From music streaming websites to record stores, music lovers of all ages need to get their fix somehow. But the endless options of music can be overwhelming.
As the digital age progresses, vinyls and CDs are becoming a legend of the past. Now, students are straying away from their record players and gravitating toward online mediums, such as iTunes, Spotify and Apple Music, for a monthly fee.
Ricky Weber, a DJ and student at Ohio University, is following this trend by streaming and downloading music for his sets every week. Weber, a senior studying mechanical engineering, spends his free time performing at The Pigskin Bar and Grille Thursday nights.
“I do not use records or CDs. I prefer to use DJ tools, which I subscribe to and can download all of the music I want,” Weber said. “I do not use Spotify at all just because I’m not able to download each song, but I listen to Pandora all the time.”
Due to the importance of being able to access music easily, Weber said he takes advantage of streaming websites specifically designed to allow DJs to download music online.
“Instead of buying music, I subscribe to Promo Only, which is a music subscription service for DJs,” he said. “I pay $30 a month and get free downloads from lists of music that are updated every week with the latest hits.”
Kacie Schwartfigure, a senior studying actuarial science, also enjoys DJing locally in her spare time at Red Brick Tavern, Broneys Alumni Grill and Stephen’s On Court. While also subscribing to a streaming website called Direct Music Service, Schwartfigure pays nearly $500 a year to be able to download music for her sets.
“I personally prefer streaming over purchasing music simply because instead of buying an entire album, I am able to select certain songs that I like off the album and use those when I perform,” Schwartfigure said. “I would rather spend money on those few songs then have to buy all of them.”
While she does not purchase CDs with music already preloaded, Schwartfigure does buy them to burn her own music.
“I make a lot of CDs for people, so I buy a lot of blank CDs,” Schwartfigure said. “I don’t buy actual albums and I don’t buy vinyls either.”
As streaming continues to grow more popular, there are students who still purchase vinyls and CDs religiously. Rachel Nagy, a junior majoring in music production, enjoys streaming, but will usually go out of her way to obtain a physical copy.
While streaming may be more convenient than driving to the local record store, there can be consequences that follow.
“Streaming music uses data and is more expensive when I am not connected to Wi-Fi. I used to go over my data usage limits so it is easier for me to buy physical albums,” Nagy said. “This saves me some money and gives me the ability to preserve the music I like to listen to for a really long time.”
Even though she streams music sometimes, Nagy buys albums and vinyls more regularly than most of her friends. As a music production major, she appreciates the authenticity of owning a hard copy of the one thing she loves most.
“I love hearing the raw, grainy sound of a vinyl being played,” Nagy said. “Having the music in your hands gives you a much more intimate experience.”
Correction: A previous version of this report misstated Ricky Weber's year in college. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.