Best Music Player For Windows

Music is something that surrounds us daily and our PC or laptop that is running on Windows needs some proper software to be able to play some music for us without the need to turn on the mighty YouTube.Users are in a constant search of the best media player that is capable of playing music files or even movies. This chart will allow you to make your best music player win in the competition through the votes. Use the comment section to pinpoint any flaws or highlights of a particular software and inform the other people about what they are getting.

1

Foobar2000

foobar2000 is a freeware audio player for Microsoft Windows, iOS and Android developed by Piotr Pawłowski. It is known for its highly modular design, breadth of features, and extensive user flexibility in configuration. For example, the user-interface is completely customizable. Its extensive software development kit (SDK) allows third-party developers enough power to completely replace the interface. foobar2000 supports a large number of audio file formats, has many features for organising metadata, files, and folders, and has a converter interface for use with command line encoders. To maximize audio fidelity in cases where resampling or downscaling in bit depth is required, it provides noise shaping and dithering. There are a number of official and third-party components which add many additional features. The core is closed source, whereas the SDK is licensed under the Three-Clause BSD license.

2

Winamp

Winamp is still a great free music player, and has all the essential tools you need for managing and enjoying music and videos, but it now relies on third-party extensions to add features found as standard in more modern players. Free music player media player Winamp is a one stop shop for managing your music library. You can sync your music collection to an MP3 player or smartphone, and you can also stream it over the internet, allowing you to share your favourite tunes with your friends.

I rarely ever use Spotify, and I haven't used Pandora in years. 99% of my music is still bought and put into a good old-fashioned music player in MP3 format.

Particularly considering that you can dictate the quality of the recordings by paying attention to the bit rate of what you're downloading. A lot of the sound quality on those streaming services is truly awful.

I have a large music library. I don't and won't use a "service" like Spotify and/or Pandora. I never have, do not and never will believe in "Subscription" services, no matter who does it. I will NOT rent my music or my software. I will buy it, and use it how I please afterward. If that requires a little "creativity" on my part to make it possible, so be it. I paid for it, it's mine. Period. 1. I have a bandwidth cap on my home internet service. I will not use it up listening to music someone else's algorithm decides I should listen to. 2. My local library is mine, and is here and cannot be taken away or turned off because some corporate bureaucrat decides that a license should be revoked this month. The only people who do not or would not benefit from a music manager, are those under 25 who grew up in the now common "mobile" world where everything is streamed and short lived. They know nothing of cultivating a library or collections. Everything for them is NOW, later doesn't exist.

3

MusicBee

MusicBee is a freeware media player for playback and organization of audio files on Microsoft Windows, built using the BASS audio library. MusicBee makes it easy to manage, find, and play music files on your computer. MusicBee also supports podcasts, web radio stations and SoundCloud integration

Here's an interesting argument, posed by Bruce Willis, of all people. he's actually taking Apple to court over this one. He says he's spent over $10K on iTunes over the years and he feels that since he spent the money, he should be able to pass his music library on to his kids when he dies, just like a physical asset. Apple argues that his library is his and cannot be taken over by anyone else. EG: He hasn't actually purchased anything more than a personal license. When he dies, the license expires and no one else is allowed to access the library, even if it's physically stored on a computer or other device. This just doesn't sit right with me.

"The Google Play music player is currently available in select territories." :( Does it allow for storing in a DMR-free format that I could play on anything else than my smartphone/computer? I really do prefer using a media player when on the go. Having to pull up my phone to switch tracks / play / pause, etc, is to me an annoyance. As well as the mentioned phone battery consumption.

Streaming services are great for many things, but you're at the mercy of their available selection. It's why people sometimes watch bad movies on netflix: because they've seen everything good and there's nothing else left (they might still enjoy those bad movies, but I believe this reasoning is still present). If you know what you want to watch/listen to, dealing with a streaming service can be irritating. When you download your own music you can manage it how you choose.

