One of Ronnie’s nicknames for me is My Own Personal Napster, or MOPN for short (the other is Nephew 2, which is pretty self-explanatory). For those who don’t pay attention to music trends, that Napster reference is pretty dated. Around 2000, this was the new way to get music. Emphasis on ‘get’ as opposed to ‘pay for.’ Music was turning digital, and while changes in formats was nothing new (vinyl to tapes to CDs), this shift changed how music was experienced and obtained more than ever.
Even if you didn’t use a file-sharing service, you could rip your CDs (or friends CDs) to your computer, burn CDs, or put thousands of songs on your iPod. Then you could forgo the physical album entirely and just buy digital files. This always seemed like an odd choice to me, since you didn’t have anything to hold as proof you ‘owned’ it. I still bought lots of CDs but more and more, I would just get the mp3s, especially when they were cheaper. Either way, they were still mine.
Already, trends have shifted again. Now there’s been a move towards streaming music subscription services, like Spotify and the new Apple Music. Being a reasonably young person, I try to stick with the trends, but this is one I held off on. They’re basically the musical equivalent of Netflix streaming, which I use on a daily basis. And now I have a similar subscription to the Marvel Unlimited app for comics. But there’s something different about owning music. Maybe it’s that I’ll watch a movie I own a few times, but I’ll listen to an album hundreds of times. The music I love gets absorbed in ways other entertainment doesn’t. Not owning it seems bizarre.
But I’m not made of money (ministers don’t make loads of money, after all). My chosen profession also makes pirating music a problematic option. So a few months ago I gave in and started my Spotify trial (you can try free for 30 or 60 days). That just ran out, so now I’m trying Apple’s 3 month free trial (both are $10/month normally). This probably isn’t helpful, but I don’t see huge differences between the two services. Some have complained that Apple missed the chance to innovate, which is what they were known for 10 years ago. It is nice to have everything in one place, even if it’s hard to keep it perfectly organized (which was always something I cared a lot about, whether it’s my CDs or iTunes).
The biggest plus for me is that you can listen to almost anything. For someone like me who is constantly looking into new bands I’ve heard about, this is exactly what I need. If I bought every album I listened to in the past few months, I’d have spent $400 (if they all cost $10). So that’s what should determine whether you start subscribing: how much music do would you normally get into? Both services have ways to introduce you to new music, but I haven’t found them helpful yet. If you don’t care about owning music, then you also might want to go for it.
So I’m gonna miss owning my albums, but on the plus side, I have a lot of new music to tell you about tomorrow.