Kids are influenced by music in many different ways as are adults. They listen to music with friends, at church, shows on TV and hear soundtracks at the movies. From Barney, Chipmunks the movie, to Taylor Swift, there’s plenty of music your kids likely enjoy.
But, we all know that music can get quite expensive, especially when buying for your kids too! I used to spend my paycheck from my first job visiting the music store at the mall. Today, my wife and I have a cabinet full of old CD’s. I hesitate to think about what those CD’s must have cost us.
Thanks to the internet you can find most music that will fit your family’s interests using free online music streaming services. These online streaming services aren’t new. They been around a few years and offer free as well as affordable plan to listen to music on your PC or other mobile devices.
Here’s a look at some benefits and drawbacks to consider when using online music streaming services:
Benefits of Online Music Streaming Services
No Storage or CD Care
As I mentioned, we have a cabinet full of old CD’s we no longer listen to. With a streaming service you never have to worry about storing CD’s, losing or damaging them.
Selection & Convenience
The selection of music is much greater than you could probably afford to create by buying your own music library. Let’s say you hear a song you like. Chance are you won’t have to buy this song or the entire CD. You can just search for it in your streaming service library from your PC versus making a trip to an electronics store.
Online streaming services provide social benefits too. You can follow friends and see what they’re listening to, or share your selections with others. This is a great way to quickly increase your music library. Of course, you can keep your selections private and you don’t have to follow anyone if the social features aren’t for you.
Drawbacks of Online Music Streaming Services
Most of the more popular services offer a free subscription option where you can listen to musics from your PC. But to benefit from the ability to listen to music from all of your devices, you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription. Most cost around $10 per month which similar or cheaper than buying 1 CD per month.
If you decide to go with a free plan, you’ll have advertising. Most don’t appear to be too intrusive, but they are there. If this bugs you, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Personally, I don’t have any drawbacks about the quality of the music. It sounds good to us for our family purposes. If you’re a music guru, you might be able to pick up on sound quality differences from listening to a CD, but it’s likely unnoticeable for most people.
Anytime you’re going to stream music, you obviously need an internet connection. This doesn’t work too well if you’re traveling in your car. However, with an upgraded service, you can listen to music on mobile devices with the cellular internet connection.
Some paid services, like Spotify, let you download music to your devices so you can listen offline.
Free Music Streaming Services
So, what are some of the more popular and useful free music streaming services available? There are many! You can Google “music streaming services” to find plenty of reviews, but here are simply three for you to consider:
Pandora – Pandora provides the ability to create music stations based on your artist or genre interests. You can create up to 100 stations that will play music based on what you like. Listen on all all your devices and this one is completely free. However, you don’t have the ability to listen to particular songs on demand. Again, it’s radio style based on the genre or artist you choose.
Spotify – With Spotify you can listen to music free on your PC’s. For the premium service, you can listen on all of your mobile devices and download and listen offline. This is the service we use and I’m quite comfortable paying $9.99 per month. We have Spotify on my iPad, iPhones and PC. They only complain I have is that we can’t listen to Spotify at the same time from multiple devices. Only one device can play music when using a shared account. :( Outside of that, it’s awesome!
Grooveshark – Grooveshark looks pretty cool and is one I came across conducting some research. Similar to Spotify, you can search for music based on your interests and listen to albums or tracks. It also offers the same radio capability as Pandora (did I mention Spotify has this too?). Similar to Spotify, you can sign up for a premium account and use it on all your devices advertisement free. I’m not sure if you can listen to Grooveshark from multiple devices at the same time with the same account?
How Do You Get Started?
It’s easy! With Spotify, we simply signed up using our Facebook account (you can also use your email address). Within a few seconds we had an account and started listening to music from our PC. Spotify offers a user friendly desktop application that you can download to begin searching music. Again, most online music streaming services provide you the ability to either follow friends and their music, or remain unknown. If you like being social, you can share your selections as well as what you’re currently listening to. I’ve been known to tweet a few songs here and there. :)
Are music streaming services money savers for families? I think if you like to listen to a lot of music, and your kids are especially interested in music, streaming services can be a great way to avoid CD costs and the hassles with CD storage and maintaining them. Don’t sign up for the monthly service if you’re likely not going to listen to music on remote devices. However, we’ve found docking our mobile device into a sound system in the house is a great way to enjoy our music. This requires the premium service. At the very least, I think it’s worth signing up for a free account and trying out your preferred service on a PC.
How do you buy music these days? Do you use a music streaming service? If so, is there on in particular that you enjoy the most?