4

VLC Media Player

VLC best music player, media player is a free music player for watching videos and listening to music, podcasts, and other audio. You can play files that are on your PC or another computer on your local network, or you can stream from a website. VLC is available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

Hrm, appears I either exaggerated a bit or spotify added alot of stuff in the past 3-4 months. But one that is *not* on there is Gabester And for indie stuff I have: The Horse Thieves, Alt-J, Damjan Mravunac (he/they did the amazing heavy metal instrumental soundtrack to Serious Sam 3), The Flashbulb, I Monster (probably not all that indie), Jenova 7 (don't think he's on spotify...), Mutemath, and Starfucker I'm not totally sure just how "indie" those are but those are the mostly kinda unknown groups I have in my library (also...when you google jenova 7....don't click the first link...whoever made that ruined the song with the video they put on it)

that's one of the things Google Play and Spotify premium services offer (download content to device to free yourself from the bandwidth issue). Also, the old catalogues for both are surprisingly robust. But, I understand the hesitation.

It's not a big collection at all. Although I prefer physical media, it's a rather small percentage of my collection. In reality, I only get the CDs from the bands I consider myself a fan of. That's just Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, Bad Salad, and Steve Vai. The rest is digital, but all DRM-free thanks to Amazon, self-publishing artists, or...other means.

5

Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player (abbreviated WMP) is a best music player for windows and media library application developed by Microsoft that is used for playing audio, video and viewing images on personal computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system, as well as on Pocket PC and Windows Mobile-based devices. Editions of Windows Media Player were also released for classic Mac OS, Mac OS X and Solaris but development of these has since been discontinued.

Ha, I did say mostly applicable. The argument for owning, generally, is that, at some point, you could have very well bought what you're continuing to pay to rent (in the case of music, pay a subscription fee for). I am a dedicated music listener. Over my lifetime, it is very likely to be true that I would end up paying more to subscribe to either of these services over the long-term rather than pay up front to own. The free plans from Pandora and Spotify are really not worth much to me. If I wanted to use those services, I'd have to get a paid plan. And I would have to pay more for a data plan because of the streaming I would need to do while driving or in places where I do not have WiFi access. Nor are either of these services of much use when you're trying to discover new obscure artists or have those artists already in mind. Then there is the question of how long these services are going to survive in their present states, if at all. Subscription fee hikes and the complete disappearance of these services are all possibilities, especially if they don't figure out how to really make money.

Takes all kinds. There's Zero cell service, of any kind, for 15 miles in any direction of where I'm spending Jan and Feb this year. While I can stream in the house thanks to a fiber connection, that's it. There's no radio either (well, maybe AM since I haven't tried it), so if we want some tunes on the way to the ski hill or most of the way towards the natural hot springs for a soak, it's a dedicated MP3 player loaded up with files. Or, if I ever buy a new car that has USB media then that. Then you get to toss in the Other major hiccup, there's a large number of people who aren't interested in buying/owning an expensive phone or the more expensive plan. I have better things to do with $1500/year than pay for a data plan/subsidized phone. My parents don't have a call phone at all, but dozens of USB sticks loaded up with music for their Subaru. And then it's a simple use thing. I know my wife always grumbles about connecting her phone to the car for streaming (it's an '01 VW Jetta, no bluetooth), but it's a non-issue to flip the on button to the Sansa Clip that lives in the ashtray. Heck, we leave that running when doing stop and go errands. No annoying talk radio, commercials, or having to listen to the same music every day. Even Pandora starts to repeat after a couple hours (we turned that off and went back to MP3's on our 27 hours of driving from GA to MT a few weeks ago).

Actually read through the comments and didn't see anyone mentioning this... I download music still for a few reasons. 1. Like Netflix, any of these companies like rdio, spotify, decide when I get my music and what it is to some extent. If they stop carrying a group, or never carry them in the first place then I wouldn't get to hear them. Even with mainstream groups there are various recordings you never get to hear unless you search them out in some format or secret store. 2. Im not always connected. Sometimes I go camping. Sometimes I go driving where 3g isnt. Sometimes I don't want to have to bother paying Comcast, At&t, etc, their blood money. (I almost always do). 3.I own my music. No I don't mean if mister lawyer walks in he would give me deed to all things music. I mean if I want to delete them I can. If I want to copy my harddrive and give it to my friend, I do. If I want to put them in storage and listen to them in 5 years, I can. No matter what happens in the corporate world of music. Those are some of the reasons. There are more.

