Opinion

Streaming is Like Paying for Air

Why You Shouldn’t be Paying for Streaming Services

By: Declan Kaasler

If you’re like most young people today, you likely get your music, movies and TV shows through some sort of streaming platform. It’s true that streaming has grown into the dominant form of media consumption in 2017 with no end in sight to its influence. Even the video game industry is moving towards a streaming approach.

Streaming has been propelled forward by the perception by many that it is convenient and accessible. While it is true that streaming can be quick and easy to use, there are tradeoffs that are taking place by your use of it.

Streamers of CSI, you need to stop and think about you’re actually doing by streaming. Why is it that all the big corporations are jumping on the bandwagon and wholeheartedly embracing this? The truth is quite grim. Streaming is a fantastic deal for the big record labels!

With streaming services, companies are able to charge you money simply to listen to their sub-par audio recordings. A subscription service eliminates the once-prominent threat of music piracy and also lowers costs substantially compared to when they manufacture a physical album.

Streaming offers huge profits for record labels, while ripping you off. The songs on most streaming services are not even of high audio quality. They could be compared more accurately to lower grade mp3 files. Of course, you won’t be streaming anything at all if you find yourself without access to the internet.

When you are streaming music, you likely are shuffling individual songs on some arbitrary criteria. Perhaps the program itself is randomly streaming for you. This style of listening effectively renders concept albums useless.

Concept albums are albums which revolve around a central, singular theme. In some rare cases, a concept album may even have a mild musical plotline woven through the songs. You would never pick up on this through random streaming.

The Compact Disc, which entered the market in 1982, revolutionized the music industry. At the time of their inception, the fully digital format offered the best audio quality available, with a lifetime of enjoyment provided the disc was properly cared for.

Indeed, even today there has yet to be another format that truly bests the CD’s audio quality. If you really care about enjoying the full experience of music, and not just passive entertainment, then you are losing out by not getting the best audio possible.

I must be honest, there is one way to get high fidelity audio through streaming, but it is much more expensive than the rest of the bunch. Tidal is marketed as the ultimate streaming service for the audiophile community. It is owned by famous rapper Jay Z.

While technically this can enable musical enjoyment, the bandwidth costs it will impose on your internet connection will be astronomical. Why pay Jay Z all that cash for something you can get for cheaper on a CD?

I have mostly talked about music thus far, but everything that I just said can be easily applied to video streaming and video game streaming as well. There is a difference between pressing an onscreen button in Netflix and actually owning a quality movie.

While Netflix does have some interesting niche programs that cannot be found on live TV, It doesn’t really leave you with anything should you choose to cancel your subscription. This subscription system forces you to either excessively use the service or feel guilty about wasting money on a service you barely use.

The entire concept of sitting around your house and binge-watching shows seems centered around the innate desire to cram as much viewing as we can into the shortest timeframe possible. At least with the purchase of DVD or Blu-Ray, your discs aren’t just going to vanish one unfortunate day. They are your property forever.

For those of us who truly cannot be bothered with physical media, then whatever happened to Television and Radio? Both of these great media offer endless entertainment and information. Also, they are live feeds coming to you, for free!

In conclusion, I am likely going to wind up on the wrong side of history in this debate, but I will never accept the concept that I should line some company’s pocket and get nothing tangible in return.

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