I’ve Got the Music in my Stream: The Cost of Music Streaming Sites

The CD is dead, and we’re not talking about the Certificate of Deposit. Although, that has also faded over the years due to low interested rates. However, that’s for another entry. What we’re talking about are those shiny discs of music that replaced the venerable long-playing records back in the early 1980s. Sure, you still see some places selling them but with less frequency than before. In other words, you don’t sit at the entrance to the Wal-Mart waiting for the latest Taylor Swift release.

What’s replaced it? The streaming music site. It’s the 21st century jukebox. No need to burn CDs full of music selections from your other CDs. You just need to add your favorite artists and albums into a favorites list, press the Play button, and your young family can listen for hours on end. Any favorites can be purchased for a small fee for your own computer or listening device.

Some of these places require no money to listen to music. For example, there are any number of full albums which could be heard on YouTube. In addition, the sites we’re going to mention below have non-pay options. The downside — advertising, as usual. Hey, they need to make money! And that’s why they provide subscriber options which provide additional features. It comes down to cost and what’s available. Here are a few streaming sites and what they give the listener.

Pandora — Pandora has made an effort to keep an expansive available for listeners. This is why you can set up a playlist that ranges from The Beatles to Blake Shelton to Louis Armstrong to The Damned. In non-pay mode, listeners need to endure three to four ad breaks each hour as well as periods of silence where it asks if you’re still listening. Should you wish to pay the $4.99 a month, you lose the advertising and the “Are you listening?” breaks and have more opportunities to skip past songs which don’t interest you. Regardless of pay or free, you can’t save individual songs for future play. In other words, you can’t pay 99 cents for an individual single. Not like …

Rhapsody — Rhapsody is slightly different. There’s isn’t a long-term free option like Pandora. They give you a 14-day trial to listen, and then they provide you with two pricing options. The $4.99 UnRadio options provides the listener with an ad-free environment where you can skip as many songs as you like. The $9.99 Premier option adds unlimited access and the ability to download any song, album, or playlist.

Spotify — Well, this probably isn’t so popular now that Taylor Swift removed all of her songs. Still, people still use it on their computer or smartphone. The free options provides millions of songs to listen to while the $9.99 a month version offers a no-ads, no restrictions type of environment.

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