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The millionaire pop songstress Taylor Swift recently dumped Spotify Why Taylor Swift Is Wrong About Spotify Why Taylor Swift Is Wrong About Spotify In the past week Taylor Swift has pulled her music from Spotify, inspired countless song-pun laden headlines and reignited the debate about streaming music services. Read More because of its approach to selling music to the public. This raised questions over how we, the music-buying public, obtain music, and how much we should be paying for the privilege.

In this week’s MakeUseOf Poll, we want to discuss everything there is to do with music consumption. The question in the headline is just the beginning, a starting point designed to kick off a healthy, wholesome debate about the state of the music industry.

Anything But Neutral

To answer this week’s question please scroll down the page until you see the poll staring back at you. But first, we need to look at the results from last week, when we asked, “Do You Support The Idea Of Net Neutrality?

Out of a total of 461 votes, 75.9% chose Yes, I think it’s essential, 12.4% chose No, I don’t trust the government, 5.4% chose Yes, but I have reservations, 3.9% chose No, competition is everything, 1.7% chose I don’t understand net neutrality, and 0.7% chose I really don’t care either way.

When it comes to net neutrality, MakeUseOf readers are anything but neutral, with over 80 percent of those who voted voting in favor of net neutrality. Now, we just need to figure out how best to protect this ideal, whether that means supporting U.S. President Barack Obama’s suggestion of reclassifying the Internet as a utility Obama Backs Net Neutrality, Google Fights Ebola, & More... [Tech News Digest] Obama Backs Net Neutrality, Google Fights Ebola, & More... [Tech News Digest] Also, the Microsoft Lumia 535, edit captions with new Instagram update, The Who goes mobile, and the hour-long World of Warcraft documentary. Read More or something else entirely.

Even if you didn’t take part in the discussion surrounding last week’s poll, I strongly urge you to read the comments thread. People on both sides of the debate expressed strong opinions, and many did so extremely eloquently. It should be especially enlightening for the three percent of readers who either don’t care What Is Net Neutrality & Why Should I Care? What Is Net Neutrality & Why Should I Care? A significant number see Net Neutrality as essential to the survival of the Internet. In this article, we're going to look at why Net Neutrality matters, and why we should fight to protect it. Read More or don’t understand Net Neutrality, As Explained By YouTube’s Geniuses Net Neutrality, As Explained By YouTube’s Geniuses Are you still not sure what Net Neutrality actually is? Don’t feel dumb: it’s a nuanced concept. So, we tracked down videos from some of the smartest people on the Web. Read More net neutrality.

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Comment Of The Week

We received a lot of great comments, including those from Gordon Do You Support The Idea Of Net Neutrality? [MakeUseOf Poll] Do You Support The Idea Of Net Neutrality? [MakeUseOf Poll] We care more about your views on net neutrality than the views of any world leader. Because the future of the Internet should be decided by ordinary Internet users. Read More , Keefe K Do You Support The Idea Of Net Neutrality? [MakeUseOf Poll] Do You Support The Idea Of Net Neutrality? [MakeUseOf Poll] We care more about your views on net neutrality than the views of any world leader. Because the future of the Internet should be decided by ordinary Internet users. Read More , and Josh Do You Support The Idea Of Net Neutrality? [MakeUseOf Poll] Do You Support The Idea Of Net Neutrality? [MakeUseOf Poll] We care more about your views on net neutrality than the views of any world leader. Because the future of the Internet should be decided by ordinary Internet users. Read More . Comment Of The Week goes to James Howde, who earns our admiration and affection for this comment Do You Support The Idea Of Net Neutrality? [MakeUseOf Poll] Do You Support The Idea Of Net Neutrality? [MakeUseOf Poll] We care more about your views on net neutrality than the views of any world leader. Because the future of the Internet should be decided by ordinary Internet users. Read More :

I voted ‘Yes it’s essential’ on grounds of self interest.

