Compact Discs are essentially obsolete today, much like the cassette and 8-track tapes that came before them. While you can still buy CDs if you desire, smart phones, tablets and other devices that can stream music are displacing the CD as the one of the most popular ways to listen to music today.
On top of the benefit of not having to carry a clunky CD binder and CD player around to listen to your favorite music, many of these services will save you a good deal of money if you're used to buying just a single CD every month.
Many services today allow you to listen to streaming music for free or for a small monthly fee. We have narrowed the list down to three of our favorite options so you can start testing the best streaming music services available today and donate your CD collection to the local retirement home.
Spotify’s free version allows you to listen to artists or albums of your choosing and playlists through their digital streaming service. Users have to listen to ads between songs every so often. On mobile devices, users cannot pick the order of songs, but can on tablets and computers.
Spotify’s premium subscribers can listen to an unlimited number of streaming songs of their choice at higher quality without any advertisements, and skip as many they choose from playlists. In addition, they can actually download specific songs and listen to them offline on all of their devices. If you want to be able to listen to music anywhere, even places without an internet connection, this plan is for you.
Current prices are $9.99 per month, and you can downgrade to the free version at any time; however, once you stop paying, you lose your premium benefits. Spotify is available on many different platforms including iOS and Android phones, both iPad and Android tablets, as well as Apple and PC computers.
Pandora won't let you listen to a specific song you have been longing to hear. Instead, you create radio-like stations based on either an artist, song or style of music. As you listen to and rate the songs the Pandora station chooses to play for you, the station becomes more customized to your likes and dislikes.
The free version of the online streaming music service is supported by ads that play once between every few songs. As a free Pandora user, you will have to interact with the service or it will automatically pause about once an hour to ask if you're still listening or not. In addition, you will only be able to skip a certain number of songs per hour. If you prefer to listen to Pandora ad-free, you can subscribe to Pandora One, their premium version, for just $9.99 per month. You'll get more skips than the free version and you'll never be subjected to an ad.
If you don’t mind not being able to choose specific songs, Pandora might be for you.
SiriusXM Satellite Radio
SiriusXM Satellite Radio did not start as a streaming music service, but it now offers internet streaming on some of its plans. SiriusXM doesn't allow you to customize the stations you listen to, but they have anywhere from 80 to over 150 channels to choose from depending on which plan you pick. Choices range from Top 40 to music from The 40’s, channels dedicated to a single artist like Billy Joel or the Grateful Dead, and opera.
Packages that include internet streaming range from $10.99 to $20.99 per month, so SiriusXM is on the more expensive side. You can also get a compatible satellite radio to listen where you do not have an internet connection at an additional cost.
If you would like more streaming options, you could check out the following services:
- Beats Music
- iTunes Radio
- Sony Music Unlimited
Determine which service is the best for you based on your music listening habits. No matter your selection, enjoy having all of that music “in” your phone instead of taking up space on your shelves. You’ll never have to hide your “Captain & Tennille” CD from prying eyes again!