6

iTunes

iTunes (/ˈaɪtjuːnz/ or /ˈaɪtuːnz/) is a media player, media library, online radio broadcaster, and mobile device management application developed by Apple Inc. It is used to play, download, and organize digital downloads of music and video (as well as other types of media available on the iTunes Store) on personal computers running the macOS and Microsoft Windows operating systems. The iTunes Store is also available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Yep, still have to download and manage my songs on a music player for my smartphone. The simple reason being I travel a lot in the inner city - constantly going in and out of the train underground. I also go in and out of busy skyscrapers where coverage gets spotty at times. It's just so much easier for me to make my playlist and not worry about it. I guess I'm also an edgecase.

I still live on mp3 and FLAC files because: 1) I want complete control of my playlist. Streaming forces ads, unskippable songs, or random songs; but if I'm not out to "find new music" then I pretty much just want to hear what I've got. Also could be listening to audio books, comedy sketches, etc. that I'll add to a playlist even though it's not music. 2) corporate offices block any sort of streaming service. YMMV but my main client who is pretty technologically inept still blocks everything from youtube to spotify to steam to torrents etc. for all their employees. Tethering to my 4g to waste bandwidth when I have the files I want to hear doesn't make much sense. And at their open floor plan (hear HR and sales on the phone from anywhere you sit) office, headphones are a must. 3) my playlist is cherry picked - out of an album I typically like a couple songs, so I don't need an overkill, bloated "management" application to organize music. Winamp got bloated so I'm on foobar2k.

I just don't get streaming; it goes over my head. Seems too new and ephemeral and abstract... I prefer the "physical" mp3 (or even cd)... plus, how do you listen to music when there's no wifi or decent data connection?

7

RealPlayer

RealPlayer, formerly RealAudio Player, RealOne Player and RealPlayer G2, is a cross-platform media player app, developed by RealNetworks. The media player is compatible with numerous container file formats of the multimedia realm, including MP3, MP4, QuickTime File Format, Windows Media format, and the proprietary RealAudio and RealVideo formats. RealPlayer is also available for other operating systems; Linux, Unix, Palm OS, Windows Mobile and Symbian versions have been released.[

There are several reasons why downloading > streaming (assuming both are free): Downloading generally has a higher bitrate. Streaming songs can disappear if the label or artist revokes the rights to them. No risk of that with downloaded files. Downloaded files don't use data, so you can listen to your library without being dependent on a connection or eating into a data cap. You can edit the metadata of local files, no such access for streaming ones.

Have a look at Slacker Radio. I've been using it for over a year. I'm in Ontario the service is working 100% here.

spotify is crap that has almost none of the music I listen to (and no indie music of any kind) and pandora gets stuck in a rut playing the same 100-200 songs over and over and over (this is with around 15 stations being shuffled....albeit they do overlap genres)

8

AIMP3

9

MediaMonkey

MediaMonkey for Windows (sometimes noted as MMW) is a digital media player and media library application developed by Ventis Media Inc., for organizing and playing audio on Microsoft Windows operating systems. By using plugins, it can be extended to handle video and other media formats as well.

I live in the Bay Area, and my employer pays for my AT&T phone. AT&T is crap in the Bay Area, and I frequently can't stream anything. When I get out of the BART tube, I usually can't get a decent signal for at least 5 or 10 minutes (and by then I'm underground again). When I go on vacation, I frequently go to places with no connection at all. So, I subscribe to Pandora. I also buy music and convert to MP3 to upload to my phone and save to the USB drive in my truck. Also, I may be older than the average Lifehacker reader, and my musical tastes don't change as much as they used to. Much of the music I listen to now, I've been listening to for years. I don't buy much new music, because well... get off my lawn.