Using the analogy of roads, if net neutrality falls, I’m not going to be the guy being chauffeur driven down the fast lane. I’ll be in the crowded bus with the screaming children waiting for the slow lane traffic to edge forward, along with the other plebs.

We chose this comment because, quite simply, it’s a good analogy. This way of thinking also explains why people with money are less likely to fight for net neutrality, as they’ll probably be OK whatever happens. Because throwing money at a problem always helps.

Melodious Musicians Making Money

We recently asked you which streaming music service you use What Is The Best Music Streaming Service? [MakeUseOf Poll] What Is The Best Music Streaming Service? [MakeUseOf Poll] Why pay several dollars per album when you can pay several dollars a month for access to thousands of albums? Hmm? Hmm? Answer! Read More . While this prompted an interesting discussion, it excluded all those people who source music in other ways, whether they buy it through a legitimate source or illegally pirate it online. It’s time to rectify those omissions.

We want to know how much you spend buying music. We’re limiting this to music in its purest form, so albums and singles are in, gig tickets and merchandise are out. The aim of the poll, and the discussion which follows in the comments section below, is to discover whether the record labels and their clients are justified in worrying about the future of the music industry.

Please vote in the poll above, and then explain in the comments below how you spend that money and what your feelings are towards the music industry as a whole. The best Comment Of The Week will win our everlasting admiration and affection. Well, at least until we meet back here again this time next week.

Image Credit: Martin Fisch via Flickr

  1. Victor
    November 27, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    I'll admit, I pirate certain songs that I'm don't REALLY love, but still enjoy to listen to from time to time (I'm just saving the time that it takes to organize the music publically rippable on youtube).

    That being said, however, I'm a firm believer that if you really like a song and the artist, then you should buy SOMETHING to support them. If there's a really good youtube cover/single out there, I'll buy it because I like it. If a band I follow is releasing a highly-anticipated album, I'll pre-order it.

    All in all, I believe that if you truely like an artist and enjoy his/her/their music, then you should support them and buy their music if you have the means.

  2. A41202813GMAIL
    November 26, 2014 at 6:41 am

    A - STATUS QUO Is My Favorite Band,

    B - BRYAN ADAMS Is My Favorite Singer,

    C - CHOPIN Is My Favorite Composer,

    D - The Mid NINETIES Brought Lots Of Wonderful COUNTRY Songs.

    What The Hell Happened To MUSIC Since ( D ) ?


    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      I hate Status Quo and Bryan Adams, only listen to the most populist classical music, and remember the 90s for Britpop rather than country music. Which all answers your question... music is extremely subjective.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      November 28, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Not Even ERIC CLAPTON ?


  3. Jolls
    November 26, 2014 at 6:37 am

    I got nothing against streaming, pirating, or buying. All 3 are amoral choices, despite pirating getting a bad rap, and streaming getting the occasional bad rap. I personally do a mix of all 3.
    I stream at work (cause of SSD and the firewall blocks P2P so I can't sync my music collection easily to work). I pirate music I occasionally want to listen to but that either the artist is dead or I don't care if they make any new music. I buy music that I want to actively encourage to make more. I especially will pre-order albums to help the band see the demand. I also subscribe to one $10/month fan-club.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Selectively pirating music as you do does indeed make it more acceptable. What lucky artist has you in their fan club?!

    • Jolls
      November 27, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Selectively pirating does make it more acceptable to people, but I still have no moral issues with even 100% pirating. But that's an argument for another day.

      I do love Neal Morse. I own 53 of his solo albums plus at least 12 collaboration projects (if you don't do anything else, please give Flying Color's song Blue Ocean a listen: Everything from Progressive to Country to Singer-Songwriter to 80's rock to Live albums to Musicals and even a few Worship albums. Anytime he's producing a new album (either solo or with people) I'm pretty much "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!" ;-) If you want to know more, superbly enough, he wrote an album about himself, called Testimony. Live concert of that album here:

  4. r
    November 24, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    With the introduction of cassettes and then cd's, I was spending $100 a month easily. It added up from the late 80's to well after the millennium. Sam Goody gave me a credit limit over 10k (I wasted so much money there). For me, that justifies downloading mp3's (paid or unpaid).

