I’ll be honest. I can’t remember the last time I spent money on music.
I haven’t bought a physical CD since Lil Wayne’s Tha Cater III (Wayne’s peak, by the way), but everyone knows CDs are even more out of style than actual vinyl records these days. The odd thing is I don’t remember the last time I purchased something on iTunes.
When I got my first iPod, I was so excited. it was the newest version of the Nano, and was pretty effing cool if I do say so myself. 12-year-old Bradley couldn’t get enough of iTunes and the Nano. I spent more money on music the first couple of years with that iPod than I have in the eight years following it.
Streaming of music — through Pandora and Spotify — has been incredible; all of this music at no charge — it just did not seem like it was legal. But, to me, the thing that is truly harming iTunes is a site that was intended to only be for videos: YouTube.
I have absolutely no way of knowing this for sure, but, in my experiences, YouTube has just as much, if not more, music than iTunes. The quality is just as good, and now that streaming music has become so much faster, it does not make sense for me to spend $.99 on a song I can listen to for free.
Does my hiatus from iTunes mean I listen to less music? The opposite actually. As great as iTunes was to me, the whole I-was-a-preteen-with-no-money thing severely limited the amount of music I was able to get my hands on. There would be months where the only new music I would get would be the weekly free downloads that iTunes offered (Do they still offer that now? It seems kind of redundant if they do seeing as people could listen to the song for free almost anywhere else).
With more options for no cost at all, it doesn’t make sense for me to constantly spend money on iTunes — a huge problem for both the music industry as well as my relatives who insist on sending me iTunes money for every holiday.
I do not pity the artists or record labels; as long as songs become hits, they will get their money. The members of the music industry that I pity are the middle men. The lower-level people within the recording industry who perform big roles but are not critical enough to have protection in a shrinking industry. The CD stores and the iTunes web designers who are seeing their roles reduced by the second.
The worst part of it all is that as bad as I feel for some of these people, I just enjoy listening to free music to really do anything to help.