Don’t Follow The Stream

I’m going to get hammered with hate for writing this, I can feel it. It’s happened before every time I open my mouth on the subject. People come at me defending it like it’s a vital solution because they’re too broke for the alternative that I strongly preach, or they don’t believe that it will affect those strongly who dislike such a service.

Remember, this is an opinion article and nothing more.

I once wrote an anti-music streaming post on Facebook and some of my friends got upset and came to defense with one of the reasons above. But, I will never follow the stream for as long as I live, or at least not heavily rely on it as my main source of listening to music or watching movies and TV series.

I streamed the entire Clone Wars series via Netflix before buying a whole box set of DVDs. From now on when I want to watch it again, I’m going to pull out that box set and pop one of the discs into my computer.

I will listen to a band on YouTube that I’m new to, and once I love them enough, I’ll either buy the physical album, or a digital copy of it. It’ll be a freezing day in hell before I sign up for Spotify.

Scratch that, I did try Spotify once, I did NOT like it. Firstly, it was the fact that my phone needed to be connected to the Internet in order to play songs, and I like my music as I go out for a walk. Why should I need Internet for that? Secondly, I didn’t like how I could only listen to a song a certain number of times before having to pay for premium and have ads interrupt my listening until I pay; that’s also why I don’t listen to music on my smartphone, it gets automatically paused when someone calls me. Call it a pet peeve, the only person that should pause my music, is me. So, I disconnected my account there from Google and uninstalled it permanently.

Of course, this may be outdated because Spotify has likely changed over the years. But, I would rather do a one-time purchase for a song and listen to it an unlimited amount of times wherever I go. Plus, the beauty of buying music is it’s yours forever, I like to own the entertainment I love. This is the main reason why I wouldn’t heavily rely on streaming services, there is no guarantee that they will forever preserve your playlist. Artists, record labels, or the service itself can remove it at any time. But if you pay say $10 for an album, you can keep it forever. Spotify will never give you the satisfaction of calling your favourite album yours where no one else can touch it.

I just don’t understand why people no longer see the value in this. Why did we suddenly turn to streaming where it’s like you’re paying monthly to rent it like you pay your monthly rent for an apartment? Is it this belief that music should be free? Newsflash, NOTHING in life is free, get over it. Why don’t we like to own music anymore? Is it because it takes up storage space? That’s laughable if that’s true, because all my iTunes files barely take up any space on my hard drive, and my physical albums are picked out wisely and are only found on one shelf in my room!

I can understand that streaming can help you broaden your horizons in music easily, but why not just use YouTube for that? They don’t make you pay a monthly fee to listen to music on there! Someone told me that if they stopped streaming their music collection would be too small and they wouldn’t be able to afford to make it bigger. That’s a quantity attitude all over and since I am the opposite, no wonder we can’t compromise. Also, albums are not THAT expensive; at least where I live. I usually pay $10 – $15 dollars for an album (physical or digital) you’re telling me you cannot spend a minimum of ten dollars, five pounds, or whatever on one album? I don’t get it. Individual songs on iTunes and Google Play (Thank God iTunes is still around, probably because Apple is aware there is still a demand for buying music!) can cost a minimum of $0.99 which is cheap as hell. If you still can’t afford it, well…

Also, I feel like those who get into this argument with me, don’t see it from an artist’s perspective. Many will tell me they make the most money on tour. Yes, that is true, but believe it or not, artists greatly appreciate it when you buy their albums. Many of them do not like streaming services because they do not get paid a lot per song played. A song would have to be played billions of times in order for the artist to actually make a decent amount from any streaming service!

Some artists may be rich, but many of the bands I listen to work hard to make a living. Streaming does provide an alternative to illegal downloading where the artist won’t earn anything at all, but to some extent I agree that artists believe that streaming music devalues music in general. If I was a singer, I’d want to be earning the amount I deserve for all the hard work I put into making an album and streaming doesn’t generate record sales that would give me the cut I deserve. I wouldn’t allow my music to be on Spotify, Pandora, SoundCloud, etc. YouTube however, I will allow because if fans wanted to see my music videos as they cannot always wait for them to come on TV.

Whether an artist you love is a millionaire or not, buying directly from them gives them the entire profit, that’s how you support them. Like, I always buy band merchandise directly from the band at concerts, their website, or the record labels. When I said that on Hot Topic’s page after I grew tired of them no longer selling merchandise of bands I like, I got chastised by some people who thought the band was laughing at me because I was buying directly from them which can cost more. That’s an example of people who fail to realize that, buying an album is where your money goes directly to the band in full. Streaming and buying from stores like Hot Topic: your money mainly goes to them and the band gets a small cut out of it. People are also likely too lazy to spend extra cash to fully support the artist, or they believe they’re absolutely stone broke. When it comes to music, I care about where my money goes, so that’s why I’m willing to pay a little more if I have to.

It’s not like all artists are greedy when you pay extra to buy their music so you can keep it forever. Part of them will be happy because they need the money to make a living, but they will also be happy that their fans are supporting them.

I’ve spoken about why I will never download music, but that was the illegal way. This is a different story, and like I said, streaming is designed to drive us away from illegal downloading, but to some extent, it doesn’t give the artist your full support.

But, the bottom line is streaming will NEVER give you the satisfaction of getting to keep something you love forever. How would you feel if your favourite artist decided to purge their music from Spotify because they felt like they weren’t getting paid enough, and coincidentally, it happens the night before you were about to fly overseas? All their songs from your playlist you were planning to listen to on the plane, are gone. But, spend a small amount of extra cash, and you can keep all your favourite songs of them permanently.

You won’t have to rely on the Internet to hear your favourite songs, you won’t have to pay a monthly fee, you will only have to pay once even if it’s more than you think, and you won’t ever have to worry about losing it should it be removed from the service because you paid to keep it forever.

So, do yourself a favor and support your favourite artists with one simple step: Don’t follow the stream.


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