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      That's peculiar logic if you ask me. That money you spent 20 years ago isn't paying the artists whose music you're now pirating. Still, I'm not here to argue against piracy, so thanks for commenting.

  5. Das Frettchen
    November 24, 2014 at 2:54 am

    I spend nearly no money on music unless I really want a physical release - and then usually I'm getting the vinyl, because I'm pretentious/I like the big art/I want to actually use my record player on occasion/it makes me feel fuzzy inside. Occasionally I'll pick up a CD release if it comes with neat merch or swag, and once in a blue moon I'll grab a digital album I can't find anywhere to stream or what have you, but generally I don't buy music itself.

    That said, I spend a lot more than my vote ($1 to $20 a month) on music - it just all goes to concerts. I see as many as I can as often as I can afford to, and I often come back with merch or a signed single or such if I can wing it. Generally artists get more money from concerts in the first place, but also I just truly love going to them, so I try to stream as much as I can so I can save to go rock out/chill out/groove/whatever in person whenever I can.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      Gigs are a great way of supporting artists these days, but I felt I should leave them out of the poll to keep it simple.

      I can't remember the last time I heard vinyl. I can't say I miss it, either!

  6. pete
    November 23, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    I have a huge music collection. Between me and the wife we have pretty much every type of music available. From her Megadeath to my Paul Simon, we have all bases covered. Our CDs take up half a room and as I write this there are two very large boxes waiting to be sent off as we have sold our collection on line. Everything is backed up into the cloud or on back up drives.

    Any new music bought by us now is done using i-tunes vouchers we have bought at discount (£25 for the price of £15 etc) and with that "money" we tend to only but the occasional song we really want.

    It takes a while to find a new artist we like, although if we do we tend to buy the album from a local shop.
    It's only the odd "old" song that is missing from our collections that bought online.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Wow, that must be a huge collection. So, you're selling all of the physical discs online and just keeping the music in digital form? That's a great idea. I rip a CD to my PC as soon as I buy it, and then usually give it away. Who has the room these days?

    • pete
      November 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      I used two online companies to get the best price. one box has gone to musicmagpie and the other box to ziffit. Between them I'll get £88 for around 300ish CD's.

      I'm now backing up all my dvds (too many to count) and plan to sell those as well.

      More room in the house and some nice spending cash for the new year sales.

  7. dragonmouth
    November 23, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    I don't consider the racket made by today's "artists" as music. I don't buy it, pirate it or stream it.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      You must be old. No one over the age of 40 likes music made for teenagers.

    • dragonmouth
      November 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Yeah, I'm ancient. I was born in the last millenium. When disco came in, I tuned out.

  8. Scoish Velociraptor Maloish
    November 23, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Zero, I Pirate Everything except what I love most.

    • S.
      November 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      I do love Bandcamp though, so if I like an artist, I'll "donate" for their music.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      So, the average artists don't get paid for their wares, only the very best (in your opinion)?

  9. Cidman2001
    November 23, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I spend my music dollars on live music. I stream with ads or use ad supported YouTube for music exploration.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      I think that's happening increasingly often. Good for you for supporting your favorite artists by going to their gigs. I might put together a future poll based on music gigs or live performances.

  10. Leah
    November 23, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I decided to include my subscription to XM radio in this and that costs about $20 a month including fees (like the US Music Royalty Fee). It is worth it for me because I love radio so I definitely get my money's worth. I thought about cheaper internet radios but I like the programs XM has. I earn gift cards through various sites every month and with that I buy, among other things, music downloads. Music is important to me so it's worth it. The two things I spend the most money on are music and books.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      I've heard good things about XM Radio. Unfortunately, it's only available in North America, so I have literally no idea how good or bad it is!

