Everybody has a preference on how they listen to music. Some like it physical and others prefer theirs digital. There is a lot of controversy on which is better, and I have the pleasure of sitting in the middle which gives me a unique perspective that helps decide how to purchase and listen to music. Here are some of the questions that help me determine which is my favorite:
- What medium provides the best sound quality: vinyl, CD, MP3, etc.?
- Where should I buy music to ensure the artists get paid back in the biggest chunk they deserve?
- How can I get the most out of my music purchase?
- Is there a medium that I can listen to in more than one place, or in more than one way?
- Who else besides the artist benefits from my purchase?
- Is free music a good choice?
Ok, now my take on the answers, what’re yours?
1. What medium provides the best sound quality: vinyl, CD, MP3, etc.? I think music should be an analog experience, and vinyl gives you a warm sound that cannot be replicated in any other way. Digital files (like MP3’s) are compressed and take away from the acoustic dynamics of a song. You have a better chance of getting higher sound quality with a vinyl disc or CD.
2. Where should I buy music to ensure the artist gets back the biggest chunk deserved? If bands have even a small loyal following, they will definitely make the most money from the sale of the physical version of their product, as opposed to the downloaded version.
3. How can I get the most out of my music purchase? This question really depends on what product is offered. Sometimes you can get tickets, signed merchandise, and posters along with the music, but the music containing medium offered with those bundles of goodies could be any one of them.
4. Is there a medium that I can listen to in more than one place or in more than one way? Downloading from iTunes, or using a subscription service, allows you to take music with you wherever you go on your personal listening device. But with all of the DRM they use, your device might restrict where you can listen to it. Vinyl is very limiting, you need a record player and it is not mobile. CD’s are probably the most versatile. You can import them to your computer, put them onto your listening devices, or play them in your car, at home, etc. Plus with CDs you are able to manipulate the files, which you can’t do with digital downloads.
5. Who else besides the artist benefits from my purchase? I would rather give my money to a local record store, or directly to the band, rather than the Apple or Amazon corporate giants. The retailers and musicians can use the revenue a lot more than the mega-corporations. The great thing about Altavoz is that if a fan buys one of our products, at least 5% of whatever Altavoz makes goes to a non-profit – and the artist gets paid.
6. Is free music a good choice? Of course it is! FREE is always a good thing – as long as it’s legal! I use Spotify and Pandora all the time, but if you don’t have a computer with Internet access or a smartphone, you can’t use it. These services only give artists fractions of a penny when people listen to their songs. I only use these services to preview music before I go buy it, so I don’t end up dissatisfied. The bottom line is this: it is really important to pay for music, because the artists and retailers need to make a living just like you! How are they supposed to spend time making music for you to enjoy if they don’t have enough money to support themselves? They usually don’t have as much money as you may think!