First Monday – Music Streaming, Sharing, or Buying?

Posted on February 11th, 2010 by in Random Rant

FM First Monday Logo

I’m a bit of a purist me. I don’t like adverts on the radio. Not mad keen on the TV either but at least it’s a good time to pop to the loo or make a brew. But when I’m listening to an album, I don’t want to have the album I’m listening to interrupted but over excitable pseudo funny people telling me how I can’t live without their car/bank/snack. Which mostly I can.

It’s why I’m a big fan of BBC radio. I know I’m only going to get one song at a time. And there will be talking in between. But I know when it’s coming and mostly the DJ’s banter fits in with the time of day and style of music. Radio 6 being my station of choice for daytime and hallelujah for the arrival of Lauren Laverne who was on top form in today’s show (her arrival made all the better by bumping off George “Stratospheric Ego” Lamb). And Radio 3 or Radio 4 to kick the day off or bring it to a close. Anyway, advert free stations with ego-less DJ’s – that’s what makes BBC Radio so good.


Then I got into Spotify. I gave up within a week – because I hated the adverts. Not just that they existed but that there were, when I first joined last year, only about 3 different ones on the whole system. Repeated endlessly. Like audio Groundhog Day – painful.

But I wasn’t flush enough to keep buying new music and I wasn’t getting any freebies (ahem – subtle hint there) so I decided to give it another go as I wanted to hear what was new. And I’ve lasted longer this time. They have a very small number of new ads so it’s only slightly less painful than before. But I still hate the interruption. And, yes, I know I can pay a £10 for an advert free service but I’m not in the market for that. Because most importantly, I won’t own any of the music. Which is what’s important to me.

But last weekend, I got some money back from HM Revenue and Customs. Result! Not enough for a holiday you understand. But enough to think I could treat myself. So, I bought an album online I’d been listening to on Spotify. And wanted to hear without interruption. It was Fever Ray. And if you haven’t yet got involved, I strongly recommend you do – it’s utterly stunning (thanks Henry for the recommendation) Thing was, I was so caught up in the music buying process, I ended up buying 6 more albums whilst I was on the site (all £5 or less apart from one current release).

fever ray cover

Am I just old school? Is this what is meant to happen? I don’t want just to stream my music. I want to own the stuff I really love. And I will pay for it. I don’t file share – I actually don’t know how to. If someone lends me an album to listen to, if I really like it, I’ll buy it. I don’t think I’m alone. I hope not.

Because as long as we are buying music, our business will survive. All of it. The artists. Writers. Pluggers. Agents. Managers. And until such time as people decide to give us houses, clothes and food for free, people need to be paid for things they do to buy the things they need.

Just thought I’d share.

Sybil Bell.

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