I still buy albums...but I also use Apple Music. For someone like me who consumes a lot of music, new and old, it is important to have quick access and a large library. However, the last physical CD I bought was a year ago, so now I’m pretty much exclusively streaming. There have been various articles talking about how streaming is very quickly becoming the norm and surpassing all other mediums of consumption... blah blah blah. Here is what I think really matters:
Artists are making less money:
Buying albums has become less and less common over the years due to digital piracy going back to Napster and now torrenting. This means that the largest amount of income for a musician is usually from performing and touring. Whether that is a positive or negative is another discussion.
The happy medium now seems to be paid subscriptions. When you use a free version of Spotify for example, the artists and record labels get paid a very small percentage per stream. However, when you are a paying subscriber to Spotify they give a slightly less small percentage to the artist and label. This is the compromise labels and artists are willing to make, but free accounts seem to slowly be on the way out.
How they count:
Because of the rise in streaming, they can now be counted towards purchasing numbers and plaque certifications. So 1 listen equals 1 purchase right? Well, it’s not as simple as you might think.
30 seconds counts as a stream
150 streams is equal to 1 song purchase
10 song purchases equals an album purchase
Therefore, 1,500 song streams equals one album purchase.
What to choose:
Essentially there are three main options for streaming: Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Unlimited. They all do the same thing which is play music so it eventually depends which you are most comfortable with, whether it be the interface, integration with your phone, or your Amazon account etc. There are countless other options besides the “big three” but I eventually chose Apple Music because I have an iPhone and a MacBook, obviously exactly what Apple wanted me to do. Regardless, I now stream, download and delete a lot of music because I was never a fan of digital purchases. To me, you either buy the physical or you might as well be streaming it.