Katelyn Holub

blogging about music, art, and creativity

Music Listening Habits in the Digital Streaming Age

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I recently read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the expanding digital music industry and how it is changing the way people listen to and discover new music, which got me thinking . . .

How have my own personal listening habits changed with the advent of more music streaming sites?

Listening to Live Performances--at least that hasn't gone away.

Listening to Live Performances–at least that hasn’t gone away.

While I still listen to my personal music collection, I’ve been adding music to my own collection at a slower rate than I used to.  Websites like YouTube and Pandora make it easy to listen to new music for free.  Plus, streaming players allow me to hear the music from those websites through my TV speakers (rather than my laptop).  In effect, these free music streaming services are decreasing my incentive to buy new music because I know I can listen to music I don’t own for free through fairly good sounding speakers.  {I’ll leave out a whole ‘nother discussion on how digital music has lowered sound quality expectations and preferences!}

At the same time, part of me feels enraged that the musicians and artists who worked hard to put music out there receive little compensation for their efforts.  That’s why I still do buy music and add it to my personal collection when I come across music that is particularly intriguing to me.  In the past, I bought more albums based on one song I heard at a friend’s house or on the radio and hoped I would like all the other songs on the album, but now I’m more discriminating with my musical purchases because I can be.

Most musicians’ websites (including my own) let people listen to entire songs/albums for free before deciding whether to make a purchase.  Is that really the way it should be? 

Take the book publishing industry, for example.  Before buying a book online, you can usually “sample” the product by viewing a few pages, but I don’t think I’ve ever really been able to view all the pages before buying (but I guess you theoretically could do this if you were standing in a bookstore and had super-fast reading skills).  Before deciding whether to buy a DVD, you can’t view the entire movie or TV show.  You might just get to watch a trailer or a couple of short scenes ahead of time.

I think music purchases should have the same sampling/preview standards as other similar entertainment products.  It is unfair that artists who happen to be talented in the audio rather than literary or visual field do not get to have the same opportunity to make a living off of their talents and abilities as a creative author.

How has digital music streaming affected the way you listen to music?


Author: katelynholub

I'm a law school graduate, singer-songwriter, believer, blogger, and general adventurer.

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