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The Chill Way to Listen to Tunes

By Anna Soref

Having three teenage kids helps keep me at least moderately tech savvy; I know how to use bitmojis and have a Snapchat account. Now, thanks to my girls, I am enjoying music in an entirely new way. With all three kids paying for a music streaming service, we decided to get a family account. For $15 a month we can stream music on demand, and it is truly life changing.

I had occasionally listened to Pandora or Spotify on my desktop computer and enjoyed it—albeit the commercials. Having a subscription offers an enhanced experience. I can create song playlists that I can access anytime. While I don’t own the songs, if I subscribe the playlists are accessible to me. Creating and listening to playlists harkens back to the mixed tapes that were the musical currency of my generation.

All the Music You Could Ever Want

All the major music streaming services have libraries of more than 10 million songs, so it’s like owning all that music. I have taken to using the Spotify app, which offers fun features like “stations.” These are songs categorized by genre. Most of the streaming services offer these. Some also have podcast and audiobook stations. I listened to a short story by Kate Chopin the other day, which was a welcome change of pace and not something I would have read otherwise.

Another big bonus with streaming is that you can download your songs and playlists so that you aren’t relying on Wi-Fi to listen. This means you can jam out or hear an audiobook while flying, in the subway or in the countryside.

Each Service Is Unique

Each streaming service has unique offerings. For example, Tidal has high-fidelity sound that you won’t find on others. Apple Music will mix your private music library with the songs you’ve downloaded but don’t own. Spotify has a Discover Weekly Playlist to introduce you to new music. Google Play lets you put parental controls on your kids’ accounts. Oh, and if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get their music streaming service free!

Although I sometimes feel nostalgic for afternoons browsing in record shops, browsing online for songs has many advantages. I am listening to more new music than I have in years and learning that audiobooks are a great way to enrich a commute. It’s also fun to have a shared interest with my three kids, who are digital natives.