The way copyright laws in the US are, even if you purchase music, you still are just licencing it. I only download what isn't available on Spotify or Google Music. And when I do, I add it to Google Music so it's stored in the cloud and accessible everywhere. The sound quality is as good as it would be if stored locally as long as it's over a good connection, and if I'm worried about connection quality, I can just make it available offline ahead of time. I have a HUGE collection of music and I've lost the whole thing and had to rebuild it before. Even with multiple backups, it's a waste of storage and still doesn't provide the security of having it in the cloud.

Google Music All Access lets you save locally to mobile devices (Android, and I think also iOS; don't know about WinMo). My main use for the service is to generate a radio station, then "Save Queue" and "Keep on Device" so I have music for the car. You can save any song or album in their library the same way. I'm pretty sure Spotify premium lets you save albums locally, too.

10

Jetaudio

11

GOM Audio

GOM Player (short for Gretech Online Movie Player) is a media player for Windows, developed by the GOM & Company of South Korea. Its main features include the ability to play some broken media files and find missing codecs using a codec finder service.

Hmm ... I can understand the bitrate thing. I used to think it was a big deal when I downloaded music on Napster. I've realized that (like skim milk), if I only drink (sorry use) one format, I don't ever notice the difference. I'm definitely not an audiophile, but I can respect that position quite a bit. The part that gets me is the ownership thing. I've been on both sides of this issue so I feel quite the hypocrite, but I just don't understand the ownership as an issue here. Let's say the worst happens and Spotify shuts down. Either (a) something will replace it of comparable quality and cost or (b) I'm using one of the wonderful usenet articles on lifehacker and boom; I'm in the same position as you in like two weeks with a proxy through Germany. I understand the importance of ownership in a lot of areas, but here ... access to a treasure chest of media seems fair to pay for when its netflix, why not with Spotify? As for the player/service/something ... I'm pretty sure lifehacker has some great recommendations for format converters as well. You guys helped me get Audible books onto my mp3 player. Now DRM, that is an area where ownership rights should be fought for bitterly. Plus a physical library or collection seems so annoying to cultivate. I have to care about it being organized because I paid for it. I'll save that headache for things that are really and truly mine in every sense of the word like family photos. Great discussion here though.

I'm not anti-subscription services. In fact, I use Spotify, but only as a means to discover new artists and such. I will never use Spotify as a primary source of music until/unless: - They manage to plug all of the holes in their library (songs missing), or - They let me upload my own songs to their server, so I don't have to copy them to every device I use Spotify on - They find a way to pack Spotify into a device the size of my Sansa Clip, where I don't have to pay a separate monthly fee to use it. I'm not really into keeping a phone in my pocket when I go to the gym, plus phones don't have physical buttons to navigate with.

Lots of people. I don't really like Spotify, Pandora, or any similar alternatives. I'm a musician, so I'm really into music, really specific music at that. I'm not the type of person that enjoys turning on Jango and listen to random songs that are similar to what I like. I like certain bands, and certain songs, and I want to listen to those and those alone. Not saying I'm not open to new music of course. I'll hunt new music from time to time, and if I find something I like, I'll buy it and add it to my collection. Also, I despise the idea of using my precious mobile data to stream movies or music. Sure, Youtube is fine, but if I want movies or songs on my phone, I rather have them directly in my SD card. Hell, I even prefer having the actual CD rather than a digital-only copy. I do what I can to get the physical media, but if for some reason it isn't available, I avoid iTunes. I like my music DRM-free. On top of that, I don't live in the U.S. or in Europe, so many online services like those aren't available, or are very limited.

12

Spotify

The songs you want when you want them: Spotify was the first major music streaming service to enable you to specify which artist, album, or song you want to hear when you want to hear it. While competing services have since caught up, Spotify deserves props for being first. Best playlists: Spotify wows with the best playlists we've ever encountered. Between Discover Weekly, our favorite Monday morning ritual, delivering a mix of old, new, and new-to-us tracks; #ThrowbackThursday, which creates a nostalgia-inducing playlist out of a previous decade, year, or theme; Your Release Radar, which brings the best new songs from artists we love; New Music Friday, which introduces the top music of the week; and Daily Mixes, which takes the songs we listen to most and builds playlists around them, there's always something to revisit or discover. You can also enjoy playlists created by other users, including famous artists, or easily create your own.

