Sunday, April 30, 2017

Why I Don't... Pay A Music Subscription Service

In this day and age of streaming services, where one can just as easily store your whole music library on the cloud (usually someone else's cloud) as download it to your device, music streaming services are all the rage. At any given time, I have three or more installed on my primary mobile device (usually some combonation of Jango, Soundcloud, FMA, Google, and Amazon).

Each of these services, like so many others, (except possibly FMA) have a premium version, which generally amounts to more access, fewer (if any) ads, and better control. I've been tempted, but always shy away.

I have two problems.

The first is that my taste in music is all over the place. I have never once found everything I like to listen to all in one place, and I'm too frugal with my finances to bid into more than one. In the unlikely event that I could find everything on one media provider, I might buy in, maybe. Just maybe, because the odds are too great that my taste will expand, and their library won't, at least not in the same direction.

The second problem is that I don't like buying non-consumable thing more than once. If I've bought music from Amazon, I don't want to have to buy it or pay to listen to it through iTunes (just as an example). Despite the whole you're-buying-a-license-not-the-actual-product problem with digital media--which I have enough of a problem with as it is--I feel like places are too constrictive of their fine print if I'm only allowed to carry it with me to certain platforms. That feels as ridiculous to me as being limited to playing it at certain volumes, or only being allowed to use a headset and not playing it through speakers.

I don't like buying something and then being told how I can and can't use it. I paid for the right to call it mine (exempting copyright and trademark and those sorts of things--I'm not trying to make a profit off of it or cheat the creator out of their earnings, just to enjoy it how I want, where I want, when I want). It's not dissimilar to the argument about modifying your gaming systems, which only in the past year has become truly legal (I remember reading about it, but now I can't find applicable articles. Instead, enjoy this article about how tamper-proof/"void if removed" stickers are actually illegal).

So, yeah. I like my freedom, my variety, and my money, and having two or three of them shouldn't be mutually exclusive. Or at least, I don't think they should be. If that means I don't get to enjoy the freedom of endlessly streamable libraries of millions of songs, so be it. It doesn't really matter how big the library is, all that matters is how many of the songs you want to listen to.

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