Transition from MP3s to Streaming


I realise this subject is about 5 years old, but I had my iPod Classic (which they no longer make!!!) nicked on Saturday night (among other things), and am resigning myself to the fact that I will have to do most of my music listening through streaming now. I signed up to Apple Music a while ago, on account of some of the radio shows, like the St Vincent one and Time Crisis, but I’m still getting used to having it as part of my daily routine.

I was just wondering what people noticed about their listening habits when they made a similar transition. Do you still listen to the same albums over and over again, or when faced with pretty much infinite choice, do you listen to a wider pool of music? I know this sounds slightly pretentious, but do you feel as connected to music if you don’t ‘own’ it, per se? I am interested to hear what changes you noticed, or haven’t for that matter.

Sorry if this topic has been done to death, but it just feels especially pertinent for me after this weekend.

i still listen to the same shite albums over and over

and i still listen to cds and vinyl at home when i cba to fuck about with bluetooth or its being a dick

I only listen to music digitally these days and have literally just cancelled my eMusic subscription because I find that I only ever use Spotify now. I was buying MP3s, and they were just sitting in my library, never getting played because of the ease of Spotify.

I appreciate that not everything makes it to Spotify, and in those cases I will still purchase those MP3s. But it’s rare, with my listening tastes, that this happens.

I use it both ways really. Use it as a weekly discovery tool, listening to whatever new releases tickle my fancy, but still go back regularly to old favourites. I don’t think my listening habits have changed dramatically in that respect.

My iPod bit the dust a few years ago and I got a laptop that doesn’t have a CD drive a couple of years ago, and since then I’ve only really listened to music on Spotify. I reckon I listen to a much broader range now for a number of reasons:

  • I listen to Spotify’s Daily Mixes a lot as they lead in with music I already know and like, then chuck in a few things it thinks I’ll like. I first heard the Hotelier, Totorro, Joyce Manor (etc. etc.) that way. I don’t listen to the radio as I can’t be arsed with the chat so it’s my way into music I don’t know yet.
  • Having most music available to stream without needing to download stuff or buy an album has taken away the fear of “but what if it’s shit and I’ve spent £15 on this album”.
  • You can get a good idea of whether it’s worth giving a band a go by listening to the top tracks - obviously this isn’t always going to work as sometimes the deep cuts are better or more to my taste, but it’s handy when a band has four or five albums and I’ve got no idea where to start.
  • As I listen to a wider range of music these days than a few years ago, I go to more gigs and buy more merch so it goes some way to making up for the lost record sales (I hope? I’m probably wrong though aren’t I)

I have been primarily a streaming subscription user for years now. I would say that amongst all the stuff that is way better for me, I do find that I have a bit of musical ADD. There’s so much to listen to and sample that I never seen to give any one album the proper attention it might deserve.

But that’s a small issue compared to the benefits for me.

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I transitioned to using Spotify about a year ago and would say that I listen to 95% that or vinyl now. Depending really on whether I’m in my living room or not. One thing I have noticed is that I like to have the full compliment of tracks downloaded on my Spotify. Just in case I could never access the internet again I guess, at least I would have 3000 (or however many it is) tracks at my fingertips.

I’ve got a rather nerdy routine which really helps me to use spotify in an ‘efficient’ way.

Step 1 - I read about an interesting new release (on here or pitchfork or wherever) and I’m like ‘I will commit to listening to this!’. I then write the album title and band in a special place in the back of my diary.

Step 2 - my commute to work is about 45 mins, perfect for the length of an average album. If I have anything in my diary that I’ve made a note of but haven’t reviewed yet then I HAVE to listen to that on my way in to work

Step 3 - once I’ve listened to a new LP a couple of times I’ll write a quick 1 sentence review and a rating /10 next to it in the back of my diary.

Step 4 - when my birthday or Christmas comes around I ask for the things that I’ve given the highest ratings to on vinyl.

Sounds like a lot of faff, but it means I commit to listening to new stuff and properly absorbing it rather than just listening to ‘Daydream Nation’ another billion times.


Cds in the car. Whole albums ripped from cds on itunes while working or on my phone. Have never streamed and don’t plan on doing so. I quite like the uncertainty of not knowing whether an album will be good before I buy it.


Spotify’s recommendation algorithms are scarily good now. This is an interesting article about how they work:


Use to buy mp3 off Amazon and had an music subscription. Then signed up with Google
Play. That sorts me out for 99% of the stuff I’m after.

Wouldn’t you rather be recommended things by friends, or by people on DiS, or by reading around and making the connections yourself? This whole thing where an algorithm works out what you like based on your existing choices and in so doing steers your future tastes seems like a very cold, impersonal, and frankly unwelcome addition to the experience of music listening. Imagine if the internet steered your political preferences by tailoring your news feed to views you already held, and in so doing reinforced your views rather than opened your eyes to new ones. Just imagine.

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I think there’s a place for both frankly. I enjoy cool new music some of which I discover from human beings and some from an algorithm


I don’t know that finding out from an algorithm is any colder than say a Pitchfork review.


Mostly streaming but starting to get annoyed at the gaps. Loads of sun kil moon and red house painters isn’t on there so I’m gonna nerd to get those soon

I’m more than happy to be recommended stuff by an algorithm. It works partly by looking at what other people with similar tastes to you have listened to, so in a way it is linking you up with other people. I’m not saying it’s the only way to find out about new music, I like reading around, listening to the radio, and following recommendations from friends, but I’ve definately come across stuff I really like through Spotify’s algorithms that I wouldn’t have through other sources.

It’s a real pity Apple ditched the classic iPod and presume they did so to sell more subscriptions. It really was a classic design with the click wheel, display and sound a real loss. Sony do make decent MP3 players with expandable slots and are a real alternative. I do not pay for Spotify and seldom use the free service. Vinyl, iPhone or MacBook iTunes library is how I listen but everyone is different. It’s the music that counts although I am tempted to get a Sony MP3 player from time to time.

Posted this in another thread already but seems way more relevant here

I recently forced a system on myself where I pick 30 albums (rotating 15 every second weekend, so they stick around for a month total), with the intention I only listen to those for the bulk of my time. I realised I was listening to a lot of things once or twice but nothing in any depth, which is how I’ve always got the most out of music.

To expand a bit more: I’ve started keeping notes on my phone of new stuff I see inbetween refreshes that looks interesting, I will usually keep three of the fifteen I change, and I usually try and throw in some older stuff I’ve always been curious about/wanted to listen to. It all seems to be working as a little system for me right now.

Today is actually refresh day!

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Also for anyone who is super missing an iPod, there are sellers on eBay who offer refurbished ones - I’ve seen ones where they’ve replaced the old hard drives with flash memory, as high as 240gb.

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Im in a similar sotuation. Had my iPod classic for ten years but ita broken. I can still listen to it but cant add new stuff.

I find listening to new music hard. I dont have data so cant stream stuff or use web play apps

Wow. Didn’t know that was doable.

I still keep a library of MP3s. So much stuff isn’t on Spotify.