Do You Buy Music Anymore, Or Just Stream?

Do You Buy Music Anymore, Or Just Stream?

With streaming services like Spotify, Google Play Music, Apple Music, and SoundCloud in the mix, the way we pay for music is a-changin’. Have you gone full streaming? Or do you still buy albums and song downloads?

Photo by Flavio Ensinki.

Streaming was the largest component of record industry revenue last year, comprising a 34.3% of the market and surpassing digital downloads for the first time ever, according to the RIAA. Data like that explains why rumours of Apple ending iTunes music downloads are believable. That rumour was quickly squashed by Apple, but it definitely got people thinking. So, do you buy music anymore, or do you just use streaming services? Sound off in the comments below.


  • Usually listen to music at least once a day. Last few weeks it’s youtube streaming (wrote a nice interface myself in php that makes the youtube music experience top notch)

    Before that spotify streaming, no longer with them. Funny thing is I bought a record from a (revival) record store two days ago. Still have tapes and records. So I couldn’t say for sure (which is the favorite) analogue media or streaming or CD’s. It really is UNBELIEVABLE(x10) how much music is on youtube you can access.

  • Most of what I listen to is not available for streaming. Heck, a lot of it isn’t available to buy in Australia other than through eBay.

    Multiple services do not multiply the catalogs. Outside of Soundcloud and Bandcamp, they’re all selling or streaming much the same stuff, and unless you have a VPN, it’s extremely limited in Australia.

    • Have you tried Discogs?

      Pretty much documents everything ever released. And chances are you’ll find an independent seller on there flogging it.

      • Yes, I’ve contributed album cover images to them over a long period.

        There’s no problem usually getting CDs (other than newer issues from idiots who only release “MP3 or Vinyl”) but after clearing out 000s of them I really just want a lossless digital product. Paying $$ to ship bits around the world for the sake of a highly disposable wrapper is insane.

  • Buy it. At least I know it’ll still be there when I wake up in the morning… as opposed to LastFM users… I’m sure there will be more consolidation to come which will be a PITA for the users of those subscription services too.

  • I use spotify, which has all the music I could want for free anyway. I don’t mind listening to a 20 second ad every now and then

  • I don’t use any streaming music services, my internet quota is already full to the brim with youtube and general usage (gaming, software updates etc). Perhaps if I had unlimited internet, streaming would be a more attractive proposition, but then there’s also the issue of availability. I still have mp3’s that I bought back when mp3’s first became a thing and I can still listen to them today… assuming that a streaming service actually even serves that content, will they still be serving it in 10 – 15 years time? My mp3’s will still work then…

    Also, there’s the issue of who has the lincence to stream any given piece of content – I can buy a music track (or rip it myself) from a number of sources, for a one off price.. while I may have to subscribe to several streaming services in order to get the same content variety.

    All in all, it’ll be a long time before streaming takes over from local file content for me.

  • I do both, i stream mainly, but i like memeweaver i listen to alot of stuff not on the streaming services i use so i buy them

  • I have been using YouTube Music trial for a little over a week and I’ve got to admit I’m pretty impressed by the selection and usability. Only once has a non-music video’s audio started playing. I’ve been tight for so long, just using free streaming services, but I am actually considering paying for this YouTube Red now – added bonuses of offline video, no YouTube ads too! … i can’t see me using the bundled Play Music subscription though.

  • Google Play Music Family subscription. Being bundled with YouTube Red makes it pretty good value

    • +1 Been on Play Music since day 1. Added my wife and cousin into the family plan when Red became available. Youtube Red is fantastic. I do also occasionally buy (download) music too. Can’t remember the last time I bought a CD though.

  • If I’ve listened to a song/album more than three or so times, that is a pretty good indicator of future listening, so I will pony up some cash for it. If the artist offers the song/album for free, I will generally donate to a tip jar/buy some kind of merch. Artists don’t get the best deal when it comes digital music and I don’t want to be a part of that problem.

  • Stream. I found a sweet online radio station on TuneIn Radio and that’s all I listen to now everywhere. They have no ads and interestingly enough it’s a Ukrainian station (they play global tracks, not Ukrainian)

  • As others have said, once again we are lmited to geo-blocking… that said… spotify premium is fairly decent and isn’t as bad as netflix in that reguard. However again as others have said… the google play music + youtube red for $12 a month is fairly good!

  • I have a subscription with Spotify which I use to discover new music and listen to music in the car or at work. I purchase vinyl for the albums I really like. I enjoy the experience of listening to an actual full album in one go. I think vinyl is probably the only form of purchasing music that will stay relevant and not lose value.

      • Because when I am listening to Spotify there are too many distractions like checking facebook or replying to a message on whatsapp. My attention span is quite short. With vinyl I can shut out the outside world and just concentrate on the music.

        • I would have thought all those other distractions would be more present when the music is coming from another source.

  • I use Google Play Music to stream for the most part, with Bandcamp here and there. For me streaming is about convenience and ease of sharing my playlists between home and the office.

    For bands that I care enough about to support financially, I still go out and buy records and attend gigs.

  • Just recently started with GP Music when YouTube Red came to Australia; however I’ve gone through and added my entire personal music library to my GPM library (including uploading the approx 3,000 songs that were not present in Google Play) and will continue to upkeep both; buying permanent copies of new albums that I stream and enjoy enough to add to my streaming library.

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