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Don’t pay to play – pay to own

By Steven Bonini

From Spotify to Apple Music, to Amazon Music and beyond, likeliness says you use one of these streaming services to play music, and at a cost you consider to be reasonable.

I was once a victim of these services as well.

From the winter of 2019 to the summer of 2021, Spotify Premium was my go-to streaming service.

How could you not like it? It has endless music for everybody – Pop, Rock, Blues, Soul, Metal, Punk, Rap, Oldies... Well, some Oldies.

It was in 2019, when I was on vacation in California for my cousin’s wedding, when I found out Spotify didn’t always have everything I as a consumer of their services was looking for.

While in the hotel room at night, listening to music was a regular activity for me, and there’s nothing I love more than scrolling through YouTube and finding clips from the 1950s of some of my favorite artists performing live versions of their big hit songs.

Most of the artists I listen to are dead, so I can’t see them live in person. YouTube is all I’ve got!

One night I was ecstatic to discover my favorite artist, Mr. Perry Como, singing a live version of a song I had never heard before – “Pa-Paya Mama.”

Immediately after watching this clip, I searched for the song on Spotify only for Spotify’s search results to show it couldn’t find a song under that name.

Deeply disappointed, I went on Amazon and found a CD of some of Mr. Como’s greatest hits, and this CD included the song, so I bought it, but this also meant I wouldn’t be able to listen to the song on my Spotify playlist.

Now, you might be thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s only one song!”

That’s just it! It wasn’t just one song – it was hundreds.

As time went on, it became clearer and clearer to me that Spotify was missing tons of Como’s songs. It wasn’t only Como they were missing either. There were songs by Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Pat Boone, Jo Stafford, and many others I could not find.

Maybe not all of you reading this know who these singers are, which is fine, that’s besides my point.

The moral of this story is, I’m paying for a service to provide me with music, only to find out they don’t have all the music I want to listen to, and to boot, when you pay a streaming service, you don’t actually own any of the music.

It’s like throwing your money into a bottomless pit!

Not all hope is lost though!

Luckily over the years I accumulated a large collection of CDs as my car stereo system will only play CDs because it doesn’t have an auxiliary cord hookup or Bluetooth connection.

It was this summer I discovered I could actually burn each of my CDs to my laptop and upload the albums to iTunes, and then transfer all the music to my iPhone!

I’m not the most tech-savvy person in the world, but this was certainly a straightforward process.

Following this discovery, I immediately canceled my Spotify Premium.

Gone are the days of paying a service for music I never actually owned or had a physical copy of.

I spent a ridiculous amount of money paying for Spotify Premium every month when I could have used that money to buy at the very least, 30 CDs, and I’m sure you can say the same!

My point is, as soon as you hit “cancel my subscription” on one of these music streaming services, all the music you once enjoyed is gone.

I’ll never know that feeling again because I own all of the music I listen to, and I can play it no differently than you can on Spotify, Apple, or Amazon Music – the only difference is, I’m not wasting monthly payments on it.

If you’re going to spend the money, you might as well spend it on something you can have for life.

Build a music collection of your own – one you can take pride in.


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