And in that two weeks? I listen to music pretty much constantly in my waking hours. I don't want to be without because comcast accidentally cut the physical cable for my neighborhood again, or because I'm driving and what do you know, I lost coverage. I have a rather large collection that would take over 2 weeks to recreate, I'm also pretty anal for no good reason at the way music is tagged and covered. It makes me upset looking at other people's libraries with no names or totally wrong song names (weird, I know). Just because you don't see music as really and truly "yours" doesn't mean others don't. I would be fine losing basically anything else from my computer outside of my music. There are memories in the collecting process, there's memories in the songs, and there's memories in the archival process even.

How do you know all the songs you want will be there in the next Spotify though? All the streaming services seem lacking in many songs already. You can't be assured that all the songs you want will be available. Also, paying isn't much of an issue, lots of people already have their collection and aren't buying multiple cd's a month (have you heard most of the new music these days? ughh). I might buy 4 or 5 cd's a year. So ya 40 -50 bucks a year on a hobby is really nothing.

I purchase albums or torrent, and put everything onto my Zune HD. No fucks given. I don't have enough monthly data on my cell phone to stream (and I don't make nearly enough money to contemplate giving AT&T any more than the $80/month I give them now), and the battery life on my Nexus 5 sucks, so a dedicated MP3 player is a must for me. Plus, the last time I really tried to use Pandora the sound quality was atrocious. Ain't nobody got time for that.

13

G-Ear

14

SMPlayer

15

AIMP 4

AIMP (Artem Izmaylov Media Player) is a freeware audio player for Windows and Android, originally developed by Russian developer Artem Izmaylov (Russian: Артём Измайлов, tr. Artyom Izmajlov).[1] The first version of AIMP, dubbed "AIMP Classic", was released on August 8, 2006. AIMP was initially based on the BASS audio library.[5] Version 3 added a new audio engine and full support for ReplayGain, and revamped the music library interface transparency effects.

I was a Spotify user for a long time, then recently switched to Google Play (because of brand loyalty, I guess, I like Google's direction, or did until they started trying to cram Google+ down my throat but that's another thread.) I use the subscription service because if I want to listen to Styx last night and Social Distortion tonight and tomorrow night I feel like Oliver Mtukudze I don't have to hunt through a library looking for it, I'm not limited by what I already have, and I don't have to hunt it down somewhere to buy it, especially when I'll probably not listen to those cuts again for a year. If someone says "hey you gotta check out so and so" I can listen to some so and so and if I like it listen to some more and if I don't forget about it. The interesting thing about the subscription services is that the obscure stuff is mostly there, what's missing are the classic catalogs, like Zep or AC/DC, that still make bank. I can live with that, I can hear that stuff just by turning on the radio in the car. There's another reason, though: I play in a band. When someone says "hey let's learn Downhome Girl by Old Crow Medicine Show" I don't have to go "huh?" I just dial it up on Google Play and learn it. Granted you can use YouTube for that in most cases (and that's where I turn if something's missing from Google Play) but YouTube requires some futzing to find a good version to listen to. Spotify did to some degree as well, I find Google Play to be superior in that regard.

I still buy/download music because the amount of crap music out there. Using Pandora or the like you still have to listen to the crap. With my own music I just make playlist after playlist. I probably have 100 playlist to use depending on my mood or activity. I use Pandora for parties or when I want a wide mix playing in the background. I'm not against streaming apps or trying to put them down, I just prefer my own music.

If tomorrow the license agreement between Google Music / Spotify / Rdio... change and some songs disapear from the catalog, I won't be able to listen to them any more, even though I could listen to them today. If the license agreement changes "in the physical world", no one will come into my house to take my CDs / audio files to stop me from listening to those songs. As for the sound quality, when I'm driving and listening to music on my decent car stereo, yes, it's kind of the same to have a lossless file on my phone, or to stream the same from GMusic. At home, with fine audio components, it's a VERY different story. This is not pretentious audiophiliac Kool-aid; when the weakest link in your system is the quality of your source, you can actually hear the difference. I won't frown upon streaming services. I am quite happy that Google Music is now available in Mexico (about time, guys!). But I don't think I'll give up my private collection any time soon.

