Spotify is, without doubt, one of the most successful, convenient innovations of modern times. Access to all the music is great – but is its £120-per-year subscription cost-effective?
I have a confession: it’s 2018 and I still buy CDs. It’s something that many of my friends, family and Which? colleagues cannot fathom. But for me, it still makes sense.
The way we listen to music has changed significantly in the past 20 or so years. Apple’s original iPod revolutionised music on-the-go, and MP3 players became a must-have accessory.
It’s a sign of how quickly things are progressing that even the MP3 format itself is now all but defunct, with other file formats, such as AAC, providing better compression with higher quality sound.
But the real music file killer is online streaming services, such as Spotify, which gives you access to its vast library for £9.99 per month. So why am I still buying CDs?
The answer is pretty simple – I don’t feel like I’ve ever spent as much as £120 per year on music (even as a teenager when the new wave indie-rock scene exploded and I had very long hair. But let’s not get into that).
At most, there are two or three albums released every year that I’m interested in. With the price of the CD often around £8.99, it makes sense to me to buy them directly, saving myself around £90 every 12 months.
Same here. Buying CDs also puts more money in the pockets of the artists you like (compared to the pittance that streaming services pass on)
— Mark Tyndall (@MarkTyndall) March 20, 2018
In fact, I’ve often seen CDs available cheaper than their digital equivalents, and it’s always nice to get something physical for your money.
Speaking of cheaper, this method also works great for older albums – you can pick up second-hand CDs online for pennies, while digitally you’ll be paying full price every time.
The downside is that I lose out on the convenience of having access to everything at any time, but I find that’s often cancelled out by the library of music I’ve built up over the years.
I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got, and there are plenty of ways to discover something new, such as social media, the radio and good old-fashioned word of mouth.
Just like musical tastes, everyone’s circumstances will be different. I’m curious to find out yours: how do you buy and listen to music? Have you fully embraced streaming, or does the technology of yesteryear still have a place in your home (and heart)? Is £120 a year too much to pay for music or nowhere near enough?