Where do you get your music?
Since 2008, iTunes has been the largest vendor for people to purchase and listen to their favorite artists.
Songs only cost between $0.99 and $1.29 and you can put them straight onto your iPod or iPhone. This has been the most efficient and easy way to legally get the music we want.
Not anymore. There’s another way to listen to the music you want — for free — and it’s completely legal.
The sensation that’s trending lately is free music streaming. You can search and listen to any song or artist you want and listen to them without paying a cent.
One of the most popular music streaming sites is Spotify. Spotify was founded in 2008 in the Sweden, but wasn’t launched in the United States until 2011.
It allows you to search any song or artist and listen to them instantly — and not just a 30-second sneak preview. It also provides you with the top songs of today, just like iTunes.
The big appeal that Spotify brings is that it allows you to create your own (free) music library and playlists. You can follow others who make playlists as well and you can share your collections of songs with others anywhere in the world.
The most popular playlists can be found in categories on the Spotify site and those are separated into not only genres, but “moods.” There are playlists for parties, working out, studying, road trips, etc.
But how can this possibly make money if people aren’t purchasing the music?
Well, there are two ways Spotify makes money off of listeners.
One way is that if you are just listening for free, you will be exposed to several advertisements in between every few songs while you are listening. These ads typically range between 15 and 30 seconds and then it’s back to your music.
There are also a couple of restrictions to the free version.
You are only allowed to skip five songs per hour, and if you’re using the Spotify phone app, you can only listen to playlists on “shuffle.”
Spotify also has a “premium” option. This is the subscription version of Spotify where you pay $9.99 a month ($4.99 for students). This comes with certain luxuries like freeing you from the constant ads and giving you an unlimited number of song skips.
It also gives you more freedom when using the Spotify on mobile devices by letting you pick and choose any individual song you want to listen to without having to shuffle the playlists.
However, whether you have Premium or not, you can listen to any individual song if you use Spotify on a computer.
The most important aspect of Spotify is that it is legal.
Its use of advertisements and subscriptions allow artists to still get compensated for the music they write. This is what separates it from illegal music-sharing services that have been created in the past like Napster in 1999 and LimeWire in 2000.
It’s important that artists receive money for their music because they have the rights to their songs, and not compensating them for their work is stealing.
While Spotify might not yet be nearly as popular as the iTunes Store — which had an eight-year head start, it’s gaining popularity very quickly.
In May, Spotify reported that it had reached about 40 million active users, which is double the amount of users it had in 2012.
With other music streaming sites and apps like Pandora Internet Radio and 8tracks gaining users as well, it seems like streaming will become the way people listen to music in the future.
ITunes made CDs outdated by allowing people to buy single songs instead of an entire album. Now Spotify is slowly beginning to outdate the “iTunes method” by letting you listen to those same songs without even paying for them.
These new companies are changing the way we are exposed to our favorite songs and artists and making music easier to obtain as well.
In a society where people want the fastest, easiest route to the things they want, music streaming is a dream come true.