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One of my favorite RSS feeds is that of Slickdeals.  I actually have two different ones that go and grab deals in their ‘Front Page' and their ‘Up & Coming' sections.  I've found some pretty cool deals and coupon codes along the way.

A few months ago, I happened to see that there was a free 3-month trial of Google Play Music.  I had always been interested in streaming music services.  The price, usually around $10 per month, kept me at arm's length.

Reading the Slickdeals information, it turns out that they typically offer a one-month trial, which I could have had at any point, but the three-month trial was a rarity.

I signed up.

My Thoughts on Google Play Music

I started my free subscription in mid-December.  My first use of it was mainly for playing Christmas music.  I'm a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas music, so it was really cool to be able to find a lot of the stuff I like and just play it whenever I want.

I also started using it at the gym.  This was really cool and ended up being the main usage for me over the three month time frame.  There are certain albums or artists that I like working out to, and it was nice to able to just find what I was looking for and listen while I did my runs at the gym.

I also found myself listening to music at work. Again, it was awesome to be able to have a song pop in my head, and for the most part, be able to listen to it, as Google has quite an extensive catalog available.

I found myself using it just about every day, and when my time came up toward expiration, I actually started giving some thought to paying for it.

I was using it all the time.  It really bolstered my music listening experience.  Plus, it was only $10 per month.  No big deal, right?

Why I Let My Trial Expire

After thinking about it, especially that last sentence, I realized that I just couldn't justify that cost.  Yes, $10 per month really isn't a lot, but it would definitely be a luxury purchase, and one that I really couldn't justify in the grand scheme of things, especially when I had alternatives that worked quite a bit.

The Alternatives To Paying For Streaming Music

Once I let it expire, I was definitely sad.  It was really a cool service and I do love music, but I quickly found myself going back to the old way of listening to music which consists largely of a mix of the following:

  • Slacker Radio (free).Many people use Pandora for streaming ‘channel' music, butmb-2015-03-cds I had always preferred Slacker Radio.  It's basically the same thing, but I found that it seems to have less intrusive commercials, and for some reason, seemed a bit better at buffering.  My work is on the fringe of data coverage, and it's sometimes just fair.  Slacker seemed to more robustly handle buffering, as I had less times where things stopped if the coverage dropped.
  • Copying my MP3s. I have quite a large CD collection, largely from the 1990's and 2000's.  I ripped most of the CDs to digital format over the period of a few months, and it's not really that big of a deal to copy MP3s over to my smartphone or thumb drive, and listen to them at work.  When I reflected back on the listening I did with my Google Play Music trial, probably half or more of the music I listened to was stuff I already owned, and while it was nice to not have to go through the hassle of copying stuff over, it wasn't really worth the money for the trade-off, especially when I looked at it that I'd basically be paying again for the music I listened to that I already technically owned.
  • Youtube. If a particular song gets in my head for some reason, most of the time it's pretty easy to go to Youtube and listen to it.  Really, how hard is that?

In The End

In the end, I loved the Google Play Music service.  If given another trial opportunity I would jump on it in a second.  At some point, I wonder if they could go to a free model where you have to listen to commercials but have more freedom to choose what you listen to.  Perhaps advertising revenue couldn't make up the difference in user subscription fees that are generated today, but the music industry has evolved and changed so much over the last 15 years, you never know what could happen, right?

Readers, what are your thoughts and personal experiences with streaming music services?