Over the past months and even years, I’ve watched as a dramatic shift overtook the mobile market in terms of content storage, especially music. What used to be an issue over how much music your phone and microSD card could hold quickly became an issue of watching your data cap to make sure you didn’t get an overage from streaming music. Services like Spotify, Pandora, and Songza have all established themselves into a new class in mobile music. So how has this trend affected things?
To start, I’m just going to put it out there and say that I’m pretty sure that I have only around ten songs on my phone. Those ten songs also happen to be the ten songs that I use for various alarms. The streaming wave has fully engulfed me and I’ve embraced it with open arms. All of my music listening, which there’s a lot of, is now done through streaming services. Whether it be through Songza, Pandora, or even Google Play Music, it’s all streaming based now. I no longer download my songs from Play Music onto my phone because I can just as easily stream them.
Streaming has become the norm for myself and many others due to the simplicity and ease of it. Previously, if you didn’t have the song downloaded onto your phone then you were out of luck unless you went and downloaded it, and if you were doing things legally, that also meant buying it. With streaming, things have changed, and in my opinion, for the better. Streaming can allow even the most ADHD of listeners to quickly find something that suits their fancy. Millions of songs are at your disposal, waiting to be played, and they’re all there without any need for downloading. The options that come with streaming are endless. Songza allows me to find music incredibly well due to it’s music concierge service that takes a number of factors into account, and then suggests playlists based on the mood that I might be in or the activity that I might be doing. With a couple of taps, I can be listening to a perfect soundtrack for my life at that moment. That’s the sheer power of streaming.
But you also need to take into consideration the cost. You can save hundreds of dollars on music by streaming rather than purchasing music. Services such as Songza and Pandora are free with Songza offering limited skips per hour and Pandora having both visual and audio ads. But they offer pre-made or computer-generated playlists. If you’re looking for a customizable selection of songs that you can mold into playlists to your heart’s content then you’re better suited to a subscription service such as Spotify. Paying $10 a month allows you full access to Spotify’s collection of music on all of your devices and gives you the ability to create your own playlists and such.
Streaming isn’t perfect though. There are a few downfalls and shortcomings that luckily, can be fixed. First of all, is the problem with data caps on our cell phone plans. Streaming music for long periods of time each month over cellular data can cause you to burn through a couple of gigabytes of data pretty quickly. You have to watch to make sure that you’re not going to go over your monthly allowance by streaming too much music. There’s also the issue with data coverage. When you end up in a dead zone or something with only EDGE or, depending on your carrier, unusable 3G, streaming becomes useless to you. Without the data speeds and coverage to back it up, streaming becomes impossible without Wi-Fi. This is probably the biggest current drawback to streaming as it can be rendered useless by something as small as slow 3G.
So now the spotlight is turned on you, the person reading this article. I want to ask you a question, do you still store music on your phone? Or have you become like myself and embraced streaming full-time? What are your thoughts on the entire matter? Put that comments section to good use and let me know!