16

Cog

Last Comments

I'm confused. How many people still buy/download/manage music files outside of native apps like Spotify and Pandora? Is a music player still a necessary thing for most people? I stopped using winamp when I stopped buying new music (about 7 years ago), the only time I miss it is on long road trips ... but I covered that with Pandora (now spotify) and a little Aux cable. Even video players seem more like a bare minimum necessity today.

I only recently gave up on buying music and switched to streaming (Rdio, since they're the only one I can legally use in Canada), so I've just been using VLC to play some of my downloaded tracks. I also have foobar2000 on my computer but rarely use it. What would be the best possible solution is for the streaming services to incorporate a media player in their desktop clients. Rdio at least has a feature to scan your offline collection, but you can only stream the songs that are also in their catalogue. The ability to actually play back those media files would be the perfect harmony of streaming and music collections.

What these guys said. My music is important to me, as are my books and films. I want to own it, not license it from a company that may cease to exist one day, and only when an Internet connection is available (other customers of Time Warner Cable will understand). A good-quality MP3 is small, reliable, and mine.

No matter how good the internet is and how much the cloud is pushed local data and local apps are always better than the 'cloud', it's more reliable, it's more private, and it's yours, you cannot have things forcibly removed from you, and you are free to do with it as you please.

The closest I've ever come to this is using Music Bee in combination with Last.fm. Logging into my Last.fm account through Music Bee "scrobbles" (are they still calling it that?) everything I listen to offline, and then adds it to my in-service library so that I can stream it online too. Your way seems much easier, though. If only such a thing existed.

I'd like to agree with you on principle, but I just can't anymore. Torrents (or its concept at least) will always exist and Spotify if it ceases to exist will be replaced by something else that will still provide me with access to the content at a discount of the price of paying for each song individually. It's enough for me to know that if my content is ever taken away (by Spotify or Pandora or whomever comes next), I can always take it right back through a more physical and local medium.

I have satellite internet with a 10gb/month bandwidth cap. I can not spend that just mindlessly listening to whatever some bullshit algorithm on Pandora decides I can listen to. Sometimes I might use Grooveshark but I have to be really careful how much I listen to. For me a media player is essential in keeping my huge library of MP3s organized. I'll stick to Winamp. It's installed on all my computers, and I will always be able to find it on the Internet to download again if I have to. It amazes me how many people just live inside their little bubble and can't fathom why or how anyone would need or want something that they don't.

Everyone lives in a bubble. All social interaction is predicated on people trying to move out of their little bubbles to learn from others and share discoveries. That is what I am doing. I want to know frequency but not ask in such a dry or overly clinical manner. I am not denigrating you for choosing to live the way that pleases you. I am asking why you do so and I've gotten some very interesting replies from people that think similarly to you. What amazes me is how many people just can't stop themselves from being negative toward others online. I can fathom why and how letting off steam in an environment where no one knows you is helpful to you, it just amazes me that so many people don't think about how those actions effect others. Arguments I can fathom and have not yet heard. I like to support the artists. I prefer .WAV files for fidelity. If I get these services without commercial its more expensive for me in the long run and I hate commercials. I have a huge stash from college that I don't want to ever get rid of. I'm a DJ and those services don't offer me the necessary flexibility. I'm really rich and don't give a fuck.

I live in Brazil. I spent the last 4 years without internet at home (installed it two months ago). I just started using 3G and I have only 200mb to spend in it (ignoring the awful quality of signal and extreme-low speed). That is why I have an iPod Nano 5th gen dedicated to music/podcast and built my mp3/video/podcast library in my PC. I used the connection provided by college and friends' to get what I wanted online and I still buy cds once in a blue moon. Not everyone has good internet all the time and in all devices in order to stream everything one wants to consume.

