Digital streams almost totally command my music listening these days. Over the years I have amassed a large collection of CDs at considerable expense; most of them now sit neglected gathering dust. Almost all music streaming services fall short of the audio quality of CDs, but their popularity has more to do with sheer convenience than high-fidelity sound reproduction. Music streaming has not only been to the detriment of CD sales; digital downloads have also experienced a slowing down of sales. This is only set to continue. Audiophiles may be tempted to embrace music streaming given that there are now services such as Tidal which offers high fidelity music streaming, 25 million tracks encoded with the FLAC format streamed at 1,411kbps.
CDs are not going away though. Music streaming services do experience issues with record labels and artists who are unhappy with the amount of return they receive from letting their music be hosted on the service. Even where a record label or singer has given permission to allow streaming services to access their work, an artist’s back catalog can be pulled at a moment’s notice. Taylor Swift’s entire catalog of music was pulled from Spotify’s streaming service at the pop singer’s request. Some people will still prefer to “possess” their collection, but it’s looking like an increasingly old fashioned way to enjoy music.
The Linux platform has matured into a good way of listening to streaming music services. There are clients available for most of the music streaming services; I hope TIDAL will support Linux on the desktop in due course, and not rely on a web player. All of the applications featured in this article are excellent. An honorable mention should be given to Amarok, pianobar, and Tomahawk.
|Spotify||Proprietary peer-to-peer music streaming service|
|Pithos||Native Pandora Radio client|
|Clementine||Cross-platform, lightweight, modern music player and library organiser|
|Nuvola Player||Offers cloud music integration for your desktop|
|Atraci||Listen to millions of songs|
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