From a consumer standpoint, I prefer the interactive subscription model. I was introduced to the Spotify platform not too long ago. When I first heard about this program, I thought it was just another Pandora online radio system. However, once I started digging into the system, I realized just how powerful and easy it was to provide instant music on all my devices. I was blown away by the quality of the music and the catalog of songs. Every song, artist, and album I could think of was on my cell phone, tablet, laptop, and a lot of new material. I quickly saw the value and signed up for the subscription.
Before Spotify, I was listening mostly to MP3 files. I have amassed a significant collection of 15,000 plus songs, taking up 72GB of data on an external hard drive. I started collecting music back in the Napster days, then through Torrent sites, trading with friends. Then I began to purchase music through eMusic and Amazon. I used to put playlists on flash drives to play in my car. I do not even bother with those MP3s now. Everything is at my fingertips with Spotify.
The advantage of digital downloading is that technically I own the music. I realize I conducted some unethical practices with stealing music. Yes, looking back, I know I was in the wrong. That is why I switched to purchasing online. The disadvantage is the owner must store them somewhere, and you could potentially lose them.
Non-interactive platforms like Pandora have the advantage of letting the system choose the songs. This could expose the consumer to new music. The disadvantage is the consumer doesn’t have the ability to play the songs they want to hear whenever they want to hear them. Interactive provides more control by allowing the consumer to create playlists, but again the consumer does not own the music.
Will there ever be an ideal music platform? Maybe some day.
Brian Lundgren is a marketing professional, musician, and family man living in the Southeast region of Massachusetts.