  11. DK
    November 23, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    My approach to music is the same as my approach to TV shows, films and video games; I almost never buy new releases and opt to wait until I can grab a cheap pre owned copy down the line.

    Of my current collection, not a single song I own was released after 2012.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      That's very similar to my approach, I must admit. It's more with games than music, because it's rare that anything is worth paying $60 for. GTA V was a recent exception.

  12. R A Myers
    November 23, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    My music buying is more like $1-20 per year. I buy 50's to early 60's rock and roll, rythem and blues and country and western CD collections. There are two reasons. It's what I grew up with and I can still understand the words.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Those compilations are always very affordable. I have different tastes than you, but I have been known to buy the indie, rock, metal collections along similar lines.

  13. likefunbutnot
    November 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Classical music is seldom stream-able in a satisfactory fashion and the argument that I need to support an artist carries far less weight since the composer is often deceased and the members of an ensemble of performers are seldom going to get wealthy from album sales, but I do still buy discs, if only to demonstrate the continued viability of new releases in the genre I enjoy. I probably buy an album every week in a typical month in addition to whatever I might be able to find on filesharing services.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Ha, yeah I guess classical music stands alone in that regard. I mean, there are new composers making music, but I'm guessing you listen to the (really) old stuff more often than not.

      Are the CDs you buy generally compilations?

    • likefunbutnot
      November 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      @Dave P,

      There certainly are living composers - Arvo Part, John Adams, John LUTHER Adams, John Tavener, Philip Glass, Jennifer Higdon Eric Whitacre - but composition and orchestration happen at a different pace from popular artists who release two or three 40 minute albums a year.

      Classical albums normally have an element of uniformity, either by composer, conductor, soloist or ensemble. This is one of the things that make it difficult to categorize. I'd say I seldom buy a pure "compilation" album. Maybe the 100 MP3 for $2 deals that show up on Amazon, though I try to buy physical discs if I can.

  14. KT
    November 23, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Being a die hard metal head and former musician, most modern music and services don't interest me. I know how hard it is to be successful in the metal music industry, so I keep up on the bands I like through their websites and try to attend as many concerts as I can. I purchase cd's and merch there when possible because more of the money goes to the artist that way. When that's not possible, I try to purchase cd's and dvd's from their websites. Then I just load 'em up on my pc and make playlists for my phone etc. For my older albums (lp's, cassettes, etc.) I have no problem bit torrenting them, because I've already paid for them (sometimes more than once upgrading from lp-cassette-cd) and the artist no longer receives royalties any way.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Is that right? At what point do the artists stop receiving royalties? That would apply to bands covering others' music, but surely songwriting royalties continue on for decades.

    • KT
      November 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Typically, if the artist hasn't been under contract for 20 years (sometimes 15 or less depending on the contract) the royalties only go to the label or become public domain. Songs like London Bridge, Camp town races, etc. fall into that category. Bands like Grim Reaper, Death, Carcass, etc. that have not been signed in decades no longer receive royalties at all. Most metal bands don't have the benefit of radio play and have to rely on touring and merch sales at the shows. That's how we paid our practice hall rent and utilities, by selling cd's and tee shirts at shows. We made enough to self sustain our music hobby, but we all had to work full time to pay the bills.

  15. sondi
    November 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Though i don't listen to music, that segment of my life that others fill with music is occupied with audiobooks (e.g., driving, running, etc.) for which I do pay a bit over $20/month for one credit. I always try to choose the longest books possible that I am interested in for this credit so that the credit will last fo all my commutes and runs for that month. I drove and exercised to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series for 13 months and enyoyed every moment! Please note there are other modes of media that serve this same principle.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      That's a good point. I'm a huge consumer of podcasts, so I know exactly where you're coming from. I'm fascinated by the idea of never listening to any music though. Never, ever? Honestly?

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