I like discovering music but my preferred supplier, BBC 6 music, is only usable outside the UK on a PC, their iPlayer isn't even available for download on my Android Walkman (I'm sure you can do some IP magic but it's too much of a hassle). I used ex.fm but that's closing down. Spotify as far as I understand is like a radio station unless you pony up. And lossless does sound pretty cool on that Walkman. At some point I will rip all my CDs and stream my own damn music from my home PC, but all of this does seem a little backward.

I'm kind of surprised that no one seems to be saying that they "pirate" for the sake of pirating. I use Spotify occasionally when it meets all my immediate needs, so I do enjoy aspects of these services. I'm glad they exist when I want to take advantage of what they have to offer. But in this day and age, if you create a recording of your music, that recording belongs to no one if it doesn't belong to everyone. That is a rule of nature; our laws just need to catch up. I'll pay for something if doing so comes with added value, but it's not the actual music I'm paying for; I already own the music by virtue of its existence. But that's the ideological reason. So how about a practical reason. I keep local music for the same reason I would choose to own property in a world where all rent is free: I can do whatever I want with my property.

I like controlling my music. I don't want to be told that when I want to listen to a specific artist or song, I have to listen to these other artists or songs on the off chance that I'll be able to listen to what I want in an hour. I don't want to be interrupted by a commercial when I'm listening to my music, either, especially since I tend to skip songs constantly until a song pops up that suits my current mood. And sometimes, during those skips, I'd like to go back to a song I passed by mistake or listen to a song on repeat for an hour and a half; can't do that with pandora.

I fall somewhere In the middle... I buy the music because I want to own it... but then I listen on Spotify and/or Google Play Music. Haven't listened to my own CDs or actual MP3s in years.

I'm with you here. I've trashed all my mp3's and cd's and only keep the vinyl in the basement for sentimental reasons. The thing I like is not owning lots of stuff, the less i have on my computer or shelfs the less worry I have. And more importantly, not owning music i get to constantly search for new music and discover new things as fast as I can think it. My taste in music changes a lot anyway so streaming fits me perfectly.

Streaming services have a good selection, but they don't have everything I want. I also prefer using a tiny little media player (Sansa Clip+) to play my music when on the road, over using a cell phone with no physical buttons. I also prefer not using up my cell phones battery and data quota on streaming music. I only have 1gb/month worth of data. More than enough for my ordinary needs. If I was to stream music, I would have to go for a bigger package deal and pay for a gazillion minutes and messages I'd never use a fraction of. I do also use Spotify when at home. For me it's not either or. It's using what's the best fit (to me) for the occasion.

Windows music players went the way of the dodo for me with the advent of Google Music, even before All Access launched. My collection was already there, along with some quality algorithms. I still listened to my local collection, or a 5ish GB chunk of it, on my phone and tablet with PowerAmp, but All Access phased out PowerAmp, too. Now I set up radio stations, trim the cruft, and save them locally on my tablet as playlists, which accounts for the largest chunk of my listening. The rest is albums saved the same way, or sometimes actual streaming. It's great having everything integrated, able to leverage but not relying on a data connection.

I stream all my music from Google Play Music All Access, because it's cheaper than buying everything. It's cheaper than a single album a month, making it so worth it. I also only listen to music on my computer or phone, so all my use cases are covered by Play Music. I can quit anytime and move to a different service, and just copy my playlists over (like I did when I replaced Spotify with Google Play Music)

I pay for Spotify, but it doesn't let me rate songs, track play counts, or create smart playlists. I can't even see which songs I have listened to. When you have 1,000s of songs, you need more than just a star or not star system to sort of boil off the stuff you never want to hear again. As much as I think iTunes is the worst performing app ever written, I like being able to buy a few albums, listen to 100 songs, rate the ones I never want to hear again as low, and then use smart playlists to only listen to highly rated music. In Spotify, this requires a lot of work.

I live in Chicago and have limited capability to stream music when I'm on the go. I primarily use my mobile to listen to music when on the el or bus, but my carrier (Sprint) is awful (as they all are). I can barely access basic Internet pages let alone reliably and consistently stream music. I can't even listen to music stored in iTunes via the cloud on my mobile. If this is the situation in a major metropolitan area, I can imagine that anyone in suburban or rural areas or those without access to stable broadband with unlimited amounts of data downloading would have their reasons as well.

