Sometime about a year ago, I quit my subscription to music streaming services for good, and created a bandcamp account with the intention to buy music again. This had a significant impact on how I listen and relate to music.
Albums over Playlists
While I still require a (mostly) instrumental playlist with calm yet engaging music for work, I enjoy listening through albums as a whole a lot more. This has a more deliberate feel to it than just switch on a “backround noise carpet”, and I also feel way more mindful when listening to music like that.
Discovering Music Deliberately
This relates to the last point. I used to discover new music using the “play music similar to” features that most streaming services provide. This is a very limited experience though, and also contributes to the practice of just mindlessly turning on some background music.
Also, those recommendations where usually pretty bad. And I tried a lot of them, believe me. What’s way more exciting is to just look up what label that last cool album was released on, and check out what other artists they publish. Usually the variation in genres and styles is much larger than of those recommendation algorithms, and also seems to span more criteria than these algorithms are capable of considering.
Discovering music is also more targeted. I am better able to just go explore a new style of music I know nothing about, or go on an adventure to find out what this vaporwave thing is about.
I Spend More Money
This is one of the downsides for me. I have not much discipline, and when I discover something new I really like, I need to have it. Just having a subscription for ten bucks per month was way cheaper than what I’m doing now, but I still don’t buy anything right away and look for good deals or discography wholesales.
At least I know that most of what I spend there is ending up in the artists’s pockets.
Waaaay More Variety
The universe on independent artists on bandcamp alone is so much larger than any mainstream streaming service can provide. Locking myself out of the streaming service’s convenience forces these endless options on me.
No More Need for Mainstream Music
I found myself listening to way more of these niche music, that I didn’t really listen to the mainstream music my collection contained from before anymore. The effect was so large that I just followed through and deleted large parts of it.