Sunday, November 4, 2018

Physical Media or Digital Streaming, Which Do You Prefer?

The above headline is essentially the entire post--do you stream music, via Apple Music or Spotify or some other provider, or do you prefer physical media such as CDs or vinyl? It's something I've been wondering about, particularly for my audience, as it would be good for me to know which way the people who like my music prefer to consume music.

By all accounts streaming music is growing in popularity. I recently read a stat that stated that it accounts for about 41% of music consumption in the world. And there's lots to like about it. For roughly $10/month you can listen to practically every piece of music ever recorded. That is just incredible to comprehend. The Beatles to Hank Williams to Enrico Caruso to the band down the street, and everything in between. You can listen to it all. Many times I've used Apple Music or Spotify to check out the music of a band I was reading about that I had never heard. $10/month is a small price to pay for that sort of access in my opinion. And on Spotify you can access everything for free as long as you don't mind listening to ads. Another bonus is you have access to the world's music, and you don't have to build an addition onto your house to store it!

The downside, for some, is the fidelity. Streaming just isn't as good, in some people's opinions, as CD quality audio. But I think it's pretty close for a high bit rate file, and for some people the difference wouldn't be that noticeable.

Then there is the teeny-tiny royalty rate paid to the artist for a stream on Spotify or Apple Music. The last time I checked, I was getting paid .005 cents for one stream on Spotify. That's $0.00005 per stream. So I would have to have 20,000 streams to make one dollar. (Note: anyone who wants to help out can find me here on Spotify.)

But that is the world we live in, and it's best to go with the flow, as you can't win fighting it. So at live gigs I have been conducting informal polls, asking who in the audience listens to Spotify or Apple Music. I have to say that so far, it's not a lot of people.

So how about you? Do you primarily stream music, or do you prefer CDs or vinyl?

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