The days of turning on the radio and tuning the dial to hear new selections from your favorite DJ are mostly gone with the exception of a few small independent radio stations around the country. Most large radio stations today are filled with daily programs chosen by record labels and corporations. But people still love to be introduced to new musical artists they would never have found on their own in a curated and cohesive form. Digital music radio streaming is one way to capture the magic of the golden age of radio and discover new music. But is it really the same? Here are the pros and cons.
One of the best advantages of music radio streaming is discovering new musical artists that you would never have found on your own. Finding a new album or song that really resonates with you is one of the most satisfying simple joys in life. But in the digital age, there is a veritable tsunami of songs out there to listen to, and it can be overwhelming to try to find something you like without any direction. Music radio streaming services make that a little easier.
Ability to Skip
One thing you could never do in the old days of radio was skipping past a song or artist that you hated. Your choices were: turn off the radio or go station surfing through static to find something appealing. With digital streaming, it's easy to skip past a song or artist that you're just not into or that you find irrationally irritating.
One of the reasons that music radio streaming is so good at helping you discover new artists is that they use digital algorithms to assess the data of what you've listened to and what you've skipped past. By assessing your preferences, they can learn what styles and artists appeal to you and also those that don't. The algorithms are constantly learning from this data and using it to more effectively find artists and songs that will appeal to your sensibilities.
It might seem silly to put algorithms on both the pros and cons list, but anyone who has used music radio streaming knows there are both advantages and disadvantages to machine learning. Although algorithms are getting more advanced and better able to predict what you'll like, sometimes they're still way off the mark, and artists or songs that you loathe or dislike will continuously find their way into the rotation on your particular station.
Artists Make Less
Another major disadvantage of streaming is that the musical artists you love make fewer royalties from digital music radio streaming than when you purchase their music. When you purchase a physical copy or a digital download of a song, the songwriter gets a royalty of $0.091 per song. For digital streaming, that number is only $0.005 per stream of a song. Those both might seem like minuscule amounts but those extra decimal points can really add up for a songwriter. If you're passionate about supporting the arts, especially struggling local or indie musicians, buying music directly from the artist rather than streaming it is a more effective way to do that, thus ensuring that your favorite artist can continue to make music you love.
Another disadvantage of digital streaming is advertising. Sometimes it's not even a variety of ads but the same two or three ads over and over, and that can get very old very quickly. However, many music radio streaming services offer monthly or annual subscription options that will allow you to have an ad-free listening experience.