I live in the country. My internet is reasonably fast, but if someone in the house is trying to play Warcraft while I'm streaming anything, my streaming creates a lot of lag. Also, I like to own my music without worrying about whether this service or that is going to go away. While it seems unlikely that Pandora or Spotify will ever close, I like the relative security of having MP3 files (or even actual physical CDs *gasp*). I haven't listened to the radio for years because I hate commercials and I hate not having control over what music I listen to. Sure, sometimes while I'm at work I'll pop on Pandora or Spotify so I can discover new music or because I'm in the mood for listening to a kind of music or an artist I don't own, but in general I don't like being at the whim of whatever algorithms those services use, just like I don't like being at the whim of a DJ. I know I could spring for a paid subscription to those services, but that's not an expense I want to have right now. So all those reasons add up to me still buying music as opposed to exclusively using Pandora or Spotify. :)

I can't stream on my work computer, and despite living in a major metropolitan area the cell service really sucks in the concrete jungle for really any data. I'd rather own good quality recordings than stream music that could degrade in quality over poor service, or worse be completely inaccessible. I mean don't get me wrong, I'm jealous of people that can get by with just streaming services, but it just flat-out doesn't do it for me. Listening to opera, trance, classical, or complicated prog-rock at under 128kbps is pretty much painful.

I wonder how many albums people on the ownership side listen to in a year? I listened to at least 120 new-to-me albums last year. At least 20 or so of those I listened to a few more times. This is just my way of digesting music. I like listening all the way through an album, assessing it, mining it with future listens if I find emotional resonances, then move on. My almost 30 years of age means that all new trends feel like old trends so I no longer become devoted to a single artist anymore. Spotify is amazing for me for this reason. But I can imagine if you're going to be listening to just a handful of albums a year, you might as well actually own them in high fidelity.

The cost of the services is too high for someone like me. I only buy maybe 3-4 albums a year, but most of those services are $10 USD per month, so for me it doesn't pan out. I am sort of set in my ways when it comes to music. I don't listen to very much new or "popular" music very often and prefer to listen to certain bands and old CDs of mine. I buy most of my music on Amazon now and import it right into iTunes for easy syncing with my iDevices, and I also auto upload everything to Google Music for free streaming if I need it. Its not hard to manage because I don't buy new albums very often. 1

Thanks for the compliment but I'm afraid I fall in the older than 25 crowd. Bandwidth cap! I had not thought of that. Valid point. I wonder though, have you run the numbers on the cost difference between physical purchases and going unlimited bandwidth? If you purchase 2 or more cds a month it might make a difference. With spotify and many other online platforms, you can cultivate a collection that works as well as digital family photo collection. And like I said elsewhere, if I ever have it taken away, there will always be a way for me to get it back. One that will upset the corporate bureaucrat as much as they upset me by taking it away. I can understand fully someone that just prefers vinyl, but buying a CD to digitize it or buying on iTunes seems so expensive considering the amount of new music I'm used to listening to now with Spotify. I listen to soooo much more music now than I did in college when I had to go down to Tower Records to look for a CD to buy. Short-lived. You might be on to something. Physically owning something does help create permanence. But in this sense there just memory placeholders aren't they? I guess i see the appeal there too. I could easily create a playlist of 90s alt rock or 80 hair metal bands but its not the same as packing and finding that old Nirvana tape. Hmmm ... idk. cheap sentimentality >> expensive sentimentality?

Locally stored music makes more sense if you live in an area with low/poor bandwidth, dial-access and/or low data caps. Plus, even the biggest online streaming service gets plagued with issues that my reverberate back down to its end users (maintenance, lower fidelity offered on certain tracks, inventory changes, music licensing issues, etc...). Plus a lot of folks may have already spent their hard earned money on Albums & CDs. So why pay for a service for the music you already have? Instead rip them to your computer and enjoy :)