MP3 Downloads Will Always Have a Home
As subscription streaming services continue to swell, many are predicting an absolute end to more traditional mp3 downloads. We use “traditional” playfully here, considering mp3 downloads are still relatively young when compared to other forms of owned media. Yet, it seems that in the age of the “Sharing Economy” (as defined by Bernard Marr at Forbes), all types of owned media are steadily becoming a “traditional” throwback. Who needs digital downloads when practically everything is available to stream? Based solely on the decline of digital sales in recent years, you might think the answer is “no one”. After all, streaming services beat digital downloads for music by a .3% margin for the first time ever in 2015. However, there are still those who would much prefer to own their content than to temporarily “rent” it.
Maybe they burn CDs, maybe they make remixes, or maybe they use media server software to stream their owned collections. Regardless of their reasoning, content collectors are continuing to drive mp3 downloads. According to recent data from Bandcamp, their site saw a 20% increase in digital album sales in 2016.
The Bandcamp Mystery
Bandcamp is truly an enigma in the music industry. Despite an entire generation seemingly unwilling to pay for music and the monolithic growth of streaming services, Bandcamp continues to see increases in music sales. Although, the reasoning behind their success isn’t actually that dumbfounding. The mind of a Bandcamp user is the mind of a fan, a collector, and member of a community. Their users drive mp3 downloads either because they want to own a piece of the music that they enjoy or because that music is not available elsewhere. Another reason, that most larger record execs fail to understand, is that Bandcamp users want to support the musicians directly. And Bandcamp makes that very easy to do, while taking a slice of the profits of course.
Your Media is a Part of You
Digital downloads of all forms of media are certainly under fire by streaming services. Yet, there’s still a glimmer of hope for owned media within the realm of content collectors, alternative fans, and the oft-loathed digital pirates (who generally own media by means of theft). The benefits of owning vs renting mostly center around freedom. Subscription streaming services imprison their media. They store it on their third-party servers, within a cloud that they momentarily lease to you. You can’t take a song from Spotify or a TV show from Netflix and open it within another app. By paying for these services, you are temporarily renting the content and returning it post-stream. Your relationship with your favorite media becomes subsequently elusive, ephemeral, and impersonal.
There’s something about owning a vinyl LP or an old VHS that streaming services could never replicate. The same is true for owning digital downloads. There’s a feeling that owned media creates with a content collector that involves a superb blend of nostalgia, pride, and a sentimental, personal connection to their digital things. Even without the visceral presence that physical media provides, digital downloads offer a more complex relationship than their streamed counterparts. You might not be able to hold them in your hands, but they become a part of your life. You are yourself, of course. But you’re also your music collection, your photo albums, your home videos and favorite movies. And in a sense, the media that you own becomes a part of you.
Benefits of Owned Media
Still, the benefits of owning media stretch beyond the emotionally endearing. The most obvious being your total control over the content. You can do whatever you want to it (except for resell it) and you only have to pay for it once. It’s permanently yours (as long as you use backups) and it’s all accessible within a single app (if you use younity).
Another thing to consider is the constant flux of content within most subscription streaming services. Take Netflix for example. They’re constantly removing popular titles from their lineup and they often do it without even warning their customers. This month alone Netflix will remove over 60 titles, including cherished classics like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Coming to America, and Saving Private Ryan.
Feed the Artists
While mp3 downloads aren’t the most profitable for the average musician, they typically cultivate larger paydays than a standard streaming service. Spotify, for example, pays out roughly $0.006 per stream. That $0.006 is then split between that labels, publishers, and various copyrights holders. At the end of the day, the artists could make much more by busking in their local subway station.
That’s why services like Bandcamp are so crucial for budding musicians hoping to break into an oversaturated and tumultuous industry. It offers a semi-direct line between the artists and their fans, a.k.a. you. Sure, Bandcamp takes its own sizable chunk of the profits from analog sales and mp3 downloads. But they also nurture a community of artistic appreciation and accountability. You work hard for your money. You discover little known musicians working hard for their art. And you pay for their sonic produce with consideration and gusto. The resulting relationship between you and the music is unmatchable. It’s now your music as much as it is the artists’. A subscription stream just doesn’t have the same effect.
Maybe You Don’t Care?
It’s very possible that you don’t care about supporting artists or obtaining some romanticized connection to your media. That’s completely understandable. Maybe you refuse to pay for any content. And that’s entirely your prerogative (although mostly illegal).
Still, monetary issues aside, it’s helpful to compare owned media vs rented. Amassing collections of mp3 downloads, DVD rips, and other forms of personally stored content can often seem burdensome or overly complicated. Trust us, it doesn’t have to be.
First of all, you already store an enormous amount of your own content, whether you’re a subscription streaming junkie or not. Think about all of the photos and videos you take, the documents you create, and the audio files you generate. Secondly, organizing, maintaining, and enjoying your collections can be incredibly easy and rewarding. It doesn’t take rocket science or laborious hours. All you really need is younity…
In the End…
mp3 Downloads will always have a home, even if that home relies on boutique sales to a shrinking minority of curious content collectors. All owned media, all digital downloads, will survive (and even thrive) as long as there are soulful people hoping to build connections with the things they watch and listen to. And wherever there’s a place for downloaded media, stored and adored by its owners, there’s a place for younity.
younity is a home media server. It creates a personal and private network between your devices and the media stored on them. It’s the ultimate guide and delivery service for your digital downloads. With younity, you can access, stream, download, and share all of your content, across all of your devices, from anywhere.
younity is the perfect access tool for content collectors or anyone who enjoys owning and storing their media. You can have your content spread across hundreds or even thousands of computers, and still have access to all of it from any device that you choose. The younity app unlocks a new level in your relationship with your media, providing a complete remote, spontaneous, and streaming-focused file accessing platform.
younity works by scanning your computer hard drive(s) and making your entire collection of digital downloads available from within the mobile and desktop app. As long as you have younity installed on all of your devices, you’ll be able to carry your content anywhere and everywhere. It includes automated organization, a beautiful media streaming and file browsing interface, and most of all, peace of mind.
Click here to learn more about younity.
Check out this link for a guide to digitizing your vinyl!