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Stream vs. Download

Kim Hart

Do you listen to music that is streaming to your computer, or do you download it as a permanent addition to your digital library?

That question was asked several times at the Digital Music Forum. Many new online Web sites and services are banking on the fact that you'd rather listen to your favorites for free, like you would on a radio station, but streaming music that's supported by advertising. Typically, this type of arrangement involves a licensing agreement with recording studios getting a cut of the revenue. Some people say this contributes to the rise of greater music discovery on the Web--you can give different genres and artists a try without committing to a 99-cent download.

Others are still confident that listeners want a sense of ownership over their music, which has of course been the long-time model that relied on record, tape and CD sales.

Personally, I use both models. While I'm sitting at my desk and need to tune out the conversations going on around me, I often log onto a Web-radio site or a streaming service. But when it comes to my personal collection, I don't mind paying a buck to know that I own the song and can listen to it whenever I want, wherever I want.

What's your preference? And what are your favorite music sites and services?

By Kim Hart  |  February 28, 2008; 9:33 AM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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I sometimes use Pandora at work, either when I forget my mp3 player or I'm just in a mood for a different sort of mix.

But mostly I maintain a large music collection of my own. I have an emusic subscription to try out new things, purchase from Amazon's mp3 store for single songs, and still buy a lot of physical cds for the permanence and artwork. (I get my physical music from Insound.com online and Sound Garden in Baltimore.) I still like being able to look at a shelf, run my fingers along the spines, and pick out an old classic.

Posted by: Adam | February 28, 2008 10:32 AM

I don't see why it has to be one or the other - why not have a service that gives you the whole package?

@ Adam - Or what if you could leave your collection at home and stream your music to where you are?

We're doing it all and more - rvibe.com

Posted by: Braydon JM | February 28, 2008 11:44 AM

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