if you hear a song you to own for yourself?

    • Jeff Schallenberg
      January 12, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      @Dave P: I don't need to "own" music. If I hear a piece on XM or FM thatI would like a copy of (e.g., I just heard the last movement of Gustav Mähler's Fifth Symphony. I will surely find several recordings of it on Youtube, and I will record it as an MP3 using OffLiberty, and add it to my Logitech server.

  30. android underground
    January 9, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Buy CDs every once in a while. Download from BitTorrent. Download mp3s with Android apps and straight through my web browser.

    Apart from BitTorrent (where you upload what you download) all my music and movie piracy is 100% legal, because the Dutch Copyright Act from 1912 allows me to download any work of art from any source for personal use as long as I don't share my downloads with others.

    Artists still make money from my downloads, because over here we pay a levee on blank disks, hard drives, phones, tablets, and anything else that can store digital media.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      I'm not sure the Dutch Copyright Act would apply to artists and record labels not based in Holland. But please correct me if I'm wrong :)

    • android underground
      January 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      The Dutch Copyright Act applies to all downloads as long as the downloader is located in The Netherlands when downloading.

    • Dave P
      January 13, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      Well, I stand corrected. I find that utterly amazing though, and am going to do some reading up on it :)

    • android underground
      January 14, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      What's so amazing about it? Laws that work across borders are few and far between.

      The DMCA may say I can't download stuff, but the DMCA goes down the toilet 12 miles off the US coast.

  31. likefunbutnot
    January 9, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Music that I like and want isn't likely to be found in some steal-able form. I like art music (classical music and jazz), and since Demonoid went away there hasn't really been any community with a concentration of dedicated music sharing that caters to that sort of thing.

    So I'm not averse to buying compact discs, SACDs or DVD-Audio discs, nor to purchasing high resolution digital downloads (.FLAC etc. )if they're made available. I frequently buy from, simply because I can get immediate delivery of digital items for listening on my devices, and I have a vast Cloud Player library because a couple years ago Amazon placed copies of hundreds of albums I had purchased from it (or CDNow, a company it acquired) since the mid-90s. This has made Amazon my go-to destination for new music purchases, mostly due to the vast library of available titles and the ability to hear something the instant I purchase it.

    Once I get a physical disc, I rip it using whatever tools are best suited for doing so. My goal is to never touch the physical disc again after I rip them. The originals go in a binder along with their art and inserts and all the plastic bits get tossed. I can listen via Plex or using the source files as best matches my needs.

    As far as music I don't care about: I also have a vast collection of music I don't care for because other people have asked me to put it on my Plex server. That stuff is probably mostly from the days of P2P sharing and/or meticulous ripping of a CD collection.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Your taste in music obviously limits your options somewhat. If you were into pop music would you download albums rather than buy them?

    • likefunbutnot
      January 12, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      I don't know. When I did have ready access to interesting illegal downloads, most of what I was grabbing were high-resolution vinyl rips of discs that had never even been issued on CD in the first place.

      I'm not personally bothered by the ethics of copying the data for anything that amounts to mass-market media, but since so many of the composers and performers whose work I enjoy need to sell those CDs and aren't going to have any tour dates in my neck of the woods, I don't have many other direct avenues to support their art. Copying some bits from a RIAA-supported big name artist, though? That's less of an ethical issue to me than jaywalking.

    • Dave P
      January 13, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      You're certainly not alone in thinking that way. It seems to be the presence of the record labels and big contracts that affects people's views on piracy, which I find fascinating. It suggests the music industry needs to change from the ground up going forward.

  32. nico
    January 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Vinyl is far higher quality than any other format - the nuances of sound, the atmosphere -the feel - just is not there on digital. I use spotify to explore new music, and for convenience - ripped copies of my own CD's for music that will never be on Spotify. I can imagine once Spotify vastly increases its collection, clears up its numerous errors (all bands of the same name are treated as one, for example), and sampling rates are higher - as bandwidth speeds increase, then everyone will move across to such a service. Eventually I would hope for Video too.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 5:04 pm

      I certainly share your hopes that Spotify (and other streaming services) will get better and become the dominant force. However, I must admit I don't notice any difference in quality between digital and vinyl as it is. Maybe I need my hearing checked.

    • Nico
      January 13, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Vinyl? Maybe its just me being Nostalgic for the 'old' sound! Reading your previous comments about how people would feel if Spotify would go 'bust' - it is indeed a concern. I've got a couple of hundred playlists of favourite music, which i love, but at my age I would just forget who these artists/albums are if the playlists were to just disappear - and thus the music is as good as lost. I fell foul to the demise of Comes With Music - yes i can still play 'my' tracks, but Nokia's music player (which I'm forced to use as they are DRM tracks) crashes more than even windows. So yes it concerns me, and I would be willing to pay more to allow Spotify (or alternative) to increase their catalogue, increase their accuracy and secure their longevity. I can't wait to see the same model for Video too.

    • Dave P
      January 13, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Perhaps. I haven't listened to vinyl for so long I've forgotten what it sounds like!

      The potential demise of these streaming services is a concern. I'm with you; I would forget what music I had added to playlists over the years if it disappeared one day. And I would be back to square one.

  33. Arie W
    January 9, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    i used to had thousands of mp3 files, but now i have only about 200-250 files.
    my internet connection is kinda slow, so streaming is a bit hard, but i can still stream very low quality radio or video, so my choice now is buy cd, lucky for me now there are a few mp3 cds containing about 100 mp3 files each, i have 2 of them, and yes they are legal, they contain only indonesian pop songs, they sell it for about 1 US dollar each, cheap and legal :D
    beside that i got my mp3 files from a couple of old audio cds of mine, not much, but it's legal [ i have the cds right here]
    if i want other songs then i just listen to radio or watch tv, my cozy little world lol :D
    btw, i still can't decide if download video [or audio] from youtube is legal or not, youtube said i can't download from them as long as there is no download button, but now there are some software that can add their own download button, so what do you think? :D

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      Technically it's illegal to download copyrighted material from YouTube, the same way it would be if the file was sitting on a music blog. However, it's also technically illegal to record music off the radio, and yet everyone always did it regardless.

    • Arie W
      January 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      argh there it is, i can't watch youtube because slow internet, i can't download it either, oh well... i like those music videos there :)
      i read about Betamax Case sometime ago, but i don't know, i'm not an expert in law department.

  34. Grant L
    January 9, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I normally listen to creative commons music that is easily obtainable legally for free (As in beer).

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Nice choice! Doing this also means you avoid the terrible music that invariably rises to the top of the pop charts these days.

  35. Aibek E
    January 9, 2014 at 11:12 am


    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Does it concern you that if Spotify were ever to go bust your music collection would suddenly be unavailable?

    • Aibek E
      January 13, 2014 at 6:34 am


      Never thought about that).

      Spotify is a subscription based service which provides access to its vast music catalog at fixed cost. I assume it can go offline at any time and if that happens I can just switch to another similar service like Rdio.

    • Dave P
      January 13, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      Oh, I know what Spotify is. I subscribe to it myself. :)

      My point is that it's by no means guaranteed that Spotify is going to be around forever, and Rdio might not be there for you to switch to. And what all of us who pay for one of these services is doing is spending money on the now with no idea of what the future holds.

  36. Ebbe K
    January 9, 2014 at 10:28 am

    I buy CDs and I will continue to do so until I can get the same quality through downloads. And yes, my CD collection is of course ripped to a lossless format.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Is it bad that I can't tell the difference? Would you describe yourself as an audiophile?

    • Ebbe K
      January 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      No, I don't think of myself as an audiophile and the sound equipment that I have bears that out :-) It is good but nowhere near outstanding.
      But I do listen to lots of different music played with lots of different instruments. For some instruments (e.g. hammered dulcimer) there is a marked difference. between lossless and lossy. And if the lossy compression chosen is too lossy, the applause in live recordings sounds absolutely awful.

  37. Mburu S
    January 9, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Am from Africa specifically from Kenya. Like in many other African countries the cost of internet is way to high so buying online music and downloading or live streaming is out. Your left with the option of getting different music from friends who have access to internet either from their workplace or cyber cafes. Many of the music is either downloaded from torrent sites or YouTube and then converted to mp3. Getting a physical Album from the shop is also too costly only few can afford. Another thing your not likely to get genuine western music in most Kenyan stores as most of it is pirated and sold by street vendors at very low price.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      What did you (and/or other people in Kenya) do before the advent of digital piracy?

  38. tanya reed
    January 9, 2014 at 8:08 am

    I no longer purchase music. The music industry killed all musical interest for me.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Is there any way they'll get you back on side?

  39. Alan
    January 9, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I used to download music from a multitude of sites and at one time had around 10,000 songs on my computer nicely catalogued into the various artists folders. Now I have but a handful that I have ripped from my own CD collection.
    Why? Because my main source for music is now Spotify so basically I have access to hundreds of thousands of songs so there is no point in me filling up a couple of hard drives with mp3's anymore.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Are you concerned that in the future Spotify could go bust, taking all of that music with it?

      Also, what are your thoughts on the sums being paid to artists under the streaming model?

  40. Matt
    January 9, 2014 at 7:02 am

    I primarily download via curated blogs I follow and Bandcamp these days. For good bands I know I have a chance of seeing I'll usually buy an LP and see a live show.

    I enjoy LPs because with the right analog setup and analog recording, they still sound better than digital, so you can recreate that live performance best and indefinitely. Plus, there is some great physical art out there to go with the LP. If I know the recording is digitally produced, and if the band is far away, usually I'll download their FLAC (another reason I enjoy Bandcamp).

    For big bands with discographies, I'll just torrent them or scour the discount bins for duplicates that small record shops have too many of. Let's be honest, most of those older bands have already made it big and my money is better saved and given to charity than to the super rich musicians out there propped up by a label.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      While we don't condone piracy in any way, it seems you're picking and choosing who you do and do not support financially. Which makes some sense.

  41. Tug R
    January 9, 2014 at 6:33 am

    I'm an Rdio subscriber for a couple of reasons. The first and perhaps most important reason is that they offer a student rate of $5 per month, which is the cheapest option available when compared to Spotify/GPAA. I prefer being able to have a buffet style option as opposed to the iTunes route as it means I can listen to all the music I want for a relatively low cost. Finally, I like being legit. I've downloaded music illegally before, but it's difficult to justify that kind of behavior when being honest is so reasonably priced. Even if they're only paid a fraction of a penny per listen, artists deserve to be compensated for their efforts.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      I like your thinking. It matches mine pretty closely.

      Do you ever worry about the one problem with streaming services, which is if they were ever to disappear so would your access to the music you love?

    • khendar
      January 13, 2014 at 11:47 am

      I see these streaming services much like a cable tv subscription. You can consume whatever content they have on offer, maybe save some of it for later or offline consumption, but you never actually own the content. You're paying for access to the content , not for the content itself. If your cable company goes under you don't actually lose content, you lose access to it. In a way it's like a paid library membership.

      Naturally I'd be disappointed if Spotify shut down, but I wouldn't feel like I'd be losing my files and playlists.

    • Dave P
      January 13, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      That's a great analogy, Khendar. :)

  42. Misc
    January 9, 2014 at 6:30 am

    All the above practically. CDs through small vendors, digital through amazon, downloading through torrent.

  43. Vasilis
    January 9, 2014 at 5:28 am

    on mobile : I use spotify to check on new music or find songs i like cause the streaming of spotify is free for now...and i get more space on my phone this way..
    pc/laptop: mostly youtube,downloaded or cloud based.. sometimes some cds too..
    Didnt ever need anything else...

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      Are we talking paid-for downloads or illicit downloads here?

  44. rs
    January 9, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Itunes, of course

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Apple fanboy?

  45. Clément
    January 9, 2014 at 4:11 am

    I've always pirated music (I'm 17). In 5th grade, limewire was really popular to get your favorite songs. Then everybody found their own ways. You could download whole albums, or different songs, pick your quality (always 320kbps).

    Why? I never had the money to buy music. And when I started making money, I found no reason to start. If you get something for free for years, are you going to start paying for it? Of course not.

    I now have over 10 000 songs in my library, which I have cleaned up (talk about a pain) by adding artwork, lyrics, and correcting mistakes. There's no way I could've obtained that many songs -90% of which I still love- legally. I'm also comforted by the notion that me not buying Lady Gaga's latest album doesn't affect her in any way. However, when I pirate smaller artists (i.e independent labels), sometimes I'll also buy their album, or go to their concerts.

    As always the problem has been availability. Arguably the biggest consumers of music, pre-teens and teenagers, are asked to purchase music legally, most of the time by credit card. I don't know any kid under my age that has one (debit sure, but no one takes debit online). iTunes gift cards you say? Buying 20 50$ gift cards is not only financially painful, it's too cumbersome to enter all those codes one by one.

    Before you go calling me a spoiled teen, my mom is a single mother of two kids living on a 30k salary with little to no support from my dad. So there's that.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      For your generation I guess the idea of buying music is a bizarre one.

      How many albums would you have bought legally if piracy didn't exist? Most pirates insist they're not costing the industry any money, but you appear to have acknowledged you have.

    • Clément
      January 12, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Piracy has always existed. I can't imagine a world where it doesn't. To answer your question in another way, if I can't find a song online (couldn't find mp3 and couldn't download album and couldn't find it on youtube so that I could convert it) then I just don't get it. The great thing about piracy is if more than one person wants it, you're sure to find it somewhere.

      Of course I'm costing it money, just like bad marketing or glitches would cost it money. What I was saying is that for big labels, the 99 cent penalty I'm causing them is so insignificant that it doesn't bother me at all.

    • Dave P
      January 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      Of course piracy has always existed, but the Internet opened it up to everyone rather than the small percentage of people who were happy to go and buy a dodgy copy from a bloke on the street.

      The problem is those 99 cents all add up. You cannot look at piracy as just you against the music industry, as you're not the only one doing it.

    • Clément
      January 14, 2014 at 3:59 am

      Piracy doesn't hurt big record labels. They still make obscene amounts of money (artists make an insanely low percentage of that). It simply doesn't bother me. If I want to watch The Hunger Games with my family, I go straight to torrenting. It's not even a thought.

  46. Dale
    January 9, 2014 at 1:55 am

    I'm so disgusted with the music industry that I rarely buy new music. I listen to my own CDs that I ripped to MP3. The closest I come to new music is listening to Pandora when I can stand the commercials. If commercial-free Pandora was only $2-$3/month I'd probably subscribe. When I don't want to hear commercials, but I want to hear something I don't have, I usually check YouTube. I generally don't buy digital media because I don't like DRM. I did buy the DRM-free Jonathan Coulton catalog, when I had some spare funds, last year.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Is there any way the music industry could coax you back?

  47. khendar
    January 9, 2014 at 1:50 am

    I have a Spotify account which I use on multiple devices (work laptop, home desktop, phone, tablet) which I use 99% of the time. I find streaming is good for building playlists and Spotify's offline mode makes it almost as convenient as having the files.

    If I want to purchase a particular album I will buy it from Google Play. I prefer Play over iTunes because I feel like there is more freedom to download the MP3 files onto any device I choose. Usually I will drop them onto my iPod which is more compact than my phone if I am working out or just don't want the bulk.

    I still have some physical CDs which I've kept mainly for sentimental reasons. Most of them are collector's editions or out of print albums which are not available digitally.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      I've done the same thing with physical CDs, just holding onto those with something other than monetary value :)

      Do you pay for Spotify? If so, are you happy with the price?

    • khendar
      January 13, 2014 at 3:50 am

      I do pay for Spotify as it's the only way to listen offline, plus I find the constant ads in the free mode intolerable. I think the price is fair for the volume of music you get access to. That said I would probably not be spending $12 a month buying albums if Spotify were not available, I would probably just spend more time listening to the same music over and over, rather than having access to a massive library of new stuff.

    • Dave P
      January 13, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      That's interesting as it suggests you're actually giving more money to the music industry now than you would without streaming services.

  48. D.C.
    January 9, 2014 at 1:47 am

    I recently went on Amazon to purchase an MP3 album for $10. I noticed that I could purchase the physical CD for $3 less and receive the MP3s for free, which is what I did. I used the disc for gifting purposes.

    • Dave P
      January 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      Ha, that is bizarre. You definitely